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Cecchetti and friends


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#1 Jane Simpson

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Posted 06 February 2003 - 08:21 AM

I came across this photograph in a magazine I bought in a second-hand shop yesterday, and it shows such a galaxy of talent I thought it was worth putting it up.

According to the accompanying text, it shows Cecchetti and the twelve members of the jury after the final examinations at the La Scala ballet school in 1928 - just a few months before Cecchetti died. The others in the photograph are:

Carlotta Zambelli
Pierina Legnani*
Virginia Zucchi
Anna Pavlova
Cia Fornaroli
Ettorina Mazzuchelli
Cecilia Cerri
Rosetta Mascagno
Rosina Galli
Rosa Piovella
Giuseppe Cecchetti
Vincenzo Celli

*either this is a mistake or the picture is misdated, as Legnani died in 1923!

I guess Pavlova is the fourth from the left - any guesses which might be Zambelli and Zucchi?

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#2 Alexandra

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Posted 06 February 2003 - 09:22 AM

Not a clue, I'm afraid -- but I did forward this to a colleague who may (although he's not quite old enough to have been at that gathering). I also have to confess ignorance of many of the Italian names. Are they all dancers, do you know? (I'll try to do a search later if no one does.)

Thank you for posting this, Jane. It's a lovely photo. I want the hats!

#3 Jane Simpson

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Posted 06 February 2003 - 09:37 AM

Cia Fornaroli (1888-1954) was one of Cecchetti's favourite pupils. She was the principal dancer at the Met. Op. in NY just before WW1, and was the prima ballerina at La Scala from 1934.

Rosina Galli also danced at the Met.Op and was its ballet mistress from 1919 to 1935.

Rosa Piovella appears on the NYPL index as Rosa Piovella Ansaldo but it doesn't give much idea of what she did.

Vinvenzo Celli was one of Cecchetti's last pupils, and later had a studio in NY for a long time - Maria Tallchief was one of his pupils. Koegler rather tartly says 'Considers himself the American authority on the Cecchetti method'. He died in 1988 (I think).

#4 Mel Johnson

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Posted 06 February 2003 - 04:30 PM

Jane, are you sure about Legnani dying in 1923? I have November 15, 1930 for her date of death.

#5 Alexandra

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Posted 06 February 2003 - 04:42 PM

Koegler (Oxford Dictionary of Ballet) has it 1923. Where did you find 1930, Mel?

#6 Mel Johnson

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Posted 06 February 2003 - 04:51 PM

Cohen, et al. (There's that damn Al again) International Encyclopedia of Dance, V. 4, p.145.

#7 Alexandra

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Posted 06 February 2003 - 05:15 PM

A quick web search shows everyone (except a certain Ballet Alert!) giving 1923. But "everyone" is mostly personal web pages, and they may have all picked that up from Koegler, which came out in 1980, I believe. Chujoy (Dance Encyclopedia) and Wiley (Tchaikovsky's Ballets) also give 1923 though. Chujoy was probably there, and I'd trust Wiley to check more than one source.

Unfortunately, Cohen and Al aren't pristine. Find the correct information in the Volkova entry, for instance. But then, I've been told that Koegler has a date or two off as well.

#8 Mel Johnson

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Posted 06 February 2003 - 05:28 PM

According to Cohen, she continued to sit on the La Scala Ballet School Examination Board until July 1930. If she passed away in 1923, those examinations must have been more unsettling than most - sort of like wheeling out Jeremy Bentham every year at the London School of Economics board meeting!

#9 Alexandra

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Posted 06 February 2003 - 05:40 PM

Yes, of course, but then that date would have to be right too. This is getting interesting. A colleague of mine checked the "authority terms" at the Dance Collection and they also list the death date as 1923. I haven't tried the LaScala archives (hint hint).....

Editing to add that Dick Andros's page has Virginia Zucchi dying in 1930, and being on the examinations panel at La Scala until her death.

Obviously one of the dates is in error, and, as often happens, many people have picked up the original error and repeated it. Whicih one remains the question :)

#10 Mel Johnson

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Posted 06 February 2003 - 06:33 PM

Unfortunately, the La Scala Opera and Ballet Archives only go back to 1949.:) If my date is wrong, then I've got to confirm a good DOD and we have to change the Legnani bio on the Swan Lake page.

#11 Alexandra

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Posted 06 February 2003 - 06:59 PM

On the other hand -- realizing that speculation is ridiculous, because somewhere, probably in Italy, there is an Answer to this, we have a photograph dated 1928. Let's wait for Jane to come in in the morning -- which, for her, is only a few hours.

#12 Mel Johnson

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Posted 06 February 2003 - 07:14 PM

Good idea!:)

#13 Alexandra

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Posted 06 February 2003 - 09:42 PM

A helpful colleague sent me these, from [Friedrichs Ballett-lexicon 1972]

Virginia Zucchi: Parma 1847 -- Monte Carlo 1930
Pierina Legnani: 1863 --1923 .
Carlotta Brianza: Milan 1867 -- Paris 1930
Carlotta Zambelli: Milan 1877 -- Milan 1968
Irene Sironi: Milan 1873 -- Como 1961(?) Luigia Cerale: near Turin 1859 -- Vienna 1937
Caecilie Cerri: Turin 1872 -- Vienna 1931

#14 katharine kanter

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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.

#15 Mel Johnson

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Posted 07 February 2003 - 04:35 AM

While we're on Italian ballerinas, anybody have a line on Antonietta dell'Era? Nobody seems to be sure when or where she died. And here she was, the original Sugar Plum Fairy.


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