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1946, Sleeping Beauty -- a book


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#1 Alexandra

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Posted 31 December 2002 - 02:15 PM

Carbro and I were discussing "Sadler's Wells Ballet at Covent Garden: A Book of Photographs by Merlyn Severn" on another thread -- about how the photographs in this book show a different image of the [company that would become] the Royal Ballet. No neat, small, prim dancing -- it flows, I think you can see in these photos; it MOVES. And there's an emphasis on drama. (We were discussing it in the context of whether Sleeping Beauty was an abstract ballet or not. Not in this version!)

This book is long out of print. It is available through Alibris -- there were several copies yesterday, anyway, and cheap! You might also do a search for Merlyn Severn in Google.

I'll leave these up for a few days for educational purposes :) NOT to say that this is the way dancers should dance today, but just to show you how they did in those stodgy 1940s. :)


Prologue: Gerd Larsen

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#2 Alexandra

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Posted 31 December 2002 - 02:16 PM

Prologue:

Gillilan Lynne.

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#3 Alexandra

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Posted 31 December 2002 - 02:18 PM

Carabosse [Robert Helpmann, who you'll also see as The Prince in the next posts] and The Court: the curse.

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#4 Alexandra

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Posted 31 December 2002 - 02:18 PM

The Hunt Scene.

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#5 Alexandra

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Posted 31 December 2002 - 02:19 PM

The Grand pas de deux:

Fonteyn [note her hideous foot and lack of flexibility :) ] and Helpmann.

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#6 Alexandra

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Posted 31 December 2002 - 02:27 PM

The Florestan pas de trois:

Anne Negus, Henry Danton, Gerd Larsen. [Lolly, is it you who had Danton as a teacher? I think someone here studied with him.]

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#7 Alexandra

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Posted 31 December 2002 - 03:32 PM

The fairies beg Carabosse to lift the curse:

Gerd Larsen, Robert Helpmann, Margaret Dale, Joan Sheldon

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#8 katharine kanter

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Posted 01 January 2003 - 06:33 AM

they seem to be having fun !

#9 Mel Johnson

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Posted 01 January 2003 - 08:21 AM

And there's a certain candor about these photos that would never be published by today's dance photography publishers. Very refreshing!

#10 Juliet

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Posted 01 January 2003 - 08:25 AM

Thank you so much for these photos! Next to having my family together for once, looking at my favourite ballet is the best start to a new year I can imagine--

Best wishes to everyone for a happy and healthy year.

Juliet

#11 Alexandra

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Posted 01 January 2003 - 08:29 AM

There is a candor about it, and it's related to their having fun, I think. It's what struck me most about the Victor Jepsen film (he's the guy who snuck a camera in for ten years at the Met and filmed Sleeping Beauty.) They danced as though they weren't being filmed -- totally candid, like watching brilliant children who are supremely confident because they don't know any better, and yet totally innocent of competition. Obviously neither the dancers nor the company "censored" the photos, or that pas de trois shot would never have made the cut, and these don't have the frozen-in-time perfection that we're used to, but God, they MOVE.

#12 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 01 January 2003 - 09:32 AM

i feel the same way about that film of gaite parisienne, alexandra; i've told people that one of the reasons i like it so much, regardless of its being badly synchronized and filmed, is that the dancers are dancing with great life, and don't look self-conscious about it.

#13 Alexandra

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Posted 01 January 2003 - 11:01 AM

Yes, not at all self-conscious. (Jepsen also filmed that Gaite) I kept wondering why, what the difference was not only with today's live performances, but from the 1956 Royal Ballet film, which is very decorous. And it's that they didn't realize they were being filmed, so they just danced.

#14 glebb

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Posted 01 January 2003 - 11:08 AM

Great pics! I'm so used to Gerd Larsen as the Queen Mother and those sort of character parts. She looks great in the first picture of this thread.

Take her out of that tutu and put her in a black leotard with pink tights and she might be in a position from "Concerto Barocco".

#15 carbro

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Posted 01 January 2003 - 02:38 PM

Alexandra, these are even more wonderful than I had imagined! The photos seem to pulsate with energy. Thank you so much!

A Happy New Year to all!


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