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Must Odile do fouettees?


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84 replies to this topic

#31 Roma

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Posted 15 July 2001 - 08:06 AM

I completely agree with you, Victoria!
(I of course meant "box office" in place of "audience". )

[ 07-15-2001: Message edited by: Roma ]

#32 Alexandra

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Posted 15 July 2001 - 09:15 AM

I know we're getting away from the Famous 32, but on the octuplet casting concept, I think it actually damages box office. When there are three casts, many balletomanes will want to see all three -- it's doable. When there are eight casts, very few people could afford to see all eight, and I suspect few people would want to. So you'll choose your one or two favorites. It narrows the view. (In addition to what's already said about the harm it does to both dancers and ballets.)

#33 Roma

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Posted 15 July 2001 - 10:09 AM

This is only speculation on my part, but I thought what they were aiming for was to get Julie's fans on one night, Paloma's on another, etc, and the twice-a-year crowd will fill the rest of the seats. Perhaps they think that no one dancer has a large enough of a following to fill the house twice doing the same role. How is anyone to grow and develop like this? How long have they had this casting policy?

[ 07-15-2001: Message edited by: Roma ]

#34 Drew

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Posted 15 July 2001 - 02:20 PM

The effect of this type of casting on me is pretty much as Alexandra describes -- rather than try to compare Giselles or Kitris I tend to settle for one of each. (ABT standing room this season was $20 on weeknights and $25 on weekends; and it is very obviously not selling well at those prices.) I do think that a company can't let its box office be primarily determined by balletomane habits, but even for general audiences this type of casting is baffling -- especially with a repertory that so depends on featuring principles. Presumably, too, long term box office depends partly on developing "big" stars -- in ballet that means artists, too -- and this does not seem to be the way to do it. It also means that if a general audience ballet goer (say, a subscriber who buys a few extra seats) reads a rave review of Dvorovenko as Kitri and thinks, I HAVE to see her...well, gee, they aren't likely to have the chance. Under the current regime, Kent seems to be especially favored, though; she actually did get two cracks at Swan Lake (with two partners) and Giselle (originally planned to be with two partners). Ironically, the ballets that dancers DID get more than one chance at were the lighter weight Cinderella, Merry Widow, and (dance-wise lighter weight) Onegin; even if Ferri had not withdrawn this would have been the case. (I know Onegin has its champions, and I will concede that if ABT is going to do it at all, dancers should have a chance to perform it repeatedly -- especially given the dramatic and partnering demands.)I don't entirely envy Mckenzie having to make these decisions, but as I recall when the company had Makarova, Kirkland, Van Hamel, and Gregory leading the way, the casting wasn't quite this scattered.

I know this is off the fouette topic, but rather than fake one more remark on fouettes I will leave it up to the moderator to decide what to do :(.

[ 07-16-2001: Message edited by: Drew ]

#35 leibling

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Posted 19 July 2001 - 04:42 PM

Thanks to Victoria Leigh for the comments on fouttes. Something to keep in mind. I have to say, though, that Mary Carmen Catoya, here in Miami City Ballet, has the most amazingly consistent fouttes I have ever seen. It is not just the number of multiple turns she is able to throw in- it is also the beauty of her passe and standing leg, and the precision of each repeating position. Sorry to be a little off topic- however, I don't think she would have any problems in the third act of Swan Lake.

#36 salzberg

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Posted 29 September 2003 - 11:51 AM

Personally, I don't believe that any "tricks" are sacred


On the other hand, given the popular misconception that dancers can only count to 8, it's nice to have proof that at least one can count as high as 32.

#37 Paul Parish

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Posted 17 October 2003 - 11:23 PM

Too good a topic not to get a bump every now and then...

I agree with almost all of y'all, and certainly about Plisetskaya being just FINE without them -- but want in particular to agree that it's wonderful when hte fouettes are expressive....

I remember seeing Antoinette Sibley, DECADES ago now, throw in doubles as if on a whim. She was a dangerous woman; there was nothing predictable about it, not every 4th or anything like that, just out of hte blue, like she was slapping us to amuse herself -- it made her seem almost psychopathic -- fascinating, absolutely in control of the psychological situation, the prince was just totally out of his depth in dealing with someone as cool, and profoundly indifferent as this.... I'll never forget the look on Dowell's face.

#38 djb

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Posted 22 October 2003 - 09:01 PM

Someone way back when wrote that Plisetskaya did pique turns instead of fouettes. But what she typically did was a pique turn/chaine turn combination, which, although not as demanding as fouettes, is a bit more challenging and certainly more interesting than straight pique turns, especially with her very strong, fast chaine turns.

As for me, I'd prefer the pas de deux without the fouettes. In fact, I'd like to take out the music for the fouettes, as well -- it's so circus-y. About the only ballet in which I find 32 fouettes tolerable is Don Q, and only if the performer does something incredible with them, such as Lorena Feijoo's (SFB) flicking open her fan on the multiple turns, or Nina Ananiashvili's amazingly fast fouettes.

#39 nysusan

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Posted 28 October 2003 - 04:23 PM

This may not be the right place to post this but I went to the "Career Transitions for Dancers Benefit" last night and saw Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg do the black swan pas de deux and coda (no individual variations). Cojocaru started off wonderfully, very much in character and in command. Her balances were beautiful, and she was was both imperial and dazzling, depriving her poor prince of any chance to think clearly. She started the fouettees alternating doubles & triples but it looked to me like she fell off point in the middle of a multiple pirouette about a third of the way through. The part that really bothered me was that her fouettees were travelling so far forward and so fast that I was afraid she would fall off the stage into the orchestra pit before she finished. Honest - I felt like I was watching a train wreck and had to look away! I know that the City Center stage is small, and she & Kobborg probably flew in just for this one performance but I'm surprised that a dancer with technique as solid as hers would travel so precipitously doing the 32. The audience didn't seem to mind thought, they went wild with applause. One of the elements I always look for with the 32 fouettes is that they be relatively stationary. Is that realistic or am I looking for a perfection that doesn't exist? While Cojocaru's travelling was extreme, most of the Odiles I've seen have travelled a lot more than I'd like.

By the way, I think that Swan Lake is the ultimate role for a ballerina, and that the fouettees are an important expression of Odile's personality - the climax of her seduction of Siegfried. As much as I LOVE the film of Plisetskaya, Odile just isn't the same for me without those fouettes.

#40 Hans

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Posted 28 October 2003 - 04:34 PM

While not traveling at all would be ideal, I think most Odiles probably start at the back of the stage and end up somewhere between center and downstage. I don't mind this so much because it's pretty much a natural consequence of whipping the leg front and side. Traveling sideways, however, is a problem. Also, about Cojocaru falling off pointe...it happens. More pirouettes means a larger risk of falling, which is why they're so exciting. Also, if she really did fly in, I wonder if it might have affected her turns--airplanes wreak havoc with some people's ears, which are important in controlling balance.

#41 carbro

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Posted 28 October 2003 - 08:42 PM

When she was preparing her first Kitri (okay, not Odile, but fouettes count here, too), one ABT dancer was lured to contain her fouettes by Makarova's promise that, if she stayed within one square foot, she could have an outfit from her (NM's) wardrobe. When we congratulated the debutante on her triumph, she exclaimed, "I did it! I wonder if that offer included her furs!" :lol:

Then there is that amazing film of Alonso's Odile doing her fouettes on a checkerboard floor against a background of columns, and veering only a matter of millimeters.
:)

#42 nysusan

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Posted 30 October 2003 - 11:36 AM

While not traveling at all would be ideal, I think most Odiles probably start at the back of the stage and end up somewhere between center and downstage.  I don't mind this so much because it's pretty much a natural consequence of whipping the leg front and side.  Traveling sideways, however, is a problem. 

I did notice that Cojocaru didn't travel sideways at all, just straight forward. I think the speed of her fouettees gave her forward motion a lot of velocity and the small City Center stage really intensified the effect. It certainly was exciting!

#43 Clara 76

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Posted 17 February 2004 - 11:05 AM

Now that someone has mentioned Ichino, can I ask if anyone ever saw this, quoted in Selma Jeanne Cohen's 'Next Week, Swan Lake'?

"...Yoko Ichino's innovation: four fouettes, then a swoop into a low arabesque penchee and two slow revolutions holding that pose"

Sounds, er, interesting...


I hope nobody minds me replying to this topic but I've only recently come across it and I thought it might be relevent to note that yes, Yoko did do exactly that-I personally didn't see her but another teacher that I work with has seen her do it, several times I guess. She said it was pretty amazing. And knowing Yoko like I do, it doesn't surprise me at all!
Clara

Edited by Clara 76, 17 February 2004 - 11:06 AM.


#44 oberon

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Posted 17 February 2004 - 12:52 PM

I think everyone counts the fouettees. To me, they don't make or break an Odile and I didn't mind in the least when Kyra Nichols or Kowroski stopped midway through and started doing other things to fill out the music. But I do wonder, and maybe some of the dancers here can tell me (us): does the ballerina have a "back-up plan" when she can't finish? Do most ballerinas have something prepared in case the fouettes go awry? How do you decide at what point to stop if you feel you can't finish? Has anyone had a fouettee-disaster: fallen over or bumped into the scenery or swirled herself into the wings?

My greatest fouette memory was Yoko Morishita...the first sixteen were done with every fourth a double. Then sixteen singles, as the orchestra increased the tempo...she whirled right down the center line and climaxed it with a dead-stop on both pointes in fifth. It stopped the ballet for a prolonged ovation. Maybe it was nothing to do with SWAN LAKE, but it was breath-taking just to watch.

#45 Hans

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Posted 17 February 2004 - 02:38 PM

Hopefully, if a dancer is cast as Odile, she and the artistic director already know that she can either consistently do 32 fouettés or something equally impressive. Unfortunately, mistakes happen, but the only solution I've ever seen to fouettés gone wrong was a pas de bourrée en tournant into more fouettés, which didn't look like a mistake at all, especially as the dancer had just fallen out of a quadruple pirouette onto the working (right) leg--so it was quite natural to dégagé the left leg, pas de bourrée, and keep turning.


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