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Mozartiana and Baiser de la fee

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Mindy Aloff's Letter from New York in this week's DanceView Times is about the Works & Progress program at the Guggenheim devoted to the reconstruction of two "lost" Balanchine ballets.

Last Sunday and Monday (November 16 and 17), the Works & Process series at the Guggenheim Museum presented an evening dedicated to the reconstructions of two “lost” Balanchine ballets—Le Baiser de la Fée (1937, American Ballet; staged for the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in 1940).) and Mozartiana (1945), both from Balanchine’s years as resident choreographer for the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo during and just after World War II. The program was organized by The George Balanchine Foundation, an archival organization that has devoted much of its considerable energy to reconstructing and filming Balanchine ballets long out of rep, as well as to filming original interpreters of familiar Balanchine roles, many now much changed over time, in the act of coaching young dancers from the point of view of what the first casts of Balanchine’s ballets actually were directed to do.

I attended the Sunday show, and it was an evening of great beauty and illumination. We saw Maria Tallchief coach the New York City Ballet’s Jennifer Ringer and Nikolaj Hübbe in the pas de deux for the Gypsy-Fairy and the Bridegroom she steals away from his Bride, from Baiser, and Frederic Franklin coach NYCB’s Miranda Weese and Hübbe in the second of the two pas de deux from Mozartiana. Nancy Reynolds, founder and research director for the Foundation, interviewed Tallchief and Franklin individually on their experiences with Balanchine as he worked with them at the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Historic movies by the Chicago dance critic Ann Barzel, showing Tallchief and Franklin in the Baiser segment and Alexandra Danilova and Franklin in the second Mozartiana pas de deux, and a portion of a Foundation film that showed Franklin coaching American Ballet Theatre’s Julie Kent and Hübbe in the first pas de deux, were followed by live performances by the NYCB dancers of the excerpts in which they had just been coached.

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