Posted 07 February 2003 - 01:30 AM
Ivor Guest in one of his histories of the Opera here at Paris, has a great deal to say about Carlotta Zambelli.
A few minutes of film of Mlle. Zambelli have come down to us, fortunately kept at the Cinémathèque de la Danse, which is a state archive. I have had the great good luck to see that film.
It reveals that Mlle. Zambelli was a rigorously épaulement-free zone, though she seems, from that tiny glimpse, to have had enormous dynamics, as well as charm. The turn-out was far less extreme than in our day, and this appears to have been a factor contributing to the remarkable lightness of her footwork.
Here is what Guest has to say on this precise question, one of some importance, because Mlle. Zambelli spent most of her adult life in Paris, and became a renowned teacher:
"After Mlle. Rosita Mauri retired, in 1920, Mlle. Zambelli took over the 'classe de perfectionnement' which she taught strictly in accordance with the principles that she had herself learnt at Milan. As a result, the French ballet went forward under the influence of the Italian School, thus moving ever-farther away from the old French style, as it had been taught by Auguste Vestris... (etc.)"
That does tend to explain certain things.
Otherwise, may I be allowed to quote a few further lines from Mr. Guest's history:
"in late 1894, for the 1000th performance of 'Faust', the name of Carlotta Zambellli appeared on the Opera's playbill for the first time...On the retirement from the stage of Rosita Mauri in 1898, she became étoile...Over the years, Mlle. Zambelli ... became one of the leading figures of the French stage, in a style that no dancer had embodied since the Romantic period. Leading an extremely modest personal existence, utterly devoted to her art, she won respect not only for herself, but for the dance (...) In 1901, a trip to Saint Petersburg raised her status still further, and the terms were most advantageous, but loyalty to the Opera led her to decline that offer, a decision all the more remarkable, when one contemplates the Slough of Despond into which the ballet was then plunged... "
Might I ask a question of persons, perhaps in England or Italy, who may chance to read this thread, and who are familiar with the work of Enrico Cecchetti ?
Karsavina and Pavlova were his students, and they had épaulement. I have recently seen several Italian dancers who were trained up by professors in that country, who say they work on his method, and they have épaulement. Zambelli as we have seen, had no épaulement.
Are there two currents of thought in Italian teaching, one represented by Cecchetti (épaulement), the other, represented by whoever it was who developed Legnani, Mauri and Zambelli ?
Never having had the opportunity of watching Cecchetti classes, I would be most grateful for any comments in this respect.