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silvy

Le Corsaire

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I was wondering why in every new staging of the ballet I come across the ballerina's variation for the pas de deux is the quick one (the one with the turns), instead of the "slow" one (the one danced by Margot Fonteyn with Nureyev, for instance). Would you say that Fonteyn's version is somehow "dated"?

Because I happen to love that slow version - I think it is so lyrical!!!

What do you think?

silvy

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The variation Fonteyn dances in the film with Nureyev is not the real Corsaire variation; it is the Queen of the Dryad's variation from the Dream scene of Don Quixote.

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Yes, I have seen it danced both as Medora and as Queen of Dryads (I have enquired about this in another forum). But, which one came first? I mean, is anyone able to tell which one is the REAL one?

I have seen variations from one ballet appearing in another: for instance Cupid's in Don Q in Paquita -again, which one is the real one?

I have also seen in Corsaire (as Medora) the variation one normally sees as danced by Gamzatti in Bayadere (the wedding act).

silvy

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Good questions -- I'm not sure we know which is the real one for Corsaire, but the Fonteyn variation is definitely Queen of the Dryads, meaning it was originally in "Don Quixote". Nureyev substituted the Dryad Fairy variation when he staged the pas de deux for Fonteyn because he thought it suited her better -- she had beautiful developes. (This was the custom for centuries; that's why they call them "variations" :) A ballerina had a repertory of variations that suited her, and she popped them in wherever she needed a ... variation.)

It seems to be a custom that if you're dancing the Dryad variation, you wear a blue tutu for corsaire. If you're dancing the "Corsaire" variation, you wear a red one. That's what I've seen anyway; I don't mean to suggest a rule.

I believe the Amor variation in "Don Q" is originally from Paquita -- but I'm on shaky ground here. If anyone knows differently, please correct me. I think I remember that when Baryshnikov staged Don Q, he mentioned that he'd taken that variation -- both are to Minkus -- beause he liked it and wanted to make the role of Amor (usually danced by a child) more meaty.

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It's a good question, but the original ballet "Paquita" doesn't contain this Grand Pas in itself. What seems to have happened is that this ballet is cobbled together like a sort of vaudeville of Your Favorite Variations from Everything. The entrée and pas de deux set the tone of things by being Minkus, but the rest can be by Delibes, Pugni, or in the case of at least the entrée of the pas de trois, Deldevez, the original composer of the ballet. Like Giselle, everything in the work, if not by Petipa himself, comes down to us through a Petipa filter.

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Re Amor (Cupid) and Paquita: I have seen a video version of Kiev ballet in which Cupid dances this same variation (I mean, it was not only Baryshnikov who did it, anyway). Also the Kirov (the one starring Terekhova and Ruzimatov)

Re Medora: thank you Alexandra for clarifying the issue about the colour of tutus. However, I have also seen Medora danced in a white tunic, with all sorts of choreography (the quick one, the slow one AND a variation one normally sees danced in Paquita - I saw this last one staged by Laura Alonso's team in a course of the Cuban School of Ballet I took in 1991 in Buenos Aires) - what about issue of the tunic then? Anyone knows why is this?

thanks

silvy:)

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I've seen Corsaire danced in all kinds of colors, but never in red. Sometimes it is danced in a long dress, sometimes in a tutu with long sleeves, and I've even seen it danced in a pink and blue tutu with pink scarves similar to those worn by the Shades in La Bayadere!

If Petipa meant the variation sometimes danced by Cupid in Don Quixote to be for Cupid, he apparently forgot (or chose to ignore) that Cupid is male.

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Currently, I believe Mariinsky Theatre is dancing the Amor variation from Paquita in a tutu and when it is danced in Don Q a tunic is used. I am still researching whether the variation was used in Paquita or Don Q first, but Koegler has Paquita being staged by Petipa first in 1847. The Grand Pas and the pas de Trois was added in 1881. Don Q was first done in 1869 (Bolshoi) and in St. Petersburg additional choreography and music was added 1871. Looks like a toss up to me! I will keep checking though!

As for the gender confusion for Cupid/Amor...well, maybe it is from a different fairy tale or myth? Interesting observation for sure.

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Cupid/Eros is a sort of androgynous sort of god who is the son of Venus/Aphrodite. He's usually portrayed as about a 12-year-old boy in period statuary and surviving paintings and mosiacs. The little putti (misnamed cherubs) are minor household gods like Lares and Penates, and the Divi, but nobody quite knows where they come from.

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Interesting observations and clarifications!!

With relation to the chorography of the variation itself, it it worth noting that there are stylistic differences (I mean the arms are different) when it is Paquita from when it is Don Q, though the steps themselves may be the same. For instance, Paquita uses hands on waist which are DEFINITELY NOT for Cupid. And Cupid uses that sort of hand-on-chin thing (if you know what I mean) - like in sculpture.

silvy

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going back to the craziness of variations from one ballet danced in another, I was very surprised to see Julie Kent in Corsaire (Jardin Animee scene) dancing to the music of a variation I have it as one of the soloists in the grand pas from Don Q!!!

silvy

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That surprised me, too, especially as there is a perfectly good variation for Medora in that scene that would have suited Kent fine. Of course, it is kind of short, and it isn't that well known in the US, so maybe they wanted something more substantial for her to dance.

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Hans

Regarding Kent, maybe what you are saying is the key to this (meaning that they were wanting to give her more to dance). However, from a spectator's point of view, I dont see the need for this,since hers is the main female role and she has a beautiful pas de TROIS to dance, plus a demanding variation and a dazzling coda

Besides, I also noted that the choreography of Kent's solo in Jardin Animee is different from the one I learnt from Don Q (for instance, she does not do the sequence of ronds de jambe en l'air sur pointe - she does a diagonal travelling back with waltz steps followed by a la seconde pirouette). Also on the diagonal where there are assemble-pirouette, she does saut the chat (or jete passe). I happen to know the variation well because I have danced it, and I love it!!!

silvy

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I agree, Silvy--and in fact, Medora's Jardin Animé variation is not exactly easy even though it is short. I noticed the choreographic changes as well. Maybe it was "Le Corsaire" choreography, kind of the way there are "Cupid" arms and "Spanish" arms for that variation in Paquita ;).

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Oh, then it makes sense as another bit of craziness in the ballet world!!!!!

:D

silvy

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I have only just come across this extremely helpful and interesting thread, which addresses things that have always bothered me a bit. Mel is absolutely right about the Paquita grand pas being a sort of gallimaufry. In my Kirov tape one of the variations is to music by Tcherepnin (Le Pavillon d'Armide), and therefore cannot have been written by Petipa at all, but rather by somebody highly skilled (Lopokov, perhaps) who had mastered Petipa pastiche.

The "correct" variation for Medora in the Corsaire pas de deux is almost certainly a polka by Drigo (you can see it in the Kirov tape danced by Altinai A...--daren't try to spell her name!). It dates from Petipa's 1899 insert, and was also always used by Samsova. The music of a later vintage than the Queen of the Dryads valse, and fits better with its Drigo matrix than Nureyev's substitution. I am not wholly sure if the QD variation is by Minkus. Something about the melodic progression tells me it mightn't be. On the other hand, the music for Amor almost certainly is. It doesn't feature in the 1869 score of Don Q, so it must have been inserted at a later date. Since the revival of Paquita that saw the birth of the Grand Pas was made in 1881 and the St Petersburg version of DQ dates from 1871, there is good a priori evidence for its having first appeared in Don Q, when Petipa had to beef up the very brief Act IV of the Moscow text.

Silvy, I wonder if the fact that Amor uses the chin-propped-on-finger motif of La Sylphide is meant to suggest that, like her, he is a spirit of disruption.

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Does anyone know which dance the "Greek Dance" is in Le Corsaire? If so, is it in ABT's version, or is it just in the Kirov version? Thanks!! :D

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ok...I feel kind of stupid asking this, but i guess thats ok. I am not all that familiar with Le Corsaire, but once we learned a variation from it in class. I watched a tape of ABT doing it, (Julie Kent was in the main role so I presume this is the version you are talking about) and the variation we learned was not in it. (sorry for sounding so uneducated in this post... :helpsmilie: ) Could the variation I learned possibly have been the Dryad variation? Can someone give me a quick idea of the coreography? I am just really curious...

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I have a question about Corsaire as well. In the Pas d'Esclave is it more popular today to have the female in a tutu or in pants? Which is the traditional costuming? Thank you.

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She took no chances. In the original 1877 production, if that number were in that production, she would have been wearing both! Tutus in those days were only just coming out of the era when "precautionary drawers" were de rigeur. To make them "harem pants" would have been no great difficulty.

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She took no chances.  In the original 1877 production, if that number were in that production, she would have been wearing both!  Tutus in those days were only just coming out of the era when "precautionary drawers" were de rigeur.  To make them "harem pants" would have been no great difficulty.

Could somepne please tell me what this balett it´s about?

I´ve rent it on dvd and i can´t find any information on what´s it about? :wink:

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The variation (in polka time) that turns up in all of the ''new'' productions of ''Le Corsaire" is the real variation that Riccardo Drigo composed for the pas de deux. This is danced by Altynai Asslymoratova in the Kirov film of the full-length "Le Corsaire", as well as Julie Kent in ABT film. (Riccardo Drigo created the 'Pas de Deux a Trois' (which later became a just a pas de deux in Soviet times) in 1899 for Pierina Legnani, as she was dancing Medora for Petipa's last revival fo the ballet.

I am having DAY-JA-VOO (spelling??) as this topic has come up many times.

That variation (in triple time - violin solo) that Fonteyn danced when performing the pas with Nureyev is by the composer Anton Simon. That variation was added into "Don Quixote" by Alexander Gorsky for his 1900 re-staging of Petipa's "Don Quixote" (which was subsequently staged at the Mariinksy in 1902, much to Petipa's chagrin).

Everyone that was taught this Anton Simon variation as true, real "Le Corsaire" pas de deux variation for the female", was learning it from a teacher who learned the pas as it was staged by Nureyev.

When I was at a Summer camp at the Rock school about 7 years ago, a ballerina conducting variations class taught us the 'Fonteyn Corsaire variation'...... I got into a heated argument with her about the variation's orgins, with her telling me that Fonteyn's variation was written by Drigo, etc. and that Nureyev staged it, etc. (the part about Nureyev was the only part she had right) - she was even more P.O.ed because here was this 17 year old smart a** kid telling HER about ballet history. Well, me an her ended up betting 20$ on it, and one of the other teachers that was there, from the Kirov (forgot his name) told her I was right....so I got my 20$ ! For the rest of the time I was there, any variation she taught us she asked me all about.

I think the pants in the Pas d'Esclave on the ballerina is from the 1992 Sergeyev/Bolshoi staging......as a tutu is traditional.

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