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Balanchine's 1958 Nutcracker.


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38 replies to this topic

#1 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 01:27 PM

I just discovered the few clips on Youtube for the '58 recording of City Ballet's Nutcracker, and wow...what a beauty.  I had heard of Mitchell's original variation for the Arabian Dance, but not until now had I seen it.  I know that the Imperial production had a male character here, so I loved to see Balanchine's faithful rendition of the past-(I think this is the ONLY time I've seen this variation done by a male....and to be honest, I loved it more than the one he reworked later on). Toward the end Mitchell can be seen smoking a hookah, and right away he seems to get into sort of a trance that eventually makes him go to sleep.  Is there a reference to opium by any chance...? Oh, that would be a total horror for modern America I would say...

Adams' Sugar Plum variation is just so crispy...the music plays faster and it has in general a way better sense of movement than the slowed down modern renderings.  Her flowing costume was also more beautiful than the little mauve number we know-(which I think is a bit poor looking)

Kent's Dewdrop was just amazing.



#2 DanielBenton

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 01:42 PM

I would love to see these clips. I searched YouTube but came up empty.
Any help? Thanks!

#3 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 01:49 PM

mad.gif

 

How frustrating...I can't copy/paste..!



#4 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 01:55 PM

https://plus.google....ifford1969/post

 

Try this...

 

I just copied the whole thing character by character.  It will direct you to Clifford's page and it there you will see the links to the Youtube videos.



#5 DanielBenton

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 02:06 PM

Thanks very much; it works.

#6 kfw

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 02:13 PM

I had heard of Mitchell's original variation for the Arabian Dance, but not until now had I seen it.  I know that the Imperial production had a male character here, so I loved to see Balanchine's faithful rendition of the past

 

I didn't know that, but now I better appreciate Balanchine's version. One thing I love about that recording is Balanchine's hammy Drosselmeyer.



#7 Helene

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 02:19 PM

The hookah is very "Bayadere."

#8 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 06:52 PM

The hookah is very "Bayadere."

 

Yep..that's why I assumed that is supposed to be Opium...and given that he gets sort of "loose" after smoking it...and then sleepy...



#9 Helene

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 06:57 PM

I probably shouldn't post before I finish my sentences blushing.gif
 

I meant to say that the hookah is very "Bayadere," which wouldn't have been that familiar to the American public, so it must have been a bit of a surprise.



#10 Paul Parish

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 10:59 PM

Well, helene, Christian, et al -- perhaps you haven't seen the pink-elephants ballet in the DISNEY movie. Americans knew hookahs very well, and weren't always so averse.

 

But my hunch is that  it's marijuana he's supposed to be smoking -- so ARABIAN-- assassins=hashish and all no question, Arabian is dance about smoke, the arms should be like smoke; Americans knew about all this from Ruth St Denis and DW Griffith and Hollywood Sheiks. 

https://www.youtube....h?v=T8mVKL4RHxg

https://www.youtube....h?v=eHeFx-jf8OY

Most Americans knew this kind of dance from vaudeville and carnival hootchie-kootchie, which was sometimes I'm sure very well-danced. Mark Morris himself dances the Arabian dance  -- or did until recently -- in his "Hard Nut" version of Nutcracker as a FABULOUS imitation of Isadora Duncan in veils, with veiled reference to the assassins.

 

Balanchine of course knew better than most of us do the Arabian dance that Fokine choreographed  for Glinka's opera "Ruslan and Ludmila," which is  a whole scene, a magic-induced vision that Ludmila's Arabian suitor endures -- Fokine echoes Bayaderka  in this, the scene is almost on the scale of "Shades." When SF Opera and Gergiev's Maryinsky revived the opera, we in SF were dazzled by the production and amazed to see the pictures we knew from  Diaghilev's Festin de Pierre come to life -- it was one of the productions  Diaghilev brought to Paris in  the very first Ballets Russes tours, renamed Festin -- it was really the last act of "Ruslan and Ludmila," and a VERY GREAT THING IT WAS.



#11 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 24 December 2013 - 03:12 AM

 

 

 

 



#12 sandik

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Posted 24 December 2013 - 08:38 AM

Well, helene, Christian, et al -- perhaps you haven't seen the pink-elephants ballet in the DISNEY movie. Americans knew hookahs very well, and weren't always so averse.

 

But my hunch is that  it's marijuana he's supposed to be smoking -- so ARABIAN-- assassins=hashish and all no question, Arabian is dance about smoke, the arms should be like smoke; Americans knew about all this from Ruth St Denis and DW Griffith and Hollywood Sheiks. 

https://www.youtube....h?v=T8mVKL4RHxg

https://www.youtube....h?v=eHeFx-jf8OY

Most Americans knew  this kind of dance from vaudeville and carnival hootchie-kootchie, which was sometimes I'm sure very well-danced. Mark Morris himself dances the Arabian dance  -- or did until recently -- in his "Hard Nut" version of Nutcracker as a FABULOUS imitation of Isadora Duncan in veils, with veiled reference to the assassins.

 

 

 

Lily Verlaine, a local burlesque performer, dances a version of Arabian to the Ellington score as an homage to coffee in front of a gigantic cup of coffee, compete with "steam."  Her gestures are very like St Denis' in Incense, in relationship to the curling movement of the steam, and at the end of the number she's lowered into the cup as if into a steambath.



#13 Paul Parish

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Posted 24 December 2013 - 09:58 AM

Thank you Christian, for bringing up the suhbject in he first place, and for posting the links. All of them are wonderful, just wonderful I love the fresh tempos. Watching those flowers do those steps that big and that fast and that close together is  truly thrilling.....

 

and Sandy that's choice, truly FABULOUS!! That girl gets it.

 

Lily Verlaine is pretty good by itself!



#14 Helene

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Posted 24 December 2013 - 10:21 AM

He was clearly smoking from a hookah. No bong, no joint, no hash cigar.

 

What movie do the pink elephants come from?



#15 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 24 December 2013 - 11:06 AM

fantasia?




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