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Stanley Williams' Bournonville Divertissements


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#1 Michael

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 07:48 AM

Do you think the company could or should, or ever will, revive "Bournonville Divertissements"?  Never saw it but I'd love to see what it looks like and I think the idea of what some of the current dancers could make of it very interesting.

 

Or maybe an SAB workshop? 

 

Not the taller principals, or necessarily even the principals.  In principle it seems to me there should be sparkling roles, something to show off a glittering technique (supposing that it's based on things like the Ballabile from Act III of Napoli).  And there are so many women in the company these days who have a Danish physique - rather square in shoulders women of middle size, with the waist bisecting the body - it's a type that Peter has developed more.

 

I could see Abi Stafford, Lauren Lovette, Tiler Peck, Ashley Bouder, Georgina Pazcoguin, Indiana Woodward, Kristen Segin, Jenelle Manzi, Megan Mann, Ashly Isaacs, Sara Villwock,  and even an apprentice like Daniela Aldrich cast in such material.  And men like Taylor Stanley, Harrison Ball, Ralph Ippolito or David Prottas,.

 

(Prottas danced "Flower Festival" on that stage with Katie Morgan didn't he, once upon a time?  Maybe it was Nikolai Hübbe's farewell?). 

 

and in principle wouldn't it be nice for the company to remember Williams in a program note?



#2 Helene

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 09:05 AM

Balanchine -- or Williams? -- cast tall dancers in it in the past along with shorter dancers like McBride and Hlinka:  Nichols and Ashley, Kistler, Farrell.  Croce, in her review of the premiere (republished in "Afterimages"), remarked, "It's Farrellized Bournonville--an independent show within a show."  She thought that McBride suffered from lack of turnout and ballon, but, by her next review, thought that McBride (and Farrell) had adjusted.

 

Croce also thought that "Ballo della Regina" was an extension of what Ashley had done in "Bournonville Divertissements" in a review published in "Going to the Dance."



#3 vipa

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 09:50 AM

I remember enjoying Bournonville D very much.  It was definitely had a Balanchine twist but was also definitely Bournonville.  I remember Merrill Ashley and Kyra Nichols being spectacular in a pas de trois (I don't remember who the man was).  I don't think it has to be cast short.  Peter Martins was wonderful in Bournonville.



#4 tpc

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 02:16 PM

The man in the Ventana pas de trois was originally Ricky Weiss. I think this was the role for which Ashley described her "trick" for holding an unsupported arabesque penche in promenade: in her autobio she wrote that she pretended the hand stretching behind her was reaching for someone and that gave her balance.



#5 vipa

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 02:23 PM

The man in the Ventana pas de trois was originally Ricky Weiss. I think this was the role for which Ashley described her "trick" for holding an unsupported arabesque penche in promenade: in her autobio she wrote that she pretended the hand stretching behind her was reaching for someone and that gave her balance.

 

Thank you tpc.  It absolutely was Ricky Weiss.  The more I think about it the more I'd love to see NYCB do this again.  I don't think it will happen.



#6 Michael

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 04:31 PM

I wonder if there's even a ballet master now at NYCB who knows it well enough to teach it?  They may have it on video of course, because they have a lot of video.  

 

From what you are saying, I'd love to see it revived - maybe for an SAB workshop because a tribute to Williams would be particularly apt in that context.

 

And I didn't mean to imply it had to be cast short - that was just an outgrowth of my reading that the Ballabile from Napoli was part of the scenario - and in my mind seeing that as middle sized women, a preconception that has nothing at all to do with the ballet as Williams conceived it or NYCB performed it.  Wonder why it fell out of repertory when evidently it had been done by some of the names you mention?  I don't remember seeing it during their 50th anniversary season back around 98 or whenever it was.

 

MP



#7 sandik

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 04:48 PM

Pacific Northwest Ballet used to do a similar work, staged by Flemming Halby, who had danced with the RDB before he came to the US.  I remember it had a lovely spirit, and would be thrilled to see it again.



#8 Helene

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 04:52 PM

Croce wrote in her February 14, 1977 review, re-published in "Afterimages" ('pp 260-1),

 

Peter Schaufuss, the third of the company's true Dances, is not in the cast; it is Robert Weiss who dances in the trio from "La Ventana, and Daniel Duell who takes the principal role of Gennaro in the Ballabile from "Napoli" Act I.  Duell, whose career has been accelerating lately, confirms the strong impression he has already made.   But Weiss, in a more demanding role, is a surprise. He has always had the stretch and spring necessary to Bournonville and to his repertory roles, but his flaw, which include a bad hunch, helpless arms, and a two-dimensional torso, are miraculously corrected her.  In "La Ventana," Weiss is careful, relaxed, and stylish; it's the best performance of his career.

 

 

 

I saw BD in 1982, with Lisa Hess/Jean-Pierre Frohlich, Judith Fugate/Helgi Tomasson, Lourdez Lopez/Stephanie Saland/Kipling Houston, Darci Kistler/Ib Andersen, and Kyra Nichols/Adam Luders.  I saw it again in 1988, with Kelly Cass/Michael Byars, Judith Fugate/Carlo Merlo, Lauren Hauser/Shawn Stevens/Patrick Hinson, and my notes say a Pas de Six from Abdullah with Julie Michael/Roma Sosenko/Kathleen Tracey/Margaret Tracey/Peter Boal/Jeffrey Edwards/Gen Horiuchi, which makes no sense, because I logged seven dancers, not six, and note neither Pas de Deux from William Tell or Flower Festival in Genzano.   I don't remember traveling long enough during the season to miss BD if it had been performed between 1989-94.  The last cast is one I would have expected for Bournonville.  The 1982 cast had Kistler and Nichols, but wasn't nearly as tall as the original, which also included Colleen Neary.



#9 abatt

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 05:51 PM

I've also been thinking that Bournonville has not been done at NyCB in  a long time. The last time I recall seeing it was at Hubbe's farewell, when Kathryn Morgan and (?)Ben Millepied danced it.  I wish they would bring that back.



#10 cinnamonswirl

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 06:41 PM

I've also been thinking that Bournonville has not been done at NyCB in  a long time. The last time I recall seeing it was at Hubbe's farewell, when Kathryn Morgan and (?)Ben Millepied danced it.  I wish they would bring that back.

 

It was Kathryn Morgan and David Prottas at the farewell. They'd been coached by Hübbe.



#11 Alexandra

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 06:07 AM

Peter Martins could definitely stage those diverts! Not saying that he'd want to, but I'd be very surprised if he weren't able to.

 

I think they were of their time, though. Bournonville had just been "discovered' after the Bournonville Festival in 1979, and Stanley Williams was on staff. They were quite different stylistically from Bournonville as the Danes then danced him.



#12 kfw

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 06:17 AM

The 1982 Dance in America broadcast of Bournonville Divertissements can be seen at the Lincoln Center branch of the New York Public Library.



#13 dirac

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 04:33 PM

Croce, in her review of the premiere (republished in "Afterimages"), remarked, "It's Farrellized Bournonville--an independent show within a show."  She thought that McBride suffered from lack of turnout and ballon, but, by her next review, thought that McBride (and Farrell) had adjusted.

 

 

 Which isn't quite the same as saying, "It was good," if you think about it. I think she covered several performances in the same review. I remember Farrell saying in her book that in the end she decided it was best not to try rescale her dancing style and it was probably the right decision, at least for her.



#14 Helene

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Posted 18 March 2014 - 03:45 PM

In the first performances, which I reviewed a few weeks ago, Patricia McBride looked out of her element.  By closing night in New York, she'd found some magic key to the buoyancy she needs for the part, and was transforming herself into a feather-light Bournonville soubrette.  Farrell had made comparable adjustments in her performance.  Thought these developments were unpredictable, and even unnecessary (we don't expect the grandest of Balanchine's ballerinas to be wonderful in an alien tradition), they show us how stardom can be earned.

 

 

from Croce's "Afterimages," p. 268



#15 kfw

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Posted 18 March 2014 - 04:46 PM

Farrell looking somewhat like a feather-light Bournonville soubrette? helpsmilie.gif I'm trying to picture this. Sure wish I'd seen it.




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