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bayaderka/ponomarev


rg

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before hoping to post three (one at a time i think) pix from the period of the revival of BAYADERKA acknowledged in the current vikharev prod. for the maryinsky, let me try to recall something a curator from leningrad said when she was here for a show at nyc's nahamkin gallery, called '100 years of russian ballet' but as one moskovite pointed really offering a hundred years of st. petersburg/russian ballet. when i pointed to similarities between items listed as e.ponomarev and i.vsevolozhsky she insisted that e.p. was essentially the house costume builder, and that in many cases the designer was i.v. but that as intendant, etc. he didn't always want to be seen also as costume designer, so that it MAY just be that some of the costumes attributed to e.p. are actually from the imagination of i.v.

in any case, the point of my post is to put up some little illustrations from the turn of the 20th c.

let me try to shed some illustration on the story here:

i have no idea of the precise dates of any of these pictures. as many may know ekaterina geltzer was a moscow ballerina and pavel gerdt was from the st. petersburg co.

but he obviously performed BAYADERKA w/ e.g. whether in moscow or st. pete and in what actual year i cannot say. as we know the 1900 revival was staged, initially, for p.g. and m.kchessinska.

in any case here are 3 pix:

one of e.g. as nikiya w/ the snake.

another of e.g. in a shades costume, w/veil.

another of her sitting on solor's lap as provided by p.g.

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re: collecting, i suppose i've been collecting ballet memorabilia ever since i first got a program and just couldn't throw it away.

many years later, i find that i have had to throw out some things, but never enough it seems.

i became interested in russian ballet cards specifically, probably, in 1983 when a few colleagues met a great collector in the soviet union and this fellow, alas now gone, gave two of our group some of his cards. writer, cunningham archivist and one-time dancer and performer, david vaughan was the first i knew personally who had a fine collection, especially of his beloved teacher a. n. obukhov. (many of his treasures were published in his loving tribute to obukhov - 'beautifully dance' in BALLET REVIEW). so my interest in and aquisition of similar cards began slowly and grew and grew ever since then.

(i have no idea why/how this thread got awakened, btw, but in honor of the occasion i'll post a couple other items.)

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this picture helps keep the ponamarev them:

Victor Aleksandrovich Semenov, Elena Mikhailovna Lukom & Vladimir Ivanovich Ponomarev as, respectively, Grasshopper, Butterfly and Phoenix/Butterfly, LES CAPRICES DU PAPILLON, 1919

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to elaborate my commentary about the postcards of a.n.obukhov, here's one of him in the costume i've been led to understand nijinsky was responsible for devising, to replace/un-date the vsevolozhsky original.

i have no precise date for this photo.

post-11-1069540769.jpg

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here's a photo with [Pierre] VLADIMIROV (in cyrillic script) written (in pencil) on the card. the odd thing about this is that it likely post-dates nijinsky's debut as the bluebird but yet it reverts to the 'original' costume. (as more than one observer has pointed out, balletalert's doug, for one, this may well not have been the costume worn for the pas de deux, but rather that worn for the cortege of fairy-tale characters that occurs at the start of act 3.)

post-11-1069541065.jpg

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Thanks, as always, rg -- and a comment/question about the arms in the a.n.obukhov photo above.

They are close to the face, nearly covering the face, not the more "precise" arms en couronne that we see today -- they're not far off from the Danish at that time, from photographic evidence. Bournonville wrote that he hated straight lines -- that nature abhorred straight lines. Commentators refer to his arm positions as "vinelike." According to several reviews of Fokine's ballets set on the RDB in the 1920s that his line was "distorted" -- too "linear," not as soft and "vinelike" as Bournonville's. Though Fokine, I've read, was aiming toward a soft line.

I suppose my question is -- can anyone untangle this web? (I can't scan in any of the Bournonville photographs as the ones I have are in books, and would be a copyright issue.)

A costume note, but not unrelated: during the same time period (late 19th/early 20th century, and probably before as well) hats were worn so that the brim shielded the face. I don't know whether this was an aesthetic, philosophical or cultural issue -- any costume historians able to shed light on this?

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Can I just echo Thaliticum and say I pounce on all of your posts, rg? I always know I'm going to read (and especially see!) something totally new and wonderful. Thank you SO much! :wub:

ps Sorry to derail the intellectual discussion a bit, Alexandra. Isn't there a picture of Nijinsky as Sigfried with his arm draped over his head, forearm crossing his brow? Or maybe I'm confabulating that with the Spectre picture...

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Isn't there a picture of Nijinsky as Sigfried with his arm draped over his head, forearm crossing his brow?

I think I know the picture you reference, dido, and I believe that it's of Nijinsky as Albrecht, doing the chassé coupé temps levé-assemblé-double tour diagonal just before the very end of his variation in Act II.

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i'm not able to shed much light here, i'm afraid, being neither a scholar of technique including stylistic preferences from school to school, nor familiar with the perf. history of bluebird up to and through obukhov's participation.

one can get dates from the nijinsky photos referred to elsewhere in this thread (for ex. v.n's debut as bluebird took place in 1907).

a.n.o was born 1896 some six or so years after v.n. so ball-park fig. might put the obukhov photo as 1913 or so.

a few thoughts that might pertain:

the arm position in the obukhov photo - a version of 'en couronne' - may be a pose from the role or may be a position chosen and held by the dancer for the photo's duration - the droop could well represent comfort range for holding such a position long enough to 'get' the picture.

i also repeat here something balanchine reportedly said when someone asked him the name - i.e. the technical/academic/studio/school term - for a certain moment. 'is not school,' he reportedly said, 'is choreography.' all of which goes to say that what is practiced in class may or may be what's precisely desired by a balletmaster. (the bluebird is an apt ex. in this case. again in balanchinean lore, someone at a teaching seminar once asked him about brise-vole and he asked: do you mean brise-vole or 'bird' (as in bluebird) step? which, o'course involves a choreographic variation on brise-vole but is not the step, per se. (if mem. serves mr. b. referred to the bird-step he felt he was being asked about, as the 'nijinsky step.')

i hope i've made a bit of sense.

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here's a photo with [Pierre] VLADIMIROV (in cyrillic script) written (in pencil) on the card. the odd thing about this is that it likely post-dates nijinsky's debut as the bluebird but yet it reverts to the 'original' costume. (as more than one observer has pointed out, balletalert's doug, for one, this may well not have been the costume worn for the pas de deux, but rather that worn for the cortege of fairy-tale characters that occurs at the start of act 3.)

That was always my suspicion--it seems it would be impossible to leap around with THAT HAT. Wow. But then is this a change from the original production that wasn't used in the reconstruction? Did they purposefully go for the later desing, or is it what they also found in the costume desings of Vsevolozhsky (I knwo they built the costumes newly from his original designs and not from the photos of them we have)? Fascinating at any rate.

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