emilienne

Ashton clips from the Huntley Archives

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The first offering, a disconnected and silent (and watermarked) record of what seems to be the original cast of Symphonic Variations. Dancers are Margot Fonteyn, Michael Soames, Moira Shearer, Pamela May, Brian Shaw and Henry Danton. This seems to be previews of what is available from an independent UK archive. If only it had sound...

I should add that the British Film Institute recently posted some similar footage, though much better quality. They seem to be shot from similar angles. Unfortunately the BFI will not get a similar thread unless I find more.

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The thread is definitely misnamed, as the archive has a respectable number of early ballet clips in general. I'll post the most notable ones here and let the discerning viewer dig through for their own stuff.

In the meantime, a clip of Anna Pavlova performing something that is not the Dying Swan, with sound!

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Ninette de Valois's Rake's Progress, 1940s.

edited to correct the choreographer from Ashton to above.

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Ashton's Mars and Venus, with Pearl Argyle and William Chappell.

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these clips are likely from the recent BBC telecast of "Ballet in the Blitz" - the SYMPHONIC V footage was recently found, in the BBC program 95-year-old Henry Danton speaks about the time and this footage.

there's some question as to the cast - the 3rd woman, i.e. not Fonteyn or Shearer, Gillian Lynne thinks it shows her and not the originator of that role, Pamela May.

f.y.i.

RAKE'S PROGRESS is a ballet by Ninette de Valois

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rg, I'm not sure of the provenance of the clips themselves, but the Huntley Archive website indicates that they "represent" footage collections and provide clips to broadcasters and the like. There are a great number of home videos in the mix, and this may well have been one of them.

(I have corrected the choreographer's identity on Rake's Progress.)

As with the Balanchine clip in "Hamburg", identification is not perfect. For example, there is this charming but creakily projected home video of what they think is Firebird. I think it's more likely that this is footage of Coq d'Or.

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agreed, the footage above is clearly from Le Coq d'Or.

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The opening tableau from the BFI excerpt of Symphonic Variations is so lovely, and so specific. I'm grateful to have a look.

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there's some question as to the cast - the 3rd woman, i.e. not Fonteyn or Shearer, Gillian Lynne thinks it shows her and not the originator of that role, Pamela May.

That's very good to know! I emailed the Huntley archive about the Coq d'Or footage and asked about the Symphonic Variations film. Apparently the SI film came in with no notes about anything, so the casting is guesswork on their part and open to correction.

Judicious zooming suggests that the third dancer definitely not Pamela May, as the hair is too dark and the eyebrows too prominent to be May. By the photographic evidence, the third dancer could be Lynne, but it's hard to tell without higher resolution images from the film.

Edit: I took some captures from the high-resolution BFI video. Anyone want to play spot-the-dancer?

http://imgur.com/a/w9Ssc

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Not certain, but it could be Yvonne Cartier, the time line would be about right..

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She's not listed as ever having danced the ballet. I think it most probably is Lynne. Other people who danced the May role about that time were Avril Navarre, Rosemary Lindsay and Pauline Clayden.

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What a treat these are. After watching most of this right in a row, I'm struck again with the similarities between Pavlova's performance style and some of the early Ashton (which he himself would have said). But I was thrilled to see a moment in the Mars and Venue pas de trois that looked very much like that opening tableau from Symphonic Variations, and the use of the ribbons (rope?) in M and V -- a predecessor of the ribbons in Fille Mal Gardee!

The Pavlova montage is also very sweet. I could recognize Christmas at the top, and Fairy Doll halfway through (and of course multiple shots from Dying Swan at the end), but wasn't sure about the dance with the shawl. Looked like Fokine to me, but I wouldn't want to say for sure. Anyone else have some insight?

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