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Youskevitch, again


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this is a scan of a ballet russe de monte carlo publicity photo for SERENADE w/ Youskevitch and Lubov Roudenko (about whom i know next to nothing).

interesting the photo session involved Roudenko's posing in toeshoes w/o ribbons and Youskevitch's posing in 'stocking feet' sans slippers. (another unidentified publicity photo of IY and TToumanova, previously posted on BT, also shows him w/o slippers.)

what i can't say for certain is if IY's combed his hair in a stiff pompadour or if he's wearing a beret-like hat?

probably the former, i guess.

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I believe a ribbon is visible around her standing ankle, but hard to see one around her extended one. Maybe the lighting helped camouflage the ribbons? Or maybe a retouching was less than complete?

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IY looks to have leather ballet slippers on to me. Look at the tips and inside edges of his big toes. Having dyed both canvas and leather, his feet look like dyed leather to me. As for his hair, looks like a pomdapour. The costumes are amazing. I remember somewhere seeing the photos of the "1st" Serenade in White Plains, NY in ample very long net (black and white photo, I always assumed blue). Is my history incorrect? What is the date on this photo?

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i should have realized a low-res. scan wouldn't provide true detail.

the detail scan here shows, as the photo looks to the naked eye, that there are no ribbons on LR's toeshoes and that IY isn't wearing slippers.

there is no date on this ballet russe de monte carlo photo; BRdMC staged SERENADE for the first time in 1940. (this costume scheme looks like that credited to Lurcat, and yes, the one original sketch i've seen - nowadays in the collection of the School of American Ballet - is in a range of blues.)

i assume this photo's date is early/mid-40s.

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It really looks to me as if Youskevitch is wearing tights over his slippers... could be a conceit for the photographer? And it does look as if there's elastic under the tights of Roudenko's supporting ankle. Is that a small hole in her tights near the ankle on the other foot? Or is it a speck on the photo? Very odd... looks like it's airbrushed, but then the shoe on the supporting foot is loose around her arch. Maybe Youskevitch is just in tights, they look much thicker than what we get nowadays.

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it's easier to tell in the photo - IY is not wearing slippers under his tights; the tights do appear thicker than today's.

i think there is some retouching around the ankles of LR but she's not wearing ribbons on her shoes, which was something done w/ some regularity around this period in a number of posed, publicity photos.

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I think the nail of IY's right big toe is barely (no pun intended) discernible, but I see enough subtle suggestions of criss-crossings around Roudenko's ankles (Roud-ankles?) to believe that the retouchers did a little work on them.

Amy, in the '50s, my mom had tights that covered toes and heels but were open on the soles. They were seamed, so it was just an opening along the way. She and my dad were taking classes in social dancing then (I wouldn't go so far as to call it ballroom), and she said the opening gave her better traction on the floor. Since dancers of the period of this photo wore silk tights, they were probably extremely slick inside pointe shoes (or any shoes), so an open sole may have been standard to keep the foot secure within the shoe. :lol:

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Amazing hte scrutiny this photo warrants.

Well, to MY eye, her ankles don't look retouched. The highlights are where the bones would cause them -- in particular, on her left foot, there's a big highlight where the lateral (oops, no, the internal) malleolus -- i.e., the knob at the end of the tibia -- would cause one. So that doesn't look like airbrushing.

ANd hte little horizontal lines would be natural wrinkling that silk tights would cause -- silk doesn't stretch like nylon, it doesn't recover its shape so well, and over hte ankle it would get over-stretched (as it famously did at the knees).

And on top of that, if there WERE ribbons there, the shoe wouldn't be so loose down by hte arch -- and on both feet the shoes look loose there, more-so on the left (which actually gaps a little) but even on hte right it's not tight there. RIbbons are sewn right at those points to pull the shoe towards the instep.

THe poor ballerina has short calves, big heels, and thick ankles, a lot like mine.

Edited by Paul Parish
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one mo' time: despite any oddities of the photo and/or its retouching, there are no ribbons on LR and no slippers on IY. my question concerned the possible tam/hat on IY. i think, now, it's his hair that makes the shape one sees here.

there was a set of costumes, if mem. serves, maybe for Paris Opera's SERENADE, where the men where given little hats to wear, but i don't think this odd idea was carried out elsewhere.

i'm satisfied to note that IY is bareheaded, w/ his thick hair combed into a pompadour.

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my query about the costume detailing was meant seriously.

the side-track on the details of the dancers' footwear (or lack there of) began b/c the scan was unclear.

i assume all the subsequent observations were made seriously too.

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One more thing about the hair, before we move on to the matter of the costumes for Serenade.

IY definitely had a full head of hair, most strikingly at the hair line above the brow. Many, many men might envy him. You see it standing up from the brow in the Black Swan pdd with Alonso that we've been discussing on another thread. The look there is amazingly early-2000s. You see it brushed down here: http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=htt...GLR:en%26sa%3DN

I know I've also seen a photo recently in which the front hair was brushed off to the side and at an angle in a manner that suggests the photo above. But I don't seem to be able to remember where in all the vastness of Google-world I found it.

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Of course, rg... it just seemed as if we were veering off to the outskirts, with us all seeing non-existant ribbons & elastics... (I'm still having trouble not seeing an elastic attached at the heel on the supporting leg, and do realize how inane that is)

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looks like a hat to me....

It IS arresting to think that Serenade was ever danced in such costumes. She looks such a teen-ager.

It was in that costume that I first saw 'Serenade' with the Denham Ballet Russe. The colors were shades of brown and beige, and the ladies wore head bands, which you can see on Roudenko's head (who,by the way, did a marvelous can-can in Gaite Parisienne). I was very drawn to the ballet in those days, especially the effervescent performance of Ruthanna Boris as the Waltz girl. In those days it didn't have that "ballet-is-woman-aspect"; I still cringe a bit with all the flying hair, although I have gotten used to the filmy Sylphide look.

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There are wonderful photos of Marie-Jeanne in a version of this costume in hte latest issue of Ballet Review, which came today -- main difference is that hte whole basque is beige, except for half the ruffle at the collar-bone, and the skirt's very short. She looks great in it.

ATM711, did you see Marie-Jeanne in this ballet? If so, I'd really envy you. I'd love to know what she was like.

She's quoted as saying it was not so "Fokine-y" in her day, but very sharp. Do you remember it that way?

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looks like a hat to me....

It IS arresting to think that Serenade was ever danced in such costumes. She looks such a teen-ager.

It was in that costume that I first saw 'Serenade' with the Denham Ballet Russe. The colors were shades of brown and beige, and the ladies wore head bands, which you can see on Roudenko's head

There's a pic of Danilova in her autobiography book wearing a slight variation of this costume-(kind of a shorter version, with the line dividing the two colors on her skirt being curved, and a headpiece or band too)-with Freddie Franklin in all black.

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There are wonderful photos of Marie-Jeanne in a version of this costume in hte latest issue of Ballet Review, which came today -- main difference is that hte whole basque is beige, except for half the ruffle at the collar-bone, and the skirt's very short. She looks great in it.

ATM711, did you see Marie-Jeanne in this ballet? If so, I'd really envy you. I'd love to know what she was like.

She's quoted as saying it was not so "Fokine-y" in her day, but very sharp. Do you remember it that way?

I got my copy of Ballet Review but haven't read it yet; looks like a great issue. The costume she is wearing in Serenade is not the same one worn by the Denham BR in the mid to late 40's, which is when I saw it. I don't know if she danced Serenade with Denham; I did not see her in it. I wonder if her 'Fokine-y' remark is about the current productions?; if so, I agree completely. The ballet she was really marvelous in was 'Concerto Barocco'---that's where the sharpness is missing today---and those white costumes used today help to deplete the sharpness; it sometimes looks like 'Chaconne'.....But--the Denham BR had a great contingent of dancers performing the role---in addition to Marie-Jeanne there was Ruthanna Boris, Mary Ellen Moylan and Patricia Wilde---all very good. By today's standards they would all be called 'petite'---- loved the look of the more compact dancer (in black leotard) to today's long-legged ones.

There is a photo in the current Ballet Review article that left me smiling...it is the GPLynes photo of Marie-Jeanne and Magallanes (she with the flowing hair) stark naked---it is a photo I was familiar with and saw many times reproduced---but only in black silhouette---how discreet we were then :wink:

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The ballet she was really marvelous in was 'Concerto Barocco'---that's where the sharpness is missing today---and those white costumes used today help to deplete the sharpness; it sometimes looks like 'Chaconne'.
loved the look of the more compact dancer (in black leotard) to today's long-legged ones.

It makes complete sense that the switch to white (especially loose and gauze-y white) would change the total effect. It would be wonderful to hear this elaborated -- or other examples given. As one who cannot imagine Serenade without the long white dresses -- and who always assumed that they were there from Day One -- I obviously have a lot to learn.

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among the many welcome details to SERENADE's history offered here is the brown/beige scheme of one set of costumes.

if mem. serves the only colors indicated in the one Lurcat sketch i've seen, are blues.

according the NYPL cat. entry below, the Lurcat designs were taken up, or it's possible, revised, for the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo production.

i'm unaware of the look of the costumes by one Alvin Colt for American Ballet Caravan's '41 So. American tour. (don't have a copy yet of Ballet Review.)

my sense of marie-jeanne's 'fokine-y' comment is that it was directed, at least in part, at the now more or less standard, long, pale-blue karinska-credited dresses in the manner of those for the sylphides in Fokine's LES SYLPHIDES.

it might have been a photo Andre Delfau's designs for Paris Opera that showed the men in little hats.

Serenade : Chor: George Balanchine; mus: Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky (Serenade for string orchestra in C major, with 3d & 4th movements transposed). First perf: New York: White Plains, at the estate of Felix M. Warburg, June 10, 1934 (postponed from June 9 due to rain); students of the School of American Ballet.

First public perf: Connecticut: Hartford, Avery Memorial Theatre, Dec 6, 1934, School of American Ballet.

First New York perf: Adelphi Theatre, Mar 1, 1935, American Ballet; cos: Jean Lurçat.

First Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo perf: Metropolitan Opera House, Oct 17, 1940; cos: Jean Lurçat.

First American Ballet Caravan perf: South American tour, 1941, cos: Alvin Colt.

First Paris Opéra perf: Paris, Opéra, Apr 30, 1947, scen & cos: André Delfau.

First New York City Ballet perf: New York, City Center, Oct 18, 1948, cos: Barbara Karinska.

First Royal Danish Ballet perf: Copenhagen, Royal Theatre, Jan 16, 1957.

First La Scala perf: Milan, La Scala, Feb 11, 1960.

First Nederlands Ballet perf: Paris, May 9, 1960.

First National Ballet perf: Washington, D.C., Lisner Auditorium, Mar 26, 1964, staged by Una Kai.

First Royal Ballet perf: London, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, May 7, 1964.

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i just had a conversation with a friend who also saw the BRdMC SERENADE and he recalls a blue-scheme to the costuming, so perhaps it changed over the years, and that indeed the men, he specifically recalls IYouskevitch, sometimes wore berets. so i guess what looks like it might headgear in the IY & LR photo might just be a beret.

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a black&white photo in jack anderson's ORIGINAL BALLET RUSSE shows the opening? ensemble in light colored tunics w/ what look like gores reminiscent of the light panels on the long tulle karinska skirts. i have no idea what color these costumes were, but i know one of the dancers in the photo and as soon as i get her email address, i'll try to reach her to ask what she remembers.

re: headwear - a 1930s foto in REPERTORY IN REVIEW shows that the man, laskey, wears a skull-cap, which has leaf? feather? hair-like? decoration on it. Lurcat's initial tunis for the women were much more detailed in the manner of the sketch i've seen - w/ braid and branch-like decoration - than the 1940s versions in photos like the one above w/ youskevitch and roudenko.

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