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Slow motion as a technique


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Classical Arts Network (in the U.S.) just broadcast a clip of Maya Plisetskaya and Alexander Gudunov dancing in a 1974 video of Plisetskaya's own full-length ballet Karenina. In this sequence, Anna goes to a ball and meets Vronsky. They fall in love. That instant that they connectd is performed in slow-motion,. The other couples attending the ball freeze in place as Anna, in arabesque, is slowly promenaded by Vronsky. The ballroom vanishes and the couples are alone on stage, still dancing in slow motion.

This is a film version, so I'm not sure whether this sequence is also performed on the stage. (Plisetskaya performed the part right into the mid 1980s.)

How common -- or uncommon -- is slow motion in ballet choreography on stage (or in film)? Which ballets contain it? Why is it there? What do you think?

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I haven't seen a lot of Soviet dance films, but my favorite slo-mo takes (and repeats) are Vassiliev's leaps as Spartacus.

From what I've seen, there were some thoughtful attempts to make ballet movies during Soviet times, not just taping of performances, but trying to use the medium to clarify the action in story ballets, particularly politically based ones, and tighten it for a TV audience. Similar things happened with some British ballet films.

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