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Gaite Parisienne


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I have read the synopsis (Balanchine's from 101 Stories of the Great Ballets) and have just bought the music (Offenbach) and now I'm itching to see it! Which companies have Gaite Parisienne in their repertoire and how often do they perform it? And If you've seen it, what did you think of it and was it Classical (Graduation Ball / Union Jack type classical ballet) or was it more like Petrouchka and Scheherazade?

Also, does anyone have information about Massine? Such as other works, etc.

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ABT revived Gaite Parisienne back in the late 80s while Baryshnikov was AD. I have seen the ballet done at Teatro Comunale (Maggio Musicale) in Florence, Italy as well as by ABT. Both productions were lavish in sets and costumes by LaCroix, I believe, enjoyable in a theatrical sense, well danced, however some of the reviews said, dated in idea. Personally, I enjoyed it very much. There is a movie out there somewhere made by Warner Brothers, 1941.

The ballet itself was funky, funny, a very silly story, and an historic piece, quite theatrical. What a time in ballet. Interresting to compare What Massine was doing at the same time as Balanchine.

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Warner Bros. filmed GAITE PARISIENNE in '40 (likely released in '41) as The Gay Parisian (much shortened); Massine is Peruvian, with F. Franklin, A. Eglevsky, M. Mladova, and N. Krasovska also in the cast. [subsequently Warners made and released a truncated version of "Capriccio Espanol" as SPANISH FIESTA.]

meanwhile, the US video org. called VAI (for Video Artists International) has a historic film by Victor Jessen, made silent but post-synchronized w/ sound, of the complete work w/ Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, all pieced together from various perfs. due to the filmmaker's need to take his footage in various performances b/c of the limits at the time on hand-held-camera film-lengths. i notice it's on amazon.com in used copies. i'm not sure if VAI still has it among its active titles.

here is how amazon lists the item:

Gaîté Parisienne / Leonide Massine, The Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo (1954)

as for current stagings of the ballet i suspect there are more than the ones mentioned here so far but i can't say which companies are included.

others will likely know from having seen it. (i do know the bolshoi ballet recently presented it on an all-massine prog. in moscow.)

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meanwhile, the US video org. called VAI (for Video Artists International) has a historic film by Victor Jessen, made silent but post-synchronized w/ sound, of the complete work w/ Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, all pieced together from various perfs. due to the filmmaker's need to take his footage in various performances b/c of the limits at the time on hand-held-camera film-lengths. i notice it's on amazon.com in used copies. i'm not sure if VAI still has it among its active titles.

here is how amazon lists the item:

Gaîté Parisienne / Leonide Massine, The Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo (1954)

I recommend this film highly -- it is indeed a cobbled together version, with cast members changing (in mid-phrase, sometimes!) and the sound is not dead-on, but it is a fascinating picture of what the ballet looked like on stage at that time. Gaite was an incredibly influential ballet, it was the image of "what ballet is" for thousands of people, and seeing it helps put that mid-20th century period in context.

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i think it's such a wonderful film that i don't mind bad synchronization or three casts of one part in one performance, it's just so joyous and the dancers aren't self conscious at all about what they're doing. Interesting that I never found it old fahsioned.

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here's the n.y.pub.lib. cat. listing for the jessen film:

Gaité parisienne [videorecording] / choreography by Léonide Massine ; music, Jacques Offenbach, orchestrated by Manuel Rosenthal ; filmed and edited by Victor Jessen.

Imprint :New York, NY : Video Artists International, c1986.

Description:1 videocassette (38 min.) : sd., b&w NTSC ; 1/2 in. (VHS)

Notes :Silent film edited, with addition of sound, in 1979 by Victor Jessen ; released as a videotape in 1986 ; distribution supervised by John Mueller.

:Copyright by the Dance Collection of The New York Public Library.

:Performed by the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo: Alexandra Danilova, Frederic Franklin, Leon Danielian, and others.

:Scenery and costumes, Etienne de Beaumont.

:Filmed at various performances in the 1940s by Victor Jessen.

:Victor Jessen Collection.

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