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RG, I hope you won't think me very Henry MacKenzie-ish when I tell you that I am typing this reply with tears in my eyes. I really can't explain them--gratitude to you, relief after years of uncertainty, joy at final eclaircissement. Oh my prophetic soul. I KNEW the Dryad queen var wasn't by Minkus, and, after spending the better part of a morning dissecting my wobbly reconstruction and conferring with Gwendolen all the while, I am at last vindicated. Now all I must do is find out about Anton Simon and all the other petits maitres you list for DQ. Perhaps the new Grove JUST might have one or two entries to meet my inquisitiveness. I was also convinced that Kitri's E flat variation owed something to Aurora's entree, and this clearly must be so if il Riccardo ottonato (no goldens for HIM, in my book!) wrote it.

THANK YOU!!!! (exclamation marks to the power of n recurring)

PS Does the Bolshoi do a Paquita that conforms to your list, and if so, is it on tape? I am bursting with curiosity, most especially with regard to the Petipa Sylfida. Does anything remain of this beyond the var listed there?

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I have just gone back to your entry to make notes, and see that Drigo wrote a variation for Kitri in Act TWO, not V. What variation is this? The waltz in G that serves as her entree is def by Minkus. Is there an insert I'm not familiar with? And I see that Gorsky did the chor for an Act IV variation--is that Act V or really Act IV, because she doesn't do one in the Kirov IV (I think). And, if it is Act V, does that mean the pas de cheval var we in the west attribute to Obokov is in fact by Gorsky? Really!!! Studying ballet history is like doing a white jigsaw puzzle!

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Are you serious, Mel?! :flowers:

I was making that suggestion with my tongue only partially in my cheek. Let me get all Ecclesiastesical, and observe that there is a time for analysis and a time for enjoyment. And sometimes they run together - for some, and I'm one, the analysis is part of the enjoyment, and this thread has been very intellectually useful and enjoyable at the same time. Sherlock Holmes could have analyzed the bejeezus out of his violin music, but he chose to enjoy it. So, whatever floats your boat.

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Paul, I am so sorry. In my excitement over all the information that RG supplied, I discourteously forgot to acknowledge your interesting post on R&L. In fact it's an opera I know well, for most earnest Tchaikovskians (and I aspire to be one) make an effort to study Glinka after the master's famous pronouncement: "Kamarinskaya is the acorn from which the oak of Russian music sprang." To which Constant Lambert snootily and most inaccurately retorted, "The acorn from which larger and more gilded acorns sprang"!!! I have A Life for the Tsar on vinyl (observe that I don't use the Soviet title--not to make a political statement, but to be historically exact!), the Bolshoi R&L and the Trio pathetique on CD, and the Jota A, Valse-F and K on audiotape. I also started collecting the Bis complete edition of the piano music, but it proved to be so trashy that I stopped after vol 3. Strange that I can watch a ballerina turn fouettes for hours on end, but get very bored if pianists splash me with substanceless roulades for longer than a few minutes.

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rg, thanks for having taken the time to disentangle the net!

Now I would like to identify the variation as danced by Yulia Makhalina in the Kirov video version. Who is the author of the music? This same variation is danced by Cyntia Gregory in the ABT video version (staging by Makarova, in the eighties)



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you are tooooo kind, silvy, but truly i cannot say that i've untangled ANY net, and can say that i may well have tangled some further, however, the info. i posted is info. in my files and for those who understand music better than i do - you could hardly understand it less! - i offered it w/ all good intentions.

i suspect that given the musical and choreograhic acumen of others on this site, there might be some feedback for your query regarding these variations on tape.

i suppose that RSE has found it, but if not keep looking, as the same press kit that offered the credits for vasiliev's DonQ offered a little bio of a.simon from grove.

(this same composer is connected to gorsky's version of 'esmeralda' called 'gudule's daughter' or as follows:

Esmeralda Original title: Doch' Guduly. Chor: Aleksandr Gorski; mus: Anton Simon; lib: Gorski after Victor Hugo; scen & cos: Konstantin Korovin. First perf: Moscow, Bolshoi Theater, Nov 24, 1902 (O.S.)

if mem. serves, the bolshoi brought a Paquita to new york state theater in 1990 i THINK i wrote about that season but can't rem. where at the moment. if i find i've got any cogent notes on the season and any paquita perf. i'll let you know.

i've never heard of any anatole(?) oboukhov credit for some staging in the west, tho' i'm not saying i shouldn't have so heard, but what vari. is credited to him?

as for the acts of DonQ they are one of russian/soviet ballets many variables. note how/where the tavern scene is placed in this or that staging of DonQ: sometimes before the dream scene sometimes after...

ah yes, RSE, the 'wonders' of divining dance history hither and yon...

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Sylvie, RG is much too modest for his own good. He knows more about untangling nets than Vulcan himself, or whoever it was that threw one round Venus and Mars! No, I haven't found the composer of the Kirov Paquita prima ballerina var--though it's almost certainly 1920--1935, which means somebody like Gliere (though it's too bad for Gliere, I think) or A Krein. I hope RG will continue to search his kits and other magic sources and see if he can find it. I hadn't realized that Simon wrote the music for Gudule's Daughter, Gorsky's so- called mimodrama that marked the ne plus ultra of Fokinism in the Soviet school. It was then, in all probability, that Lopokov made the pronouncement that Hans uses in his signature. If Gorsky had been allowed to continue, the whole danse d'ecole would have come crashing to the ground. I rather stupidly thought that he had stuck with Pugni for his mimodrama, since he had stuck with Minkus for his pyjama suit Bayadere.

RG, so far as I know, Obokov (forgive my transliteration, but I have decided to take Lopokova as my template, and be as crude and simple as I can when it comes to Russian names) was the first to stage the DQ pas de deux in the west, and since nobody seems to know where Kitri's var, often called "the fan," with a famous concluding diagonale of pas de cheval sur les pointes, I assumed he had choreographed it. But Mel sayd he has seen the Kirov do this as an alternative to the waltz with the turned forward assembles that Kitri executes in my Kirov tape--so I am beginning to wonder if it isn't perhaps a Gorsky offering. Does your tape of variations in practice clothes confirm this, and what accreditation does it give for the music?

And, finally--I'm not sure if I should post this here or start a new thread, but Hans's remarks about entrechats have set me thinking. Are there any loci classici in the C19 rep in which multiple entrechats are required of a danseuse? I can't think of any, whereas for male dancers l'oiseau bleu and Albrecht's Totentanz at once spring to mind. And why is it inconceivable that a female dancer should do entrechats huit? I started ballet at the age of 22 when my hips had developed an incorrigible anti-fifthiness, so I beat my feeble entrechats quatre from the knees rather than the thighs. But why shouldn't a danseuse with a perfect fifth and good elevation not be able to beat even an entrechat dix? Is it a question of stamina? And if Balanchine asked his ballerinas to do doubles sauts de basque, did he ever make equally exacting demands when it came to female batterie? As far as C20 rep goes, I have a mental image of a pas de trois from Andre Prokovsky's Vespri (two men, one woman) in which all three beat entrechats huit in canon to the valse brillante from La primavera. But, having miscounted Makhalina's beats, I am beginning to wonder if they weren't sixes after all. I would be very interested if readers could cite the examples of demanding female batterie that they've encountered in the rep--esp. in the C19 rep, because I keep drawing a blank there.

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ah if only videostreaming were something yrs.trly. could do and that websites could mange...

oh well, some day.

i'll have to dig out my 33 variations tape and try to divine some of the things you mention.

re: the 'fan solo,' do you know the toumanova variant on this solo in 'that's dancing'?

it's worth a look. unless o'course i misunderstand what's meant by the 'fan' variation - and i've been known to misunderstand easier things than this...

re: ANATOLE OBOUKHOFF (acc'd to IED) i have a number of russian postcards of this seemingly memorable dancer. do you know, & i hope you do, david vaughan's heavenly memoir of his beloved teacher at school of american ballet? it's called 'beautifully dance' which one learns from reading d.v. is how the mild-mannered teacher would 'ask' his dance students to dance...

the a.simon info. re: gorsky's 'esmeralda' btw was gained by me at prodding from john-michael - one of balletalert's most devoted and knowledgeable 19-ballet-music members - and which i then found in elizabeth souritz's SOVIET CHOREOGRAPHERS IN THE 1920S; her likely even more specific vol. on gorsky has not alas been translated into english, but i have a copy in russian which i look at longingly and pick thru only haltingly.

in case you don't have d.v's article on a.o. here's the info about it:

Vaughan, David, "Beautifully dance" : Anatole Obukhov.

Ballet review. v. 24, no. 4 (winter 1996), p. 16-32. ill.

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Here I am, lured back to BT when I should be working on Thomas Hood. I am reminded of the French-speaking wife of a colleague whom, many years ago, I met on the steps of a suburban sweet (candy). She had her little boy with her, and said, "Here we are again at the fatal shop," by which I suspect she meant fatal in the "femme fatale" sense. Well, BT is certainly a fatal shop for me!

You are spot on, RG with regard to the "fan" variation which I did see in That's Dancing, but which I had forgotten about. I seem to remember a cobalt blue backcloth and Toumanova very sleek in red and black and brilliantined hair. It went all too fast, and I couldn't very well ask the projectionist to rewind! Arnold Haskell used to call TT the black pearl of the Ballets russes, and she certainly lived up to the name in that footage.

I have seen two interesting posts by John-Michael concerning Giselle's vampiricity and stage shots of the imperial ballet, but nothing in the music threads. Perhaps I can track those down in the archives.

I don't know the DV article (those initials are OK because they sound like deo volente--I didn't dare do the same for Viviana Durante!), but will try to track it down. And since you seem to insist, I will change my transliteration to Obukov, but from henceforth no Hs in my Russian spellings, unless to render the second letter of Tchaikovsky's name. There's just no consistency--some spellings like Oboukov reflecting Fr pr, others, like Tschaikowski, reflecting German. I am just going strike out crudely on my own!

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I would very much like to know if the tape you quote "Classical heritage: Thirty variations from ballets by Russian choreographers" (at the NY PUBLIC LIBRARY) is somewhere available commercially.




1990. 60 min. : sd. color

Co-produced by Soyuzteatr and Sintez. Chief producer: A. Murtazin. Producer/writer: F. Slidovker. Camera: A. Tafel. In Russian with English subtitles.

Issued in conjunction with the Russian-language publication by Soyuzteatr entitled Klassicheskoe nasledie: variatzii iz baletov Russkikh khoreografov (see: *MGTM 90-9614)

SUMMARY: Compilation of variations performed in the studio to piano accompaniment, in practice clothes, as a choreographic record.

CONTENTS: Swan lake: Act II, Odette's variation. Chor: Ivanov. Danced by Tatyana Chernobrovkina. -- Swan lake: Act III, Odile's variation. Chor: Grigorovich. Danced by Galina Shlapina. -- Swan lake: Act III, Odile's variation. Chor: Petipa. Danced by Chernobrovkina. -- Swan lake: Act III, Siegfried's variation. Chor: K. Sergeyev. Danced by Vladimir Malakhov. -- Swan lake: Act III, Siegfried's variation. Chor: Grigorovich. Danced by Malakhov. -- Swan lake: Act I, Pas de trois, male variation. Chor: K. Sergeyev. Danced by Malakhov. -- The sleeping beauty: Act I, Aurora's variation. Chor: Petipa. Danced by Shlapina. -- The sleeping beauty: Prologue, Lilac Fairy's variation. Chor: F. Lopukhov. Danced by Tatyana Yatsenko. -- The sleeping beauty: Act III, Désiré's variation. Chor: Sergeyev. Danced by Malakhov. -- The sleeping beauty: Act III, Bluebird's variation. Chor: Petipa. Danced by Malakhov. -- The nutcracker: Act II, Princess Masha's variation. Chor: Vasily Vainonen. Danced by Ludmila Vasilyeva. -- The nutcracker: Act II, Prince's variation. Chor: Vainonen. Danced by Malakhov. -- The nutcracker: Act II, Marie's variation. Chor: Grigorovich. Danced by Tatyana Paliey. -- The nutcracker: Act II, Prince's variation. Chor: Grigorovich. Danced by Stanislav Isayev. -- Raymonda: Act I, Raymonda's variation with a scarf. Chor: Petipa. Danced by Shlapina. -- Raymonda: Act III, Raymonda's variation. Chor: Petipa. Danced by Susanna Avetisova. -- Chopiniana: Prelude. Chor: Fokin. Danced by Svetlana Tsoy. -- Chopiniana: [Woman's] mazurka. Chor: Fokin. Danced by Olga Ivanova. -- Chopiniana: Waltz. Chor: Fokin. Danced by Ivanova. -- Chopiniana: [Man's] mazurka. Chor: Fokin. Danced by Dmitry Zababurin. -- Don Quixote: Act IV, Kitri's variation. Chor: Petipa. Danced by Paliey. -- Don Quixote: Act IV, Basil's variation. Chor: A. Ermolaev, V. Vasilyev. Danced by Vadim Bondar. -- Don Quixote: Dream scene, Kitri's variation. Chor: A. Gorsky. Danced by Chernobrovkina. -- Don Quixote: Act IV, female variation. Chor: Gorsky. Danced by Liliy Musovarova. -- Coppélia: Act III, Swanilda's variation. Chor: Gorsky. Danced by Vasilyeva. -- La fille mal gardée: Act II, Lise's variation. Chor: Gorsky. Danced by Paliey. -- La fille mal gardée: [act unspecified], Colin's variation. Chor: Gorsky. Danced by Malakhov. -- Le corsaire: Act II, Slave's variation. Chor: V. Chabukiani. Danced by Ilgis Galimullin. -- La bayadère: Act II, Gamzatti's variation. Chor: Chabukiani. Danced by Vasilyeva. -- La bayadère: Act IV, Kingdom of the shades, Solor's variation. Chor: Chabukiani. Danced by Bondar.


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all i can say for certain is that it WAS available, along with the individual booklets (one per variation in two folders of say 16 and 17 each) of piano music and choreographic breakdown in words and some photos - all in russian - around the time these were made in soviet russia. i suspect however that the outfit that initially produced them went the way of so many perestroika enterprises.

i have not seen it around anywhere since i first saw it for sale in the old 'ballet shop' on broadway in n.y.c. subsequent to seeing it there i was able to purchase the booklets from our also now defunct russian-language bookstore - the late lamented (at least by me and a few russophile friends) kamkin on lower broadway. i do believe however, and our washington/virginia readers could say more for certain, that those who ran kamkin still run a major russian-language book etc. mart somewhere in virginia. the 'ballet shop' mentioned above went out of business and was replaced by a 'lite' version of itself called the 'ballet company' but that too has gone out of business. the location where the one followed the other is now a T-Mobile cellular telephone store. sigh.

maybe some of our russian readers know of sources for the tape. as i say i haven't seen it around since 1990, when it was released.

sorry to say.

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re women's entrechats --

Karsavina tells how cecchetti taught her to do entrechat-huit: "Just do entrechat quatre and do another entrechat quatre before you come down" -- she said it worked for her.

And Gloria Govrin told me herself that she used to do entrechat-dixe. (Rodney, she was a VERY tall student at the School of American Ballet swhom Balanchine took into the company - "Big Glo," as they called her, was the first Hippolyta in Balanchine's Midsummer Night's Dream, she had a sensational role in the Arabhian dance in his Nutcracker --is now director of the SFBallet school).

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Paul, thanks so much for this very informative post. If K did entrechats huit then presumably there must have been a need for them on the Imperial stage, though in ballets that seem to have fallen by the wayside. Nobody has come forward with suggestions of entrechat-centred vars in the classical rep, so perhaps there aren't any. Bournonville might be the place to look, but B was never one for "monocultural" multiples, was he? It's more an Italianate thing. The beating cadenza for James before the stretto of the Act II ballabile is an absolute rainbow of different kinds.

Did you get the K info from Theatre Street? I must reread it. Her English is nothing short of superb, though she has a weakness for some charming archaisms like "tarry." My close friend Heather was an English teacher before she went back to varsity to qualify as a landscape architect, and, in her former avatar, she set a portion of TS as a comprehension test in a Grade 9 exam--the bit about Nijinsky tarrying in the air. Some of the answers the children supplied were bizarre to say the least. I wish I could remember them. By the way, all balletomanes should read Richard Wilbur's remarkable poem entitled "Grace." I teach it to my Honours students every year, and they always think that Nijinsky's "out of the window leap" is a reference to suicide. It all falls into place when I tell them about Le Spectre de la rose!

I know GG well, for she is the H in my MSND. I like her a lot, especially the fullness of her legs and the confident way she fouettes out the mist to Die Schoene Melusine, or is it Ruy Blas? [Note to RSE: It's time you watched MSND again!] I had never heard of her before I got my tape, and assumed that B had marginalized her for not being a Farrell--but that is a canard, as you, Ari and others have pointed out.

Please try to find out from GG how many consecutive entrechats dix she could do, and to what music. It will make a very pleasant balletic daydream. When I was a little boy, I often tried to count 32 fouettes to the Black Swan coda, long before I had seen them in anything but still photographs. Since I always started at bar 1 (not realizing that Siegfried was in the picture), I would get hopelessly lost! In the same way, I tried to fit the whole of the Nutcracker story into the Nutcracker Suite, not realizing that there was a complete ballet. It made a pocket ballet, so to speak!

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I remember Gloria Govrin's performances fondly. She was a most womanly woman, and capable of feats of great technical strength, elegiac demeanor, sprightliness, and was uproarious in comedy. She could do it all, but was hampered by the lack of an equally talented male dancer of her physical stature in NYCB to make a famous partnership after the manner of d'Amboise and Hayden, or Villella and McBride.

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It's not that I couldn't conceive of a danseuse performing more than six beats, but rather that entrechat-huit often gives men trouble, and men usually have stronger jumps than women. Of course, there are plenty of exceptions! I can perform entrechat-huit, but to my knowledge, it isn't in any classical variations. When watching a dancer, the way to tell whether they're doing entrechat-six or -huit is to see whether they land with the same foot front as when they started the jump. If it's different, it's probably entrechat-six; if it's the same, it's probably entrechat-huit.

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That's a good general guide, Hans, but I am a bit of a klutz when it comes to counting beats, and I might very well confuse an entrechat huit with a grand royale if I looked at closing positions alone. Isn't it possible, though, that women would do better than men at prolonged beating simply because they have less flesh and bone to get moving, their stamina prolonged by their comparative lightness? But that might just be the ignorant assumption of an outsider looking in. I remember how, before I started ballet, one of my fellow lit students who had danced to pre-professional level once told me that the challenge in ronds de jambe fouettes wasn't so much in preserving one's balance (as I had assumed), but rather riding out the pain of the working calf muscle. That had never occurred to me.

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They have less flesh and bone but also less muscle, which makes it more difficult to jump and beat. Also, men tend to be taller, and taller people can usually jump higher (there's a physical reason for this, but at the moment I forget exactly what it is). There are plenty of exceptions to the statements above (Sizova can jump like a gazelle) but generally, that's how it goes, I think. This also holds true in partnering--you'd think that the really thin girls would be the easiest to lift, but they're not because they have no muscle with which to jump, thereby aiding the lift. It's the muscular girls (coordination also makes a big difference) who are easier to lift because they can jump by themselves--you just have to augment what they can already do and slow their descent.

Ok, I have gone really off-topic here, but I hope it helps :). Maybe I should start a new thread?

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That's very interesting, Hans. I wonder why tall men jump better than tall women. You would think that the same physiognomy made for the same kind of talent. Could it be that female jarrete dancers tend to have low twitch muscle fibre? Strangely enough, jumping was the only thing I could do well (I am 6 ft 2 inches)--everything else was mediocre to disastrous, esp pirouettes to the left. But my jump started to desert me in my mid thirties and I can now barely get off the ground. Gwendolen, my cat, who jumps well but lands heavily, is TOTALLY contemptuous of my efforts!

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