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Balanchine's The Nutcracker video


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Pat could do all that stuff and more.  That's why nobody has quite been able to replace her in "Square Dance".  Others have succeeded her, but her robustness has never been matched, and the whole ballet is different for it.

EXACTLY! The kinescope of her in Square Dance is breathtaking. Robustness, precision, joy, and overwhelming virtuosity at once....

i saw that film last year on a fairly large screen at the museum of television and radio's weeks-long salute to balanchine

it is the original version of the piece, with the caller on stage and the scenery, etc.

ms. wilde's performance is beyond belief

it can probably be seen on a video monitor at the museum, which is on east 52nd street in manhattan

sheri leblanc (who is now with san francisco), in an sab workshop perfomance, was absolutely stupendous -- but she never performed square dance as a company member

when the music ended, she looked as if she could do it all over again, and then some

what she could have done with ms. wilde's coaching --

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Thanks for that report on Sherri LeBlanc in Square Dance. We've really loved her in SF. She has JUST retired from SFB -- a wonderful dancer, she had a fantastic range. My favorite thing I ever saw her do was Liebeslieder Walzer (in hte role I think is associated with McBride), where she was young, ardent, incisive, intensely romantic in a way that took my breath away. It was great artistry. Her last wonderful role here was as an Amazon in Mark Morris's Sylvia( he used her a great deal over the years, in all sorts of works, and she could dance with weight and majesty as well as brilliant lightness). She was fantastic in Sylvia. and had a quality in the upper body that I can only call flowing, like you see in the Valentine Hugo drawings of Isadora Duncan. It was to the big waltz in hte first act when he Amazons let down their hair and relax in hte glade -- the quality was completely appropriate to a warm summer afternoon's dancing (even Amazons have their lyric moments), and she epitomized the paradoxical luxe et volupte of that dance.

She danced memorably the Russian girl in Serenade -- incredibly musical. I saw her sister that day in the lobby holding her baby girl -- "I brought her to see her mom dance."

Her sister of course is Tina leBlanc, who is by the way out of this world dynamite in Square Dance, which she did here last year and made it look completely effortless, like a kid on a skate-board tossing off miracles like they were nothing.... In the finale, when she stepped onto pointe over and over with unbelievable speed and rapidity and absolute evenness of attack, like a pianist doing the jeux perlee, I was nearly out of my mind with delight -- it was true allegro, it made you so happy you were beyond laughter.

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A belated addition to this thread. I was recently re-reading Wiley's book about Tchaikovsky's ballets, and was fascinated to come across this this description of the original choreography for the grand pas:

"In the last part, a mechanical device is introduced which is referred to ... as a reika. This seems to have been a track or guide along which a small platform travels; placed on the platform, a dancer can be drawn along the reika to give the illusion of gliding across the stage. After breaking the last post of the preceding section, the Sugar Plum Fairy and her prince move to the reika at the rear of the stage. Then they traverse the stage on the reika from the audience's left to its right. This part of the dance is probably that depicted in the celebrated picture of Gerdt as Prince Coqueluche drawing Varvara Nikitina as the Sugar Plum Fairy on the surface of a shawl or cloth, as if by magic"

This would make it seem that the trick was another of Balanchine's homages to the choreography he remembered from his childhood. Has anybody seen the "celebrated picture" Wiley refers to? What pose is Nikitina in?

I brought this up before, but I would also still love to know about the history of the two versions of the Sugar Plum solo--which came first, who they were made for, etc.

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I've seen the picture, and Gerdt is to the viewer's left and Nikitina to the right, but I don't recall what position she's in. Nothing more dramatic than a sous-sus, though maybe a "B+" done effacé. No big arabesque, that's for sure.

As to the two SPF variations, wouldn't we all like to know? Actually the one that was done for years and years was by Loupokhov, around 1912, and it doesn't look much like either of what's notated.

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