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  1. Anne Searcy has written a new book about the Soviet and American tours during the Cold War and the various perceptions in both countries: https://global.oup.com/academic/product/ballet-in-the-cold-war-9780190945107?cc=us&lang=en&
  2. I'm so sorry I didn't know she lived in Washington state, so near to where I live as well as lots of former Balanchine dancers.
  3. There will be pre-show talks before each performance, including tonight. But no post-show tonight or after Sunday, February 9 evening.
  4. The only difference was new designs in 2014. No direct mention of Berthe’s status within the community. Giselle wants to dance and wants her friends to put off work to dance with her. Then Giselle goes into the house with Berthe, and we aren’t given a reason why she doesn’t go and work with the others. (The reason, of course, is that she needs to be around in order to meet Bathilde so the plot can continue.)
  5. The PNB production includes two Act II entrances for groups: Hilarion is the captain of the hunters who are in the woods at the beginning of the act. The Justamant notation suggests this scene has both comedy and pathos. The hunters are a bit like Keystone Cops. Later in the act, after Giselle is initiated, peasants are returning home from a nearby village. They are nearly trapped by the Wilis, who at first appear seductive and then menacing. I believe this scene is the turning point in which we witness the duality of the Wilis (spirits of women communing with nature and spirits of women who kill men). An old man who is with the villagers (he was originally portrayed by a famous comedic actor in Paris) warns them to escape. This latter scene may have been omitted as early as 1848 per Ivor Guest. PNB has included both of the scenes both times the production has been performed (2011 and 2014). I don't think there is any mention of Giselle having a heart condition or being weak in any of the performance source material I've worked with. Her mother worries she will exhaust herself, but there seems to be no compromised health. This change (and the overall weakness and timidity of Giselle) seems to have come around in the 1930s/40s. Still looking into this. The 19th-century Giselle appears to have been strong and possibly somewhat arrogant. She was definitely passionate and reacted very passionately to the realization of Albert's betrayal, so much so that she died.
  6. I’m pleased to announce that Pacific Northwest Ballet and the University of Washington will present a symposium on Giselle on Friday, April 17, 2020. Presenters include Sandra Noll Hammond, Sergey Konaev, Alastair Macaulay, Simon Morrison, Marian Smith, Helena Kopchick Spencer, Roland John Wiley, and me. Adjunct events will be offered on the surrounding days, and Pacific Northwest Ballet will perform Peter Boal’s production of Giselle throughout the weekend. Details can be found here, including a link to a PDF information sheet. - Doug Fullington
  7. Just a note that the Stepanov notations for Bayadere that are held at Harvard don't include any of the action or mime scenes. The Act IV pas d'action coda is also quite short and does not include fouettes for Gamzatti.
  8. Marian Smith writes about this moment in a recent online essay, New Life for Character and Story in Sleeping Beauty, describing the Ratmansky production: "Finally, toward the end of the 'Rose Adagio' and after Aurora has received a new set of roses from the admiring suitors, at the moment of a climactic fortissimo in the side drum and cymbals and a diminished chord—and immediately before she undertakes her last and most difficult set of balances—Aurora joyfully inhales the perfume of the roses and then humbly places them on the floor before her parents. (By contrast, in some productions, without stopping to smell the roses, she flings them toward her parents; the emphasis is on the Princess and her spectacular choreography, excluding the filial respect and tenderness that Ratmansky has chosen to include.)" http://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199935321.001.0001/oxfordhb-9780199935321-e-172
  9. Francia Russell staged Apollo at the Kirov/Maryinsky in 1998. I very much doubt she would have coached the muses to smile. I think she'd die if she knew that had been pinned on her.
  10. The October 23 session is moving to October 9.
  11. Thanks, Laurent. All of these explanations about Marie Petipa make sense and answer my questions. Yes, I am referring to the staged studio photographs of Corsaire held by the Theatre Museum in St. Petersburg. Thanks also for the Sleeping Beauty citation.
  12. Sorry not to have been on for a week. I guess I must stand corrected regarding my assumption that Marie Petipa performed the role of Medora because indeed the Yearbooks do not list her performing Medora in the years listed by Laurent, or thereafter, from what I can see. I wonder why the numerous studio photographs of Marie Petipa as Medora with Sergei Legat as Conrad in the grotto scene of the ballet. (I used the term second cast meaning secondary to Legnani/Gerdt based on the photos of Marie Petipa and Sergei Legat that are similar to the studio photos of Legnani and Gerdt in Corsaire.) Any ideas or avenues for research? For what it's worth, Marie Petipa is listed in the Yearbooks for 1900-1901 as dancing the title role in Paquita once that season. She was photographed with Sergei Legat as Lucien in numerous scenes from the second scene of Paquita. As for the Lilac Fairy variation, two notated versions are preserved in the Sergeev Collection. One is marked M. Petipa and the other (more difficult technically) is without a dancer name. I have not worked on the second of the two variations. If anyone has citations to confirm the history and chronology of the Lilac variation (when it was or wasn't danced and which version/variation), I am interested.
  13. A lot of assumptions here about Maria Petipa, late 19th-century pointe work in St. Petersburg, and the Lilac Fairy choreography. I cannot confirm that the notated Lilac Fairy variation represents the 1890 premiere choreography, though I would guess that it does. The notation system wasn't developed until 1892/3. Marie danced the leads in Paquita and Corsaire with Sergei Legat (in Corsaire, they were "second" cast to Legnani and Gerdt in 1899) at the turn of the century and was photographed in pointe shoes in conjunction with those productions. Would pointe work have been abandoned for her performances? My guess is no. The notated pointe work in both Paquita and Corsaire is not strenuous. I'm interested in the evidence that the Lilac variation was dropped in the early years of Beauty. My familiarity with Petersburg press accounts is in no way thorough, but many accounts do not comment on all dances in a ballet. The prologue variations come early in Beauty. They are all quite short and they are not the bring-house-down type. I'll say again that I think the Lilac Fairy variation that bears Marie's name is beautiful and suits the character. Based on what we know about Petipa's approach to choreography and subsequent changes of casts, I agree that he would have choreographed something different for another dancer.
  14. Marie Petipa gets a pretty bum rap in Soviet-era writing about the Imperial Ballet. All evidence (photographic and notational) indicates she danced on pointe in the Beauty prologue. The notated Lilac Fairy variation that bears her name includes simple pointe work compared to the other five fairy variations. (I think it is a most beautiful variation.) She also danced the lead in Paquita and Medora in Corsaire, among other ballerina roles, and she was photographed in pointe shoes many times. Contemporary accounts agree that she was an excellent character dancer and a weaker classical dancer. They also agree that she had lots of brio and appeal. Plenty of roles featured changes of shoes between acts. Henriette and Clemence danced in heels in act one of Raymonda and swapped them for pointe shoes in act two.
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