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doug

Kingdom of the Shades 1900

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Having not seen the Kirov's new-old BAYADERE, but having worked with the 1900 notations of the ballet, I am interested in hearing what was new/different/changed in their Shades scene. Could some of those who saw the production fill me in?

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Doug, I'd love to know, too, but I didn't see it. :) I'm posting to bump this up, hoping it will catch the eye of someone who did.

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Thanks, Alexandra. I can be more specific.

There are some differences in the Shades' entrance, once the corps is all on stage level in their lines.

Solor and Nikiya's first entrance/first pas de deux is not notated.

The third Shade variation (the one that is performed at slow tempo now) appears to have been danced at a pretty fast tempo, with jumps at the beginning rather than the slow developpes. The backward diagonal prior to the final pas de courou diagonal is also different in the notation - passes and single pirouettes.

The grand pas contains many differences, both for the principals and corps, including some unusual lifts.

Nikiya's variations is not notated. Ekaterina Vazem's memoirs state that the veil flew up in the air after the final arabesque - I wonder if this means the final arabesque of a certain sequence midway through the variation (maybe the same place at which Solor runs off with the veil in modern productions) or at the end of the variation. Karsavina confirmed the upward flying veil in her remembrances in Dancing Times in the 1960s. Her comments also confirm other difference between modern productions (specifically Nureyev's for the Royal) and what she danced while at the Maryinsky.

The coda is more elaborate for the corps and significantly different for Nikiya. The Kirov's notes stated that Nikiya's coda entrances had been restored. Could anyone describe the steps in her two entrees?

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NO ONE SAW BAYADERE IN NEW YORK? (Screaming deliberately, not to be rude, but hoping that New York Kirov fans will hear us.)

I can't comment except to say I'm stunned how much is NOT notated. I would presume that this either means the ballet was never out of repertory and thus well known, or one dancer or repetiteur knew the ballet so well it did not need to be notated.

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It seems to be mostly Nikiya's solos that weren't notated. None of her Act I and Act II dances are notated. In the Shades scen (Act III, Scene 5), only the grand pas de deux and her coda entrances are notated. In Act IV, the pas d'action is notated, but no solo variations.

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Unfortunately, I can't be a big help, even though I saw Kirov's reconstruction of La Bayadere. I'm afraid I'm not sure about most of these differences, but I remember that in this Kirov's version III Shade variation was definitely danced faster, but not too fast .

I'm also sure that there were developees in the beginning, but I'm not sure about the ending.

Sorry I can't help more, but I don't know well enough the previous Kirov version to be able to compare the two.

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I didn't see the new/old production either, but at the Kirov Academy, that 3rd variation is danced at a faster tempo than at other places, and definitely with jumps into ecarte. I wonder how much of that slowness originated with Makarova--I've noticed that on the tape of the Royal Ballet dancing her production, the entire corps dances a beat behind the music in the entrance to the Shades scene (the Kirov dances directly on the beat according to my tapes).

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in the shades coda, doug, where they do an en masse bourree forward turned in with the three soloists in front of them, and when the soloists do their releves into attitude efface and then the turning step, i've always seen it with the corps mirroring them but without a turn, however, the kirov did it with the corps doing passes. that difference came to mind right away (hope i'm remembering it correctly).

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Yes, I recall that, too! And yet the big Kirov expatriates like Nureyev and Makarova chose to do it differently, as well as take the Entry of the Shades at half-speed from Kirov practice. I wonder if those things are Chabukiani/Vaganova accretions that the later stagers chose to exclude?

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This is so interesting. In the notation, the corps indeed does the turns with the 3 soloists, rather than just passes. To me, the turns done by everyone become much more dynamic. Some of the metronome markings in the piano scores used by Nikolai Sergeev after he left Russia indicate faster-than-usual tempi for a several of numbers in the scene, including the corps' entrance and the third Shade's variation.

How about Nikiya's coda? For her first entree in the coda, the notated steps include 3 saute arabesques with Solor walking behind her (rather than lifting her), followed by the lift with beats. This is repeated three times all on the same diagonal (takes less room becuse fewer lifts), rather than crossing the stage three times, as done today. This is followed by a number of steps performed in a manege - I think it is saut de basque, petit jete en tournant, grand jete - all done 3 times - followed by chaines turns. We usually see only tour jetes today.

Nikiya's second entree comes right down the center of the stage - sissonne arabesque - actually leaping onto pointe - followed by by rond de jambe en l'air. This combination is done very quickly and is repeated over and over to the alternate side. This is followed by a backward diagonal moving toward upstage left - two hops on pointe in fifth, hop to a flat-footed echappe (forgive my terminology here) and another hop to pointe in fifth. Repeated several times while travelling backward (reminds me of a similar step for the ballerina in SYMPHONY IN C, first movement). Then, grand emboites forward, followed by a double pirouette into Solor's arms, followed by a swoon (the position is notated) as, I believe, the curtain falls. At the very end, the corps comes running in from the sides, but their final positions aren't given (might be a semi-circle).

Any comments on what was performed by Nikiya in the coda?

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I wish I could be of more help, but the ballet is not one I know so well. The one difference I recalled from other versions was the same one Mme. Hermine noticed, that of the passes in the coda done by the corps de ballet. The rest actually looked (or at least felt) the same.

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Thanks for all these. Odd that the "flying veil" (which also disappeared from Giselle, Act II) worked in the 19th century and yet makes contemporary audiences giggle. (I'm presuming that's why it has disappeared.)

I was interested to read all these responses, and realized I'd been (unintentionally) rude. I mentioned New Yorkers because the new/old production had so recently been in New York, but we have Kirov watchers from everywhere -- do any others have a piece of this puzzle?

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I noticed a moment in ABT's 2003 version that I hadn't seen before and wanted Doug's (or anyone else's) response. Following the Shades' entrance, after the ecarte pose, the ladies are on the left knee (efface), and they do a little "breathing" bend up. This season, ABT's Shades follow that bend with a lovely little reverence towards the supporting knee. Is that added this year? Is it in the Kirov new/old version? I love it. It is a brief, quiet suspension within a quiet suspension. I was wondering if it was an invention of Makarova's or if she found it somewhere and liked it.

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doug - when you refer to "having worked with the 1900 notations", can i ask you to clarify what KIND of notation you mean, please? thank you! :)

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Grace, Doug wrote me a few days ago that he would be very busy this summer and not checking the board often, so in case he doesn't see this, Doug, who is a musicologist, has worked with (i.e., studied and staged from) the Stepanov notations.

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thanks. that was my guess. (i've never heard of a musicologist before!) :)

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Carbro, I looked at my tape of the Royal Ballet's "La Bayadere" and they perform the movement you describe, so it doesn't seem to be an addition. Couldn't find my Kirov tape to check it against, though.

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(For the record, I thanked Hans privately. Did not want his post to hang unacknowledged.) ;)

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Hi, everyone.

Carbro -- I think the movement you mention is too detailed to be included in the notation made in 1900, although the Bayadere notations are very detailed, relatively speaking. I can dig them out and check when I have a moment.

Grace -- the notations are in the Stepanov dance notation system, used in St. Petersburg at the turn of the 20th century. The Bayadere notations are based on the December 1900 revival by Petipa. These are the main documents upon which the Kirov has based their recent reconstruction.

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I know the La Bayadere Reconstruction from a video tape only.

(Will see a live performance in London on August 2nd).

The main difference is surely the 4th act. The whole grandeur and drama of Petipas Coreography - so long buried - took me completely by surprise. I love this 4th act so much I watch it at least once a week.

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I greatly enjoyed this thread--having at last learned to navigate my way around the site. I was amused by your flying veil observation, Alexandra. Clearly falling veils have remained in vogue, for I recall one in Agnes de Mille's Oklahoma ballet--if indeed it was her choreography that was staged in the Cambridge Theatre, London, in the early eighties. I was sitting near the stage, and was puzzled by a bucket suspended from one of the lighting battens. Its function became apparent when it tilted a veil on to the ballerina during the ballet.

With all good wishes

Rodney

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