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Loveliest Bouree


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I never saw her perform live, but watching her as Myrtha in the ABT film verion of Giselle starring Carla Fracci and Erik Bruhn, Toni Lander must have the greatest bourees ever recorded on camera. The control, the smoothness, the tiny, tiny steps, the strength - there is an overhead shot in which she seem to glide in a huge circle with rampant speed around the set without once showing any effort. This woman had legs of steel!

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Gabriela Komleva

See her Esmeralda tape, for an example.

Oh yes Natalia, G. Komleva's bourrees were simply :thanks: in 'Esmeralda.'

My list: Semenyaka, Farrell, Dame Merle Park (mentioned earlier in

this thread), Terekhova (esp. as Myrtha), Kolpakova, Fonteyn, L. Collier, Kirkland, Kistler, Maximova, T. Lander, Fracci, K. Nichols, Ananiashvili and Ferri.

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THERE ARE so many different kinds of bourrees--

Pavlova's (that I've seen) were very agitated, with the front knee quite bowed and the back leg chasing the front -- totally appropriate for the Dying Swan. She may have used a very different action for Giselle.....

For chaste bourrees, nothing surpasses Suzanne Farrell's in the Preghiera of Mozartiana, which uses Bouree a GREAT deal and has many different kinds of bourrees in it (turned in, turned out, pencil-straight legs, knees slightly bowed) -- she moves like a plume of sand.....

But the exotic, voluptuous bourree emphasizes the flexibility of the ankle - -and of course only dancers whose ankles HAVE a great deal of stretch can do this. With every step there's a pulse at the very top of the foot, like a rapid heartbeat -- it's a hyperextension, of course, which somehow creates the optical illusion that the leg has gotten longer, it bows at the ankle, and the feet themselves seem to be taking the steps, the back foot seems to knock the other forward. Absolutely intoxicating sight, fantastic in roles like Juliet or Thais The foremost proponent of bourrees like these in my memory -- I can still see her doing these, the feet look like pearls, the very ribbons gleam -- is a dancer many of you may have never seen, Corinne Jonas, who was a student of Maria Vegh in Marin County and ballerina at Houston Ballet, and ended her career at Diablo Ballet near San Francisco.

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Thank, liebling, s for reviving this topic, which deserves a second chance. I must have missed this the first time around, and am very glad to have the chance to read the older posts, especially Paul Parish's precise and thoughtful descriptions of the various kinds of bourree and how they are produced. I really love dance writing that makes you see things -- and helps you to understand better what you see. :(

Any other thoughts on the bourree?

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I'm not sure I can say who has the loveliest bourree, but I can certainly point out one of the worst examples -- the bourree of Alessandra Ferri in her taped performance of "La Sonnambula" with Baryshnikov. I will never understand how she was allowed to bounce so violently in her shoulders as she was supposed to be skimming the floor like an apparition. I can hardly watch it. I think she is a beautiful dancer, but she ruined the scenes she appeared in, and I cannot imagine why. Surely she knows how to bourree!

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I will never understand how she was allowed to bounce so violently in her shoulders as she was supposed to be skimming the floor like an apparition.

I haven't seen this recording (unfortunately) but perhaps this was due to the camera being too close? For example, in the Royal Ballet's recent Giselle broadcast, Marianela Nunez's first entrance as Myrtha was spoiled (I thought) by the camera being too far zoomed in, and so rather than her gliding we saw her head and shoulders wobbling along in a rather un-Wili-ish fashion.

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Scherzo's mentioning of closeups sounds quite plausible. Have any of you been onstage with someone bourreeing, and noticed this as well? In other words, is it the distance separating audience from dancer that creates the illusion of gliding?

Also: we currently have another thread on stage flooring. http://ballettalk.invisionzone.com/index.p...3&hl=floors. Is it possible that certain floor surfaces are the culprits as well?

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I'm afraid that Ferri's shaking shoulders cannot be blamed on the camera. We are given a variety of views, mostly full-body, and there she is every time, quaking away. I would so love to hear from someone who has seen this tape and who could either show me I'm wrong (I'd love to be wrong in thinking that Ferri could be so off) or explain how a dancer so lovely could miss the mark so badly.

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