Posted 12 September 2012 - 01:57 PM
This is from a French site, dated 1954. I haven't watched it yet. Is this the original cast?
Posted 12 September 2012 - 02:16 PM
Posted 12 September 2012 - 02:21 PM
1st - Adams/Bliss
2nd - Hayden/Magallanes
3rd - Kent/Barnett
4th - LeClerq/D'Amboise
Posted 12 September 2012 - 03:19 PM
This is MOSTLY the original cast. And what a cast. The film was distributed by the U.S. Information Service, probably as a promotion for a NYCB tour to Europe. Western Symphony was performed on the 1956 tour, including Paris (which might explain the French version of the film). Less than two weeks after Paris, The company was in Copenhagen. It was there that Tanaquil Leclerq, after dancing the Rondo with Jacques d'Amboise, experienced the first symptoms of polio.
Allegro: Diana Adams and Herbert Bliss are original cast.
Adagio: Nicholas Magallanes is original cast, but Melissa Hayden replaces Janet Reed.
Scherzo: Allegra Kent replaces Patrica Wilde; Robert Barnett replaces Andre Eglevsky.
Rondo: Tanaquil LeClerq and Jacques d'Amboise are original cast.
The Scherzo is usually omitted now,, but Edward Villella, who actually danced it, put it back in for Miami City Ballet.
It's fascinating to compare the style to the way the ballet dancers perform this work today. In those early days, it was about energy, wit, fast footwork, and big (almost "Broadway") gestures. Those dancers were enjoying themselves..
It will be interesting to look back at recordings of Miami City Ballet's 2011 performance for Dance in America. Villella must have been thinking of the look and especially the feel of this original group of dancers, almost all of which he actually had the chance to work with, when he was coaching his young MCB dancers last year. I'm looking forward to comparing those two performances -- one filmed shortly after the premiere, the other filmed over half a century later.
Posted 12 September 2012 - 03:43 PM
Posted 12 September 2012 - 06:48 PM
What surprised me the most was Hayden: she's likable and actually funny.
And LeClerq and that hat!
What a treat. Thank you so much.
Posted 13 September 2012 - 05:56 AM
I suspect that the small amount of high-quality videos featuring Hayden -- and the never quite enthusiastic write-ups she received from reviewers -- may have left people with a distorted impression. Hayden on stage was charismatic and "theatrical" dancer, in the sense of completely inhabiting the role. Her technique and personality were more than sufficient for the wide range of roles she danced, not just the bravura dancing for which she is known. She was capable of softness (watch the video of The Still Point pdd on the Jacques d'Amboise dvd), pathos (I still think of her as the most moving of all the NYCB Odettes), emotional warmth (her Sugar Plum Fairy), and a wry kind of subtlety (just look at the way she bids farewell to Nicholas Magallanes before bourreeing out of his life at the end of the Adagio).
Posted 15 September 2012 - 07:01 AM
Jennifer Kronenberg has a lot of Diana Adams' charm and a similar body type (those long gorgeous legs, for example). She seems to be channeling Adams' plush quality of movement. Adams, however, seems more natural and spontaneous while relating to her partner; Kronenberg is more knowing, more of a coquette. It was marvelous to be able to watch this as the two danced side by side on different screens.
Carlos Guerra is more balletic than Herbert Bliss, especially his feet. Guerra wears softer shoes and is less of a hoofer, but he's a charmer, too -- and equally enthralled by his lady.
MCB's corps is technically more precise than the NYCB corps of the 1950s -- crisper, cleaner, with greater technical consistency -- than NYCB in the 1950s. I'd probably give an edge to NYCB for energy and for the illusion of true spontaneity.
There are two points in the Allegro in which the original NYCB version outshines MCB's:
-- The pas de deux's highpoint comes as the cavalier/cowboy promenades his ballerina while she does a developpe a la seconde, transitioning to arabesque. In the 1950s video, the music swells to make this clear. MCB's music does not swell, so the full effect of this promenade -- with its witty allusion to the grandeur of classical ballet -- is lost.
-- The tempo of the end of the finale is much accelerated in the 1950s version, noticeably faster than Miami's version. Miami's dancers have nuance and precision at their slower tempo tempo. NYCB's dancers have greater energy and a heart-racing, almost desperate joie de vivre.
The similarities, however, outweigh the differences. Both sets of dancers are joys to watch.
I'll be checking the other 3 sections over the next day or so. I'm especially interested in comparing the Rondo -- with MCB's Patricia Delgado and Yann Trividic dancing Tanaquil le Clercq's and Jacques d'Amboise's parts. Villella decided to revive this section (the "dance with the hat" as it is sometimes known) MCB as far as I know is the only company to perform it.
Posted 15 September 2012 - 07:28 PM
Thanks for posting this -- it's got magnificent energy. Very few clean fifth positions, but the rhythms are VERY precise. leclercq is truly hilarious.
Posted 16 September 2012 - 05:31 AM
Posted 16 September 2012 - 05:35 AM
Posted 16 September 2012 - 07:13 AM
Posted 16 September 2012 - 07:35 AM
Was the last "Dance in America" released on DVD the Balanchine Celebration from 1993?
Posted 16 September 2012 - 08:31 AM
New York City Ballet appears as a Live from Lincoln Center production. in "Swan Lake" (1999) and "The Diamond Project" (contemporary choreographers, i.e., no Balanchine) (2002).
I'm sure there are others. The two Balanchine ballets on the MCB video Might be a problem if it ever comes to negotiating rights from the Balanchine Trust.
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