Jump to content
This Site Uses Cookies. If You Want to Disable Cookies, Please See Your Browser Documentation. ×

Grand Pas de Quatre

Recommended Posts

I dug up and watched my old video of THE GRAND PAS DE QUATRE last night. Alonzo, Fracci, Thesmar and Evdokimova seemed perfect in their roles.

Does anyone have any thoughts on the above performance?

Though I'm pretty sure that we BA posters were not there, would anyone have anything to say about the original performance?

[ February 13, 2002: Message edited by: glebb ]

Link to post

Unfortunately, I missed those original performances, Glebb. I was over in Copenhagen at the time, watching Napoli rehearsals smile.gif

What always bothers me about "Pas de Quatre" are the ballerina jokes. I don't believe they were there at the time -- those women wouldn't have given each other little sidelong evil eyes, nor been reluctant to leave the stage. I'd love to see a performance of this staged straight!

Link to post

So are you saying, Alexandra, that you don't think the rivalry was really there? That the controversy over who would do the last variation, and who was the "reigning" ballerina, and the competition among them was brought in later? It very well could be, but I wonder...

In any case, I rather like that bit of rivalry, an the idea that there was a little bit of competition there, albeit a friendly one and they all work together in the end smile.gif

Link to post

We get the recollections of the rivalry from Benjamin Lumley's memoirs of his life as the producer of Her Majesty's Theatre, which was sort of a genteel Victorian "tell-all" about Life Upon the Wicked Stage. From the contemporary reviews, most particularly in the Illustrated London News that there was no display of rivalry onstage. Keith Wilbur kept it pretty straight, but the Dolin stagings sometimes were pretty campy, especially during the 1960s, when that sort of humor was fashionable.

Link to post

I'm sure the rivalry was there, Victoria, I just don't think it was on stage, in the choreography. I think it would have been quite the opposite. They wouldn't have deigned to show rivalry. They'd just "beat" the stuffings out of the rival.

Link to post

I'm sure you are correct Alexandra and it seems to me a pity that nobody puts a stop to the increasing tendancy for the Pas de Quatre to be performed as a big comedy number.

However, historically there was a considerable dispute before the curtain went up as to the order in which the Goddesses should appear. Everyone concerned agreed that Taglioni should have the place of honour and appear last. However, Cerrito and Grisi had a real spat over who should take precedence for second place. The theatre manager, Benjamin Lumley solved the dilema saying "The question of talent must be decided by the audience", but as to precedence "Let the oldest take her unquestionnable right to the envied position". Since neither lady was prepared to own up to that, Perrot got to decide the order in which they appeared.

Link to post

Hello, Alymer, good to see you again smile.gif Yes, I know the story -- I've assumed that's what everyone has been referring to when referencing "the rivalry." But what goes on backstage doesn't have anything to do with what went on in the choreography. I've never read anything that indicated that "Pas de Quatre" was a cat fight. If the Trockaderos do it, that's funny, but when it's worked into a serious production, I find it annoying.

Link to post

At a gala in Miami many years ago, I saw an all male version put together by Ben Stevenson who also portrayed Taglioni.

I was very young and couldn't help enjoying the part where the other (male dancers from National Ballet of Washington) ballerinas ate the marshmallow necklace of Taglioni.

Taglioni also pulled out a gun and shot Cerrito for taking an extra bow.

I have to say that certain balletomanes did not enjoy this parody.

Link to post

Aw, darn, and I wasn't there for that one! wink.gif

Even when Dolin was staging his version campy, he'd sometimes cut back, and go, "No, no, we're over the line here. It's too hammy." Problem is, he's gone, and the succeeding generations don't know how and where to cut back when it gets "too hammy". frown.gif

Link to post

I'd love to see a video of Pas de Quatre....

I remember the Trockadero versoin as a deliriously beautiful thinfg, actually beautifully danced, and hte jokes about th e odd things ballerinas DO (like walking on high half-toe, were at least as funny as the cat-fight, and hte funniest thing of all was how much I enjoyed seeing the final tableau over and over and over --

I didn't want it to end, life would be too too ordinary, and I was delighted to have applause milked out of me if they could just keep it from ending...... "Don't leave me," I could almost hear myself say it, I realized they'd made me aware that I felt it, and it made me realize what a contribution they were making....

Link to post

are you saying paul, that you're unaware or 'le grand pas de quatre' being on commercial vid?

when i put my videography togeth. for my book there were 4 different versions (two incomplete) round (p. 563) and i didn't mention the one that was on the 'era of romantic ballet' as that tape had at that point been discontinued, tho' it's still around in any number of collections.

i don't know if the trocks are putting that version on the vid. they've either just released or are about to release. but it's probably worth exploring this avenue too.

Link to post

Sorry Novamom, I have no ebay info. A good friend linked me to that particular auction.

I have a little trivia to share. In Tommy Tune's NINE the famous tableux pose is done during the song The Germans at the Spa.

Link to post

Dear Robert,

I am confessing my ignorance of that fact -- which is kind of embarrassing, since I not only could have read it in your book, I DID read it in your excellent book -- but I have not been around anybody who had a copy to borrow or sell. I'd love to see one.

Link to post
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...