Fokine, Petipa and La Bayadere
Posted 11 July 2002 - 09:34 AM
I'm struck, by the photos I've seen, and by reading about it, how close it is to Fokine's work. This is the production he would have grown up with. Everyone isn't on pointe. There's a mixture of classical, semi-classical and character dance, each style appropriate to the person dancing it.
Where did the rebellion come from?
I know that distance makes everything look the same. I've seen some films of Ruth St. Denis's work that make me think, "But that's Fokine!" (a thought that would make both Ruth and Michel F apoplectic, I'm sure). The time of the production was a time when the difference among styles that look very similar to us today were strikingly apparent to dancers and teachers (the Legat clan, of the school of Johansson, found Cecchetti coarse!)
A friend of mine who'd gone up to see La Bayadere said that intermission talk in his circles had touched on this question -- people saw Cleopatra, Tamar, Scheherezade, not to mention the Polovotsian dances, in La Bayadere.
Anyone have comments on this? If anyone can see the rebellion -- aside from length, of course; Fokine was a reductionist, and in that way the polar opposite of Petipa -- I'd be interested to read it.
Posted 11 July 2002 - 01:27 PM
Posted 14 July 2003 - 03:33 PM
I find an hourglass pattern in the focus of nineteenth-century ballet. Bournonville and Perrot stress legs and feet at the expense of the upper body; in Petipa the ideal balance and crossover occurs--richly embroidered ports de bras, nuanced eyelines and epaulement AND delicate footwork--while in Fokine attention shifts to the torso and the arms at the expense of the feet--or at least the sort of feet that can execute Petipan petits pas. His contempt for the classical tutu makes this clear, for he raged at Goncharova for discarding the Firebird's trouser suit a la Golovine.
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