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"Lost" Balanchine Ballets

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With the vast amount of choreography that George Balanchine produced in his lifetime, thereare bound to be ballets that get lost along the way. For whatever reason they were not maintained in the active repertory, we still have archival pictures and commentary to help us realize what these ballets were like.

I've always wanted to see The Seven Deadly Sins. I'm talking about the 1950's version with Allegra Kent. The pictures of it look so fanciful, and Allegra looks so young and beautiful. I suppose the reason I want to see it is not so much for the choreography, but for the vivid theatrical experience it seemed to be. The costumes and sets look so stunningly original and of course we would get to see Allegra in a role that she apparently danced and acted to perfection.

The other Balanchine ballet I would like to see is I think considered more "minor" Balanchine. It's Rhapsody Espanole(not sure about the spelling) that premiered during the Ravel Festival in the 70's. I've only seen one picture of it and read a small paragraph about it in Repertory in Review, but it seems interesting. The costumes look sparkly and showy and kinda cool, and I'd love to see what Balanchine made to this music.

Are there any lost Balanchine ballets that anyone would like to see revived?

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the mention in this initial post of Rhapsody Espanole has long been on a friend's list of ballets that should come back. i agreed. it had, as my faint memory reminds me, great flourish, flair and force. the leading male role was given with grand style by peter schaufuss. as i recall it was dressed in bright tourquoise and black costumes.

from that same festival edward gorey often voiced interest in seeing GASPARD DE LA NUIT again. as i recall it was strange and dark - bernard daydee's designs were chicly gothic - so that's another candidate, with regard to the ravel festival ballets, that i too would like to see again, if for no other reason but to see what i could now make of its mysterious effects - i believe some dancers were suspended in the air and others held mirrors to somewhat sinister effect.

speaking of ravel fest. ballets, their festival inspired arlene croce to write one of her more memorable and wickedly witty lines. it was in her assessment of john taras's 'daphnis and chloe' and went, if mem. serves as follows:

'flame throwers wouldn't get me back for another look.'

but now i've gone way off topic.

i make the two suggestions above simply to connect to the 'rhapsody' comment in the initial post. given the time and energy i'm sure i'd come up w/ a good number more beyond that festival.

re: SEVEN DEADLY SINS, it's really too bad that the revival w/ bette midler went bust when mr. b. got heart trouble just as the plans were being finalized and the whole revival got scrapped. so near, yet so far...

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In 1975's Ravel Festival Mr. Balanchine set eight pairs of quadrilles to Ravel's homage to his favorite 18th Century composers Le Tombeau de Couperin. I regretfully moved to New York a few months too late to see any of this festival. But this piece of music is one of my secret treasures and I would love to see what Mr. B did with it. I remember reading that he said of all the dances for this quickly assembled festival, it was Le Tombeau that lingered in his mind long after. I believe it was in the rep of POB for a while, but I don't think it has been performed for a long time.

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"tombeau" was the one(?) ballet balanchine's will left to ballet mistress rosemary dunleavy. she's consistently involved in its restagings, etc. it was done not that long ago at a school of american ballet workshop by the students. it's in repertory with some regularity at n.y.c.b.

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I’ve always been curious about The Figure in the Carpet because of the photographs I saw in an old NYCB program. But Handel’s music didn’t fit the picture I had in my mind of what the ballet would be like.

From an article titled “Figures in the Carpet” by Laura Jacobs (in The New Criterion online):

Among the lost Balanchine ballets most mourned by the late Lincoln Kirstein was The Figure in the Carpet from the 1960s, a work whose dances, he wrote, “suggested the age in which the arabesque of Islamic ornament wove itself into Western European fashion and design, just as the arabesque, our ballet position, fixed the place of Islam in a royal academy of dancing at Versailles.” Kirstein remarks that The Figure in the Carpet “was too unwieldy to maintain”; others suggest it was musically monotonous.
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I wonder how many of you could have seen Balanchine's ballet to Mozart No. 5 violin concerto. Because he created for the Colon Theatre Ballet in Buenos Aires (Maria Ruanova was the prima ballerina there), but, as far as I know, it was only revived by Tulsa Ballet in USA (I might be mistaken, so please correct me if you are). This was, in fact, my very first exposure to Balanchine, as I saw this same ballet revived around year 1985 for the national ballet company of Uruguay. I was very much taken by the 2nd movement (the adagio - or is it andante?) - beautiful pas de deux.

When I first saw it (1985) the dancers wore leotards with chiffon skirts over them. Then, when I again saw it (around year 1999) they wore tutus.


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Figure, Palais de Crystal (since it seems that POB is no longer permitted to perform it), Gounod seems to be approaching extinction.

Whatever happened to Union Jack? Seems to me it hasn't been done in eons.

I saw Gaspard. I do not need to see it again. But I missed the notorious PAMTGG, just before my time. That would be interesting. Or not. :shrug:

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Just leafing through "Choreography by George Balanchine: A Catalogue of Works," the possibilities seem endless. That's why NYCB's "Balanchine 100" plans were so disappointing to me when they were announced. Just off the top of my head, I'd love to see Roma, and Native Dancers. Also, the ballet commissioned by Kirstein and Warburg, The Card Game. This was to the Stravinsky music Peter Martins later used for his messy Jeu de Cartes.

Carbro, I saw PAMTGG, and though I've forgotten it, I don't need to see it again. Neither does anybody else.

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I'd also like to see Card Party. During Frederic Franklyn's recent round of seminars in NY, he said that was one of the ballets for which he was ballet master. It would be great if his vaunted memory can put this ballet back together. I've only seen silent snips of it, but it looks very inventive.

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There is a lost ballet Balanchine made for Tanaquil LeClercq in the 50's. I think it was to Hindemith and featured her as an insect that turns into a butterfly at the end. I can't for the life of me remember what it was called. It also had some of Karinska's most inventive and beautiful costumes, and an interesting pas de duex with LeClercq being partnered by a man who dances entirely on his knees. Definately one I would like to see.

Also rq thanks for the posting about Rhapsody Espanole, I was hoping someone who saw it could comment on it for me.

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After seeing "Rubies" last week, I thought how much I would like to see again its precursor--"Danses Concertantes" with the original Berman sets as performed by the Ballet Russe in 1944. It was revived in 1972 by NYCB--I did not see it then, but from what I have read it was not successful. Danilova and Danielian said that the revival did not succeed "because the original had a jazzy thrust absent in the later staging"...I wish all the "Rubies" lovers out there could see this.

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