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The Canteen Keeper (La Vivandiere)


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#1 glebb

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Posted 28 January 2003 - 06:19 PM

On the video "Kirov Ballet: Classic Ballet Night", is the ballet "The Canteen Keeper (La Vivandiere)", danced by Alla Sizova and Boris Blankov. It looks very much (but not exactly) like the "Pas de Six from La Vivandiere" which I learned from Anne Hutchinson Guest in 1975.

At that time (1975) I was under the impression that the "Pas de Six from La Vivandiere" had been lost and that Saint-Leon's notes had been recently discovered and translated by Guest into Labanotation, and also by Pierre Lacotte into which system I do not know.

Is the Kirov version taught by Lacotte? If not, when did the Kirov Ballet start dancing "La Vivandiere"? Before 1975?

Does anyone know what year Sizova retired? I think she may have stopped dancing because of an injury.

#2 Mel Johnson

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Posted 28 January 2003 - 06:49 PM

Sizova retired in 1988. She suffered from a chronic back problem through her entire performing career, but given a nearly thirty-year run, she did pretty well. However, it could be disappointing for people who had bought tickets just to see her and found her replaced at curtain time. I was lucky and got to see her first in 1964.

Arthur St.-Léon published his book Stenochoreographie in 1852, and used his own notation system to record the Vivandière pas de six. Anne Hutchinson Guest has interpreted the stick-figure system that St.-Léon used to record his work one way, and Pierre Lacotte has interpreted it another. There may be others. I don't know whose version was used by the Kirov, but I agree with you that it isn't the Guest/Grandy reconstruction.

PS. I rummaged about a bit and found that the Kirov does indeed use the Lacotte version. When he made the reconstruction, I don't know. Anybody?

#3 R S Edgecombe

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Posted 12 July 2003 - 10:23 AM

I'm afraid my memory of the matter is a bit dim, but I seem to recall that A H-G once wrote an article about her reconstruction of the Vivandiere pas de six in Dancing Times. In it (if I am not misremembering), she says that Anthony Tudor raised an eyebrow at the pirouette saute a la seconde she had assigned to the male, saying that this was too early a ballet to have featured a step so virtuosic. But, A H-G points out, the person independently responsible for the Kirov reconstruction of Saint-Leon's text (I seem to recall a Russian name, not Lacotte, but I could well be wrong) had come to the identical conclusion with regard to this passage--and so she felt vindicated. If someone has back issues of Dancing Times they might try to look up the piece and correct any misinformation in this posting.

#4 rg

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Posted 28 July 2003 - 06:00 AM

just read this thread:
is one of these the DancingTimes article you remembered?

Guest, Ann Hutchinson.
Title :Saint-Léon revived.
The dancing times. London. Nov 1976, p 81-82. illus
The author describes the process of transcribing the choreography from Saint-Léon's notation for the Pas de six from La vivandière, and her experiences teaching it to the Joffrey II Company.

Guest, Ann Hutchinson.
Title :Vivandière for the Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet.
The dancing times. London. Mar 1982, p 424-425. illus
About the author's reconstruction of the Pas de six from Saint-Léon's La vivandière.

#5 Paul Parish

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Posted 28 July 2003 - 08:46 AM

THis is slightly off-topic, but there's a BEAUTIFUL performance of the lead role in the Vivandiere pas de sixe by Yelena Pankova on a Kirov compilation.... sorry I can't be more specific, just went and looked through my videos and can't find it, but the performances are lovely from everybody, and she is radiant indeed.... It's quite a recommendation for St Leon....

of course, it's listed in BAllet 101, the INVALUABLE book by Robert Greskovic (every dance library should have it) -- the Kirov in London, 1988; her partner was Sergei Vikarev.

#6 Jane Simpson

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Posted 28 July 2003 - 09:11 AM

The bit about the grand pirouette is actually in both of the DT articles , word for word. In the second one she adds "In the Kirov version this passage was also interpreted as a grand pirouette". However in the rest of the second article she is extremely critical of the Kirov version, complaining about 'blatant changes' and describing it as a 'flashy, self-consciously "charming" presentation'. She never names names, though, writing throughout of 'the Kirov reconstructor'.

#7 R S Edgecombe

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Posted 28 July 2003 - 11:49 AM

RG and Jane, thank you very much for tracing the DT article for me. It was definitely the second one that I read, and that would account for my thinking the Kirov reconstructor was a Russian, for I would have definitely remembered Lacotte's name. I knew it from his La Sylphide reconstruction for his wife (which had been screened on SATV in 76), not to mention his involvement in Nureyev's defection, and his subsequent "reconstruction" of Marco Spada for the same--it came in the wake of the delightful Bonynge recording. I saw a picture in the DT of Nureyev dancing it in Rome (I think).

Paul, I agree whole-heartedly with you about Pankova's vivandiere (if indeed she IS the markitenka!). Such wonderful stage-skimming ballon--just like the lithograph of Lucille Grahn in Eoline. Did you know that some of the music for that pas de six is by Nadaud? It's very seldom acknowledged in the credits, but Ivor Guest has assured me that this is the case.

#8 Hans

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Posted 28 July 2003 - 09:59 PM

Pankova is good, but IMO, Sizova is better :FIREdevil:. Port de bras does not get any better than that...not to mention her jump!

#9 Mel Johnson

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Posted 29 July 2003 - 03:31 AM

Would that have been Gustave Nadaud? I knew that he sang and wrote aphoristic light verse, but I didn't know about composing.

Anyway, we have established that Pugni would take popular tunes and incorporate them into his ballet music. So did Drigo for that matter in "Les Millions d'Arlequin" when he has people dancing to "Malbrouck s'en va t'en Guerre", although it seems to be used in its later guise as "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow"!

#10 glebb

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Posted 29 July 2003 - 04:12 AM

It's almost thirty years ago, so I might not remember correctly. I'm quite sure that AHG did have Lacotte in the studio to see a run through. I had the impression (up until now) that he was the other interpreter.

#11 R S Edgecombe

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Posted 29 July 2003 - 07:38 AM

Mel, The initials of this Nadaud are J. B., but I haven't a clue what his names might have been. I suppose Jean, Jacques or Jules are the most likely. In 1840, he devocalized Auber's Le Lac des fees into a ballet score that was choreographed by Antonion Guerra for Cerrito. And--this is for Glebb!--he had also done the same thing to Robert le diable the year before. I think Guerra choreographed that as well, but I'm not sure. I don't think that Pugni adapted the Nadaud elements in the pas de six--they are the valse intrada and an unspecified allegro--but rather took them on in a gesture of co-composition a la Minkus and Delibes in La Source.

Hans, I have only seen Sizova in a film of Beauty, and thought her radiant and possessed of an excellent jump--but there was something about her line that troubled me. I can't remember what it was--only that I had tea with my brother in the Company Gardens after the screening, and mentioning it to him. His response was that I was a veritable little Procrustes, always wanting to chop and change the bodies that were given me instead of accepting them gratefully!


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