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Karsavina in CHOPINIANASt. Petersburg, Fisher studio portrait photo card


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#1 rg

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 03:31 PM

c. 1909, this photocard (undated) of Karsavina, shows the ballerina costumed for CHOPINIANA in the Mariinsky Th. version of Fokine's "romantic reverie" and in which she danced the work's waltz (and later on also its central pas de deux).
it shows her on pointe in front of indication of the wooden prop/stand used to support the posing dancers during the photo sessions that involved often long exposure times.
(Andrew Foster's TAMARA KARSAVINA, DIAHILEV'S BALLERINA includes a detailed discussion of the ballet's evolution from St. Petersburg to Paris and beyond.)

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#2 susanger

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 07:07 PM

Why does she have no arch in her foot? Was it because of the structure of the shoe? Was it not the style to arch one's foot?

#3 rg

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 07:40 PM

it's likely that the pose, with help/support from the wooden stand/support that's crudely retouched 'out of the negative' allowed Karsavina to stand on that vaguely listless seeming pointe for the extended length of time necessary to get the photo taken.
that said, the extreme arch seen in later 20th c. pointework wasn't a feature earlier in the century.
tho' this pointe position is an extreme of its own, seeming evident of taking little of the dancer's weight onto it, it's important not to look at older pointework with expectations of a look similar to that seen nowadays.
English/Cecchetti technique for pointes often stressed a line directly plumb into the floor w/o a notable arch evident in profile.

#4 rg

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 08:28 AM

scan of the cover of COMOEDIA ILLUSTRE 1910 No. 17, promoting the ballet LES SYLPHIDES, formerly known as CHOPINIANA, and showing Karsavina and Nijinsky in a colored and retouched example of a moment in the ballet's pas de deux.
the foot position commented on in the above photo card is similarly shown here.

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#5 sandik

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 10:43 AM

Oh my, the colorization makes this look like a whole different ballet!

Thank you so much for all the Karsavina images lately -- she is a favorite of mine and it's always a treat to see her.

#6 Paul Parish

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 04:04 PM

Generally speaking, hte "beautiful' foot -- with the high instep and arch -- used to be thoguht of as weak. The "strong" foot that pointed enough -- but only enough -- to allow the bones to get into a pointe that would support the body without strain was recognized as the type likeliest to allow a dancer to work without frequent injuries.

Pavlova had a "beautiful' foot.

#7 Ballet Foot

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 12:20 PM

This may be too much "inside the pointe shoe"Posted Image information, so to speak,but Barbara Fallis was one of the very best teachers to help strengthen the feet of us who have those high insteps. We did exercises to strengthen the toes and part of foot between toes & front of arch. This prevented/alleviated "sitting on pointe" and provided the necessary support for the body. Fortunately, probably as a result of her teaching, I never sustained an injury. Also, I know that the earlier ballerinas use to darn the end of their pointe shoes which gave them more balance.

#8 sandik

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 12:23 PM

This may be too much "inside the pointe shoe"Posted Image information, so to speak,but Barbara Fallis was one of the very best teachers to help strengthen the feet of us who have those high insteps. We did exercises to strengthen the toes and part of foot between toes & front of arch. This prented/alleviated "sitting on poitnte" and provide the necessary support the body. Fortunately, probably as a result of her teaching, I never sustained an injury. Also, I know that the earlier ballerinas use to darm the end of their pointe shoes which gave them more balance.

Fallis was supposed to be a great teacher all around -- if you teach, I'm glad to think that you're passing some of that knowledge along.

#9 mimsyb

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 03:30 PM

Yes, Barbara Fallis was one of the great teachers. She totally re-shaped the way I approached pointe work. And I DO try and pass that on to my students.

#10 Ballet Foot

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 01:10 PM

Indeed, Barbara Fallis was a great teacher.....always gracious and constructive in her criticism. Incidentally, she could bourree across floor "sur le pointe" without pointe shoes. Inspiring!

Back to subject at hand, there is a publication of the 1970's, ANNA PAVLOVA by Oleg Kerensky, that has some inteesting observations of both Pavlova and Karsavina in "Chopiniana". Also, includes history and evolution of this ballet. Surprisingly, I found this book in public library in Washington, DC.


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