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Jane Simpson

Markova/Dolin 1951 Giselle on ENB's YouTube

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English National Ballet has just put a full recording of the 1951 film of Anton Dolin's production of Giselle on its YouTube channel - it's a cut down version - about 30 minutes - but I don't think we've ever seen this much of Markova's Giselle before.

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Oh my -- Giselle has certainly been in the air recently.

 

I love the certificate from the British Board of Film Censors.  "Giselle has been passed for general exhibition"

Edited by sandik

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Wow, wow, wow...THANKS  A LOT  for this little jewel, Jane!!. I have been wanting to see this for a long time...ever since my interest for this ballet aroused after listening to the countless references made by Alonso of her idol.  I could see MANY choreographic references of the Cuban version to this video-(which is severely cut, although the main dancing parts are pretty much intact).  It is interesting to note that the version that is being danced right now in Havana was staged by Dolin in the 60's, which substituted the older 1950's done by Mary Skeaping-(and with it we also lost Skeaping's staging of the Fugue of the Willis).  When one think that both Dolin and Markova came to this ballet via pivotal cornerstones of it during the 30's-(Markova via Sergueev and his notations and Dolin being taught the role by Sppesivtzeva)- it is clear that we might bee seeing here stuff that is closer to the Imperial version that what we have come to know, which I think is pretty much what Nureyev and Baryshnikov rooted later on.  For instance...I remember an interview in which Dolin says that the lifts in the adagio were not part of the standards back then, or the famous Sppesivtseva coda of pirouettes now almost defunct in most companies.  And then...TALK ABOUT FAST CHAINEE TURNS!!  Oh my...they look SO beautiful the way she does them...so close and fast. Another detail missing from today's stagings, and here present, is during the Initiation scene, when Giselle completes the series of grand pirouettes and goes into a fast triple spinning.  Nowadays ballerinas do them in demi pointe, whereas Markova does them in full pointe. Wonderful.  I could go on and on with the little details.  I just LOVE Giselle.

 

Thanks again Jane for the heads up!!!

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ENB have released the film as part of the publicity for their current run of Mary Skeaping's version, which is gaining wonderful reviews, by the way, and has some amazing casts, including Cojocaru and Rojo as Giselle (Rojo wasn't going to do it but they have a lot of injuries in the company so she changed her mind). There's more detail about the film here .

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What a shame that we don't get to see any of Myrtha's choreo though...?. And how about that ripping of the necklace?!?! That was VIOLENT, man!!  ? I think I have only seen a similar sequence in that video of Osipova when her necklace got tangled in her hair and she ripped the whole thing apart.

Edited by cubanmiamiboy

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Thanks for the Bandwagon clip, Mme Hermine., always fun to watch.

 

Freddie Young, the cameraman for Giselle, had a long distinguished career: Goodbye Mr Chips, Caesar & Cleopatra (Vivien Leigh's), Mogambo, Island in the Sun, Lawrence of Arabia, Dr Zhivago.

 

Looks like the top 15% of the frame has been cut off, so there's less headroom than originally composed for. Strangely compacted version of Giselle, you do have to make adjustments to read it, but fascinating.

 

 

Edited by Quiggin

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Re Bandwagon clip.  I'm a sucker for those "out of town tryout" montages, especially as here, where we look at the program to see which number they're showing.  I love trying to read the other text -- in this case there's some kind of clothing advertised "exquisitely designed . . . correctly priced."
  And then the Aladdin, "before or after the show," serving mountain trout, cracked crab, and baby lobster.

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2 hours ago, cubanmiamiboy said:

And how about that ripping of the necklace?!?! That was VIOLENT, man!!  ? I think I have only seen a similar sequence in that video of Osipova when her necklace got tangled in her hair and she ripped the whole thing apart.

 

Ekaterina Krysanova rips her necklace to pieces pretty routinely. Mind you, that Virsaladze necklace is pretty flimsy, but even so, I think it's least likely to survive a Krysanova mad scene. 

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19 hours ago, cubanmiamiboy said:

Another detail missing from today's stagings, and here present, is during the Initiation scene, when Giselle completes the series of grand pirouettes and goes into a fast triple spinning.  Nowadays ballerinas do them in demi pointe, whereas Markova does them in full pointe.

 

I'm not sure exactly what you mean, because it seems to me Markova did these on demi-pointe. Unfortunately the camera didn't capture all of her feet, but at certain moments you can see her flexed toes. But again, I would mention that Krysanova and pretty much all her Bolshoi colleagues do this on full pointe, although they don't "spin" exactly the same way Markova did. In the most recent film by the Royal Ballet Marianela Nuñez finished the sequence by turning on pointe.

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1 hour ago, volcanohunter said:

 

Ekaterina Krysanova rips her necklace to pieces pretty routinely. Mind you, that Virsaladze necklace is pretty flimsy, but even so, I think it's least likely to survive a Krysanova mad scene. 

 

I love it the way Markova does it...which reveals real FURY-(an interesting depart for the usual goody goody Giselle). Too many Giselles just go for plain abandon at taking it out and droping it on the floor.

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1 hour ago, volcanohunter said:

 

I'm not sure exactly what you mean, because it seems to me Markova did these on demi-pointe. Unfortunately the camera didn't capture all of her feet, but at certain moments you can see her flexed toes. But again, I would mention that Krysanova and pretty much all her Bolshoi colleagues do this on full pointe, although they don't "spin" exactly the same way Markova did. In the most recent film by the Royal Ballet Marianela Nuñez finished the sequence by turning on pointe.

 

I will have to go back to it, although I almost swear I saw her on pointe-(I might be wrong though). Even though II still much prefer the more difficult approach of double tour en dehors in attitude that Cubans do-(which is also briefly seen in the rehearsal sequence of this scene done by the Russian ballerina on "The Red Shoes"). Edited: I just saw it again...and yes...the camera cuts parts of the spinning feet although I am almost sure they were raised on pointe.

Edited by cubanmiamiboy

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1 hour ago, cubanmiamiboy said:

 

I will have to go back to it, although I almost swear I saw her on pointe-(I might be wrong though). Even though II still much prefer the more difficult approach of double tour en dehors in attitude that Cubans do-(which is also briefly seen in the rehearsal sequence of this scene done by the Russian ballerina on "The Red Shoes"). Edited: I just saw it again...and yes...the camera cuts parts of the spinning feet although I am almost sure they were raised on pointe.

 

Take another look at Markova. I think you'll see from the angle of her ankles that she's not on pointe, bearing in mind that a hard shank makes to difficult to rise onto a high demi-pointe. That she's not on pointe during that spin doesn't make it any less beautiful.

 

We'll have to disagree about the Cuban version because it strikes me as unwarranted pyrotechnics. The way I see it, any Giselle who inspires whoops from the audience has failed in her duties to the ballet.

Edited by volcanohunter

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33 minutes ago, volcanohunter said:

 

We'll have to disagree about the Cuban version because it strikes me as unwarranted pyrotechnics. The way I see it, any Giselle who inspires whoops from the audience has failed in her duties to the ballet.

 

The "whoops" are certainly characteristic of Cuban audiences. We are loud, and we also whistle, scream and "Yeaaah's" our dancers. Guilty of it, I confess-(oh...how do I miss it). The same sequence with the same steps done by the same company could be then appreciated, let's say, at the Garnier, and due to the more than likely fact that you won't see a similar response from the French you might find that, indeed, there is beauty on it. ?.

Edited by cubanmiamiboy

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Something of that audience reaction can be experienced at an Ailey show. I remember a fairly recent show at which a woman sitting directly in front of me reacted to the performance of Matthew Rushing (the greatest male dancer in America, in my opinion) with the words "work it, Matthew, work it!" She didn't whoop or holler, and she said it at normal conversational volume--it wasn't as though she wanted him to hear it--but I didn't object because it didn't interfere with the mood of the piece, and the music was very loud, so she didn't interefere with that either. But I would take a very dim view of that sort of interjection during the second act of Giselle or the lakeside scenes of Swan Lake, not least because I want to hear the music.

 

What really makes me really crazy is the reaction of Russian audiences during the "Kingdom of the Shades," when the dancing is constantly interrupted by cheers and applause. It is a vision of the afterlife, and audiences in the United States, France or Japan tend to approach the scene very reverently. The noisy reaction of Russian audiences leads me to conclude that they're just missing the point. By all means, applaud the corps loud and long once their entrance and opening dance is finished, but don't make a racket in the middle of it! 

 

I don't like virtuosic interpolations. I love going to the ballet, but have no interest in the circus. I'm pretty sure if I saw a Giselle "gilding the lily" in Paris, I'd be very disappointed that she'd opted for tricks. I can recall experiences of dancers choosing to show off at the expense of the style, the choreography or, worst of all, a partner, and when it happens their stock drops about 75% in my eyes on the spot and usually doesn't recover.

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7 hours ago, volcanohunter said:

The noisy reaction of Russian audiences leads me to conclude that they're just missing the point.

 

"Your" point might not be "their" point. I guess that to each its own, and I can tell you that such performances are very much enjoyed by their audiences.  In Cuba the Mad and death scene in Giselle are a tight comunion in between dancers and audience. The more dramatic and intense Giselle and her peers make this scene, the more the audience gets worked up, and viceversa...and that usually spirals upper and upper to the point of madness in the whole house...on and offstage. The first time I saw the tepid reaccion during my first Giselle in US I left very dissapointed. I truly miss the excitement and craziness of all that. ?

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16 hours ago, cubanmiamiboy said:

 

"Your" point might not be "their" point. I guess that to each its own, and I can tell you that such performances are very much enjoyed by their audiences.  In Cuba the Mad and death scene in Giselle are a tight comunion in between dancers and audience. The more dramatic and intense Giselle and her peers make this scene, the more the audience gets worked up, and viceversa...and that usually spirals upper and upper to the point of madness in the whole house...on and offstage. The first time I saw the tepid reaccion during my first Giselle in US I left very dissapointed. I truly miss the excitement and craziness of all that. ?

 

This performance greatly exemplifies my point. (I was there..btw...it was 1991, Alonso was 71 at the time and was still dancing the role). I guess it is difficult to understand for someone unfamiliar with it the electrifying feeling of a packed house full of screaming ballet fans-(90% of them youngsters). One thing I can assure. As I said...it was palpable that the dancers onstage did feed themselves from such offstage performance, and they would try to keep the emotions on full range. The excitement of those ballet viewing days has been unparalleled later on.

Edited by cubanmiamiboy

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