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Becky

Sleeping Beauty - Fairies?

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In Sleeping Beauty, I understand there is a number of solos for various fairies.

What are the names of these fairies? And what are each of their dances like?

I ask this because I have been given the chance to dance one of these solos. I have to pick one - I can't get the ballet on video to see before I have to decide which one. So I was wondering if I could find out from you about these different solos to help me decide which to dance.

Which one comes 3rd in the order? - it is rather calm music I recall?

Thankyou

Becky:)

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Becky, the third variation is comparatively calm. There are six fairies, including the Lilac Fairy, and they have different names in nearly every production.

You might be interested in checking our Sleeping Beauty forum in the Archives (the last forum on the main list). I'm pretty sure there was some discussion about the fairies.

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Yes, just read the other forum - thank you there was discussion on the fairies.

I am so confused as to which one to do!

The breadcrumb/generosity/miettes fairy - I have been encouraged by someone to do this, any further thoughts on it?

Thank you

Becky

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Only this -- that we can't see you, we don't know what your strengths and weaknesses are, and have absolutely no idea how to advise anybody over the computer which part she should dance. Why not take the advice of somebody who can see you, and has suggested the breadcrumb fairy?:D

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My daugher is currently doing Sleeping Beauty, her variation is called "The Fairy Grace" in this production. Its the first variation. An intresting sidenote -- she didn't know that her great-grandmother's name was Grace.

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Mel, I completely understand how you can't advise like this through a computer!

I am now doing the Breadcrumb variation - I managed to get the video this afternoon and like it - its cool and graceful i think, and I want to dance it - I think the person advising me towards it must have realised it would suit me.

Wow, the finger pointing violente variation looks fun! My friend who is doing this one looks gorgeous in this - she is very small and very speedy and sharp, she pulls it off rather well.

Thanks :D

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I'm glad you got a video, Becky. I love the third variation (if I had to pick a favorite, I think that would be it). The first is also cool -- and usually (at least once upon a time) danced by a taller dancer, the second is more lyrical, the third very calm -- I think of her as the most like Aurora -- the fourth almost always called some variation of "Songbird" -- there are birdlike movements in it, and it's very quick, and Violante, the "finger fairy" is quick too.

I don't remember if this was on one of the threads in the archives, but the story behind Violante is that Petipa had just seen a demonstraton of electricity and was fascinated by the sparks -- that's why her fingers point and dart about the way they do.

I hope you enjoy learning and dancing this :)

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Becky

I have learnt most of the variations and have danced (performed) three of them, of those I think the 3rd is my favourite too! I definitely agree with the Aurora-like similarities. Have fun doing it, is it for a full-length sleeping beauty? Where do you study? Sorry to be nosy but being in England too, I am interested, is it RBS?

Thanks at for the electricity story, I didn't know that-it would have helped when I did it, for some reason I never found that out!

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Odette, often the people who stage ballets don't know, but sometimes they forget and think that everybody knows :) I think that's one of the problems with teaching and coaching today. It's hard, when you get older, to remember that something that was once common knowledge is no longer taught, or mentioned, or easily available :)

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Becky, you might be interested to know that according to one version I read, the reason behind the Fairy name Breadcrumb, or Miettes qui Tombent is is a Russian custom whereby the Godmother sprinkles crumbs on her godchild's cradle to ensure that the child shall never go hungry.

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TO add to what ALymer said, Becky -- Petipa asked Tchaikovsky to create the effect of breadcrumbs falling lightly in the music, which is why the melody is made of those soft plucked-string sounds -- so it's like a blessing, a charming one...... It's certainly a charming dance.... Merde!

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Thanks, Mel, for that guestbook--

a caution about the "Meaning" of the fairies -- Alastair Macaulay once wisely cautioned me not to get too fanciful about "Breadcrumb," when I was writing something about hte fairies. It's easy for us who love this ballet to take hints of folk-origins of these splendid faberge-like creatures and turn Breadcrumb into "freedom from Hunger" -- but there are suggestions in RG's excellent book (Ballet 101) that the tradition means fertility rather than "never go hungry" -- that is, the child will grow up to bear children happily. We only have to repeat a few times that "it was a tradition to sprinkle breadcrumbs over the baby" or "crumble a new loaf over a baby" or some pretty phrase like that for people to start thinking that that is TRUE, and I've never seen it written anyplace that looked like a primary source to me..... though it's such a pretty idea, I would LOVE for it to be true...... But I do not know of a truly scholarly study of the folk-material behind SB, and I'm quite sure, that when some scholar in Russia DOES produce it, the material will be much stranger than we think.

STill, there must be something to it (and it would probably not do any harm to a dancer preparing the role to make up a story and a character for herself)...... in ROland Wiley's book, Tchaikovsky's ballets," there's a pretty long passage quoting Petipa's written notes to Tchaikovsky about how he wanted the music to create the effect of breadcrumbs falling.... and THAT"s pretty big magic in itself, especially considering how spectacularly Tchaikovsky came through --- for that short stretch of music is one of the most enchanting things, to my mind, that Tchaikovsky ever wrote......

My apologies to Becky, this is gettting a little heavy... I'm sure you'll be lovely... i'm eager to hear how it goes..... DOn't you love that music? :)

How fast will you dance it? I've seen it danced at many speeds -- from quite quick to slow and melting....

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I think it may have something to do also with Holy Communion. In some Russian peasant societies, it was pro forma to have at least a symbolic dinner with the corpse lying right there on the table, and passing the bread and wine over it. This is just the other end of the process.

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Paul, I found the attribution for the Breadcrumb fairy, plus explanations for the names of the other fairies in John Warrack's biography of Tchaikovsky. How solid his scholarship is on Russian folklore and the language of flowers, I don't know, though his musical credentials appear to be impeccable.

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hello again

well, i am dancing it this week - it is certainly on my mind at the moment. Don't worry Paul - nothing like a good old heavy discussion!

The music - yes, so beautiful, it is now amongst my Tchaikovsky favourites for sure.:-) really graceful.

I am going for a quite slow tempo, I think this is best if done well. Breadcrumbs dropping as the music- how magical!

Thank you for the luck, i will try my best to be lovely.

Becky

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Becky, I'm sure you will be lovely, and magical :) I hope very much that you have FUN with this! Let us know about the performance, please.

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