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What would a reconstruction be like?


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#16 Amy

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 03:42 AM

 

 

 

And the problem with dancing to such slow speeds is that it makes the choreography drag and as a result, the dancers don't actually look like they're even dancing...

 

 

And if you add to the dragging tempi a bad orchestra, then the experience is excruciating...

 

I know! What is dance without music?



#17 mimsyb

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 10:08 AM

 

 

 

I agree.  A beautiful clip.  Much to love.  While Fonteyn's legs are very much lower than today's dancers, she seems more birdlike than some of today's super ballerinas.  I love the deep forward curvature of her upper back in the later developpes in the pas. She bends and then totally unfolds.  She truly looks like a swan here.  And she uses her head in small ways to keep that image.  And what exquisite port de bras!  Even her fingers are effortless and without tension often seen today.  And then there's that face!  Oh my!  Her attention to Seigfried is unlike any other we see today. And what about that exit?  Today we've come to expect the rippling "swan arms" as she exits, but this version seems more emotional, more tragic. There was no-one like Fonteyn!!   I'm not a huge fan of the Benno/Siegfried/Odette pas se trois concept.  It seems cluttered and un necessary.  Benno's exits and re-entrances are distracting to the story.   He's just in the way of the beauty of the love story.  I thought in general the corps looked quite good, considering the year when this was filmed.  They seemed quite together and stylistically of a piece.  And I noted that the four little swans landed all their pas de chats on the music. (take note current ABT little swans!)  Perhaps because the legs are lower in the jump.  Sometimes some things are sacrificed when we try to make things more revealed.  Short tutus on the corps contributes to that.  When I danced "Swan Lake" we wore the longer tutus.   One final note.  The tempo in general seemed faster than we hear today.  That could be just the film.  But it certainly bounced along at a good clip!   But, what a wonderful film!  (I wonder why they eliminated Odette's solo though)

 

 

 

Indeed, it's hard to beat the wonderful Margot Fonteyn! The reason for her low leg extensions and the cygnets being so musically accurate is because back then, the dancers worried more about the speed of their dances and being on time with the music than how high they got their legs up, which is also what Petipa's dancers worried about the most. That's why if you look at photos of Imperial ballerinas such as Pierina Legnani and Olga Preobrajenska, you may notice that their legs aren't up as high as today's ballerinas, but they're still very well turned out.

 

Unfortunately today, dancers worry more about how high they get their legs up and how many twirls they do, so they slow the music down to such monstrously slow speeds. Ulyana Lopatkina and Olesya Novikova are prime examples of this - if you've seen Novikova in the record for DVD performance of Sergei Vikharev's Raymonda reconstruction, she dances almost every single one of Raymonda's variations at monstrously slow tempi! And in the recorded to DVD performance of Swan Lake starring Lopatkina and Danila Korsuntsev, she dances Odette's variation in Act 1, scene 2 way too slow!

 

And the problem with dancing to such slow speeds is that it makes the choreography drag and as a result, the dancers don't actually look like they're even dancing...

 

It's why I loved dancing Balanchine!  Those tempos!

 

Yeah, Balanchine is the only 20th century choreography whose works follow and pay homage to the style of Imperial Russia. Well done George! lol

 

So you're a former dancer then? Which company did you dance with?

 

SFB.....but when it was under the direction of Lew Christiansen.  We danced "Swan Lake", "Barocco", "Serenade" and "Symphony in C" all in one season!  A master class in Balanchine!  How thrilling it was to dance these great works.  I later trained at SAB, but a place with NYCB was not in the cards.  Alas.  But I'll never forget dancing these ballets.  They became part of my dance DNA.



#18 Amy

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 10:46 AM

 

Yeah, Balanchine is the only 20th century choreography whose works follow and pay homage to the style of Imperial Russia. Well done George! lol

 

 

So you're a former dancer then? Which company did you dance with?

 

SFB.....but when it was under the direction of Lew Christiansen.  We danced "Swan Lake", "Barocco", "Serenade" and "Symphony in C" all in one season!  A master class in Balanchine!  How thrilling it was to dance these great works.  I later trained at SAB, but a place with NYCB was not in the cards.  Alas.  But I'll never forget dancing these ballets.  They became part of my dance DNA.

 

Wow! That sounds amazing! I'm a wannabe ballet historian and I'm hoping to get a career in the ballet world after I study for an MA in Ballet Studies, which starts in September. What rank did you get to?



#19 mimsyb

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 02:16 PM

 

 

Yeah, Balanchine is the only 20th century choreography whose works follow and pay homage to the style of Imperial Russia. Well done George! lol

 

 

So you're a former dancer then? Which company did you dance with?

 

SFB.....but when it was under the direction of Lew Christiansen.  We danced "Swan Lake", "Barocco", "Serenade" and "Symphony in C" all in one season!  A master class in Balanchine!  How thrilling it was to dance these great works.  I later trained at SAB, but a place with NYCB was not in the cards.  Alas.  But I'll never forget dancing these ballets.  They became part of my dance DNA.

 

Wow! That sounds amazing! I'm a wannabe ballet historian and I'm hoping to get a career in the ballet world after I study for an MA in Ballet Studies, which starts in September. What rank did you get to?

 

Corps, with frequent step outs in solo roles.  I was just 16!



#20 Stage Right

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 02:34 PM

If there was to be such a reconstruction (which I think would be fascinating), what year would you propose it be from (approx.). And therefore, would you have the dancers stick to the technique available then, in terms of, say, number of pirouettes, height of jumps, height of extensions, arabesque and so forth???



#21 Amy

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 02:47 PM

If there was to be such a reconstruction (which I think would be fascinating), what year would you propose it be from (approx.). And therefore, would you have the dancers stick to the technique available then, in terms of, say, number of pirouettes, height of jumps, height of extensions, arabesque and so forth???

Well if I had it my way, I would have one staged or filmed within the next two years, but I suppose that is a pipe dream... but even pipe dreams come true once in a while.

 

And I'd make sure the dancers danced everything in the notation and they danced to the correct tempi! I'm not one to take excuses lol.



#22 Amy

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 02:48 PM

Corps, with frequent step outs in solo roles.  I was just 16!

 

 

Wow! That's amazing! Hope life's been good to you since. :)




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