rg

THE CARD PARTY, Balanchine's 1937 staging

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scans of 3 presumably related photos, on stage and in performance, admittedly dress rehearsal, of THE CARD PARTY.

the results are hardly clear photos but this little sampling shows Balanchine's ballet on stage in an era when what one got were mostly posed, studio shots. there seems to be an extra blurriness with regard to William Dollar's Joker, leading one to presume the camera snapped Dollar when he was at his most animated by Balanchine's choreography.

only the one, third in the selection here, came with a caption noting the dress rehearsal aspect.

f.y.i.

Leda Anchutina was the first cast of the Queen of Spades so likely she's seen here in the role she originated.

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scans of 3 presumably related photos, on stage and in performance, admittedly dress rehearsal, of THE CARD PARTY.

the results are hardly clear photos but this little sampling shows Balanchine's ballet on stage in an era when what one got were mostly posed, studio shots. there seems to be an extra blurriness with regard to William Dollar's Joker, leading one to presume the camera snapped Dollar when he was at his most animated by Balanchine's choreography.

only the one, third in the selection here, came with a caption noting the dress rehearsal aspect.

f.y.i.

Leda Anchutina was the first cast of the Queen of Spades so likely she's seen here in the role she originated.

Thank you for sharing, RG. These Jeu de Cartes Knave/Jack costumes are reminiscent of the KKK - I have to wonder if that was intentional.

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i believe Irene Sharaff's costuming for the Aces of CARD PARTY, with their flat, bib-like "bodies" and pointed-hood headcoverings, plus swords, were an attempt at making a card shape, or maybe one suggesting armor-clad knights. i doubt any KKK connection was meant. (elsewhere on this site i may have posted, a while back, some studio shots of the costumes as worn in the 40s by Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, when Balanchine's ballet was given by that company, and where the costumes can be more clearly seen, but i'm unable to link to such earlier posts due to ineptitude.)

acc'd to CHOREOGRAPHY BY BALANCHINE, the aces were originally performed by women, and later, by men.

Sharaff's Jacks were colorful, full figures, (see the male dancer so costumed in the first two photos) resembling the look of the knaves on standard playing cards; the costumes in question here were meant to be the four aces in a deck of cards.

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I've only seen posed studio shots of this before, which have always stuck me as affected and trying too hard for whimsy. These onstage shots give the piece the breath of life. Which makes the costumes look better than ever, as you imagine them moving with the dancers. I love the Knights especially. Thanks, rg, this series is a gem.

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as noted the attached scan may well have been posted previously, but it seemed more simple to re-scan and re-post it here; it shows POKER GAME as Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo re-named THE CARD PARTY in 1940.

the studio shot perhaps includes F.Franklin's Joker; N. Krassovska's Qeen of Diamonds, A. Danilova's Q. of Spades, A. Markova's Q of Hearts, M. Mladova's Q of Clubs, I. Youskevitch's King of Hearts. (the newsphoto dept. has dated the print as being received - or run? - on Oct. 15, 1940.)

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