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Well, maybe there's BEEN a Serenade topic and I just haven't found my way to that thread......

(And I'm not complainging about the "Sleeping Beauty" thread - I'm fascinated, and all you who've had a chance to see the Kirov should -- PLEASE -- keep at it, post any observations and all that come to mind about it..... DId it have a BIG FOUNTAIN when the Lilac Fairy came to the rescue? You can hear it in her music -- what was it like? Has anybody else ever thought of Aurora's balances in the Rose Adagio as rising like a fountain, for I remember Elizabeth Loscavio just rising out of the ground like a fountain....

But ...

I'm eager to know about Serenade.... how much has it changed since White Plains? did Balanchine choreograph all 4 movements for the Warburg estate performance? when did the pirouettes>Giselle whirls come in, how far back do they go?

I think it's generally thought that Balanchine tinkered with it a lot over time, but is that so? How has it grown? Has any ballerina ever dominated it? Anybody remember what RUthanna Boris was like in it? or Allegra or Maria or Tanny? or Gisella Caccialanza?


[ March 03, 2002, 11:16 PM: Message edited by: Paul Parish ]

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Paul, we may well add a Ballets forum in the future. The Ballets in Detail was put up to concentrate on one ballet at a time. (Former discussions are in the Archives.)

Since your questions are mostly about 'way past performances, I'm going to move this one to Ballet History and see what comments it fetches smile.gif

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Some of the textual changes in Serenade are documented in "George Balanchine: A Catalogue of Works" - here's what it says -

Male dancer added to the Waltz in '36.

The solo parts were combined for a single ballerina in '40 for the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, also two men were used. The Tema Russo was added at that time and Tchaikovsky's original scoring was used, rather than George Antheil's as was used originally. The three ballerinas started wearing their hair loose in the Elegy in approximately 1977. It also states that in the NYCB production that toured to London in '50, five ballerinas divided the solo parts and productions in '53, '55 and '58 had four ballerinas. The steps were essentially the same, but divided differently.

When I did an interview with Barbara (Milberg) Fischer in '97 she mentioned Balanchine making small changes to Serenade in the 50's ("Tchaikovsky came to me in a dream last night and said it was all right.")

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I have a book of photos by Serge Lido which shows the costumes used when Balanchine mounted Serenade for the Paris Opera Ballet in 1947. The women are waring strapless bodices which finish in hanging panels over short, pleated tulle skirts, finishing about halfway down the thigh. They also weasr long gloves and quite elaborate headdresses. Each of the two women is wearing a different colour - one dark, one light (it's a black and white picture). There's also an elaborately draped structure in the background.

It must have looked very different. But I gather from a contemporary account (Lincoln Kirstein's sister) that Balanchine was delighted with the costumes.

[ March 04, 2002, 12:18 PM: Message edited by: Alymer ]

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In Danilova's autobiography, she writes "Of all Mr. B's ballets that I danced, the one I adored most was Serenade. The music is like a wave--I love to dance to this music, because it's very close to the Russian heart. Balanchine called Serenade a ballet that takes place by the light of the moon, and I've always thought this a marvelous idea, because the shine of the moon is so cold and disturbing, a little bit treacherous and very mystical. I danced the first girl, who enters at the beginning. She is a butterly, having romances with everybody. And then along comes a married man with his wife: they walk, and in their path is this girl. The man has an attraction fo rher, they dance; but for him it isn't serious, and in the end he continues along the road with his wife. The girl is seeking, suffering, and then she is alone, turning to her friends. I asked Mr. B., and this was his explanation. And somehow, I think the part I danced--that girl was me."

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In Francis Mason's book "I remember Balanchine" several dancers spoke of Serenade.

Annabelle Lyon: "When he originally did Serenade in 1934, the first movement concluded with the entire cops de ballet doing a sequence of fouettes (later he changed it to pique turns). I couldn't do fouettes, so he had me run offstage just before that. Then, before the waltz began, he brought me back. I was one who comes in late, looking for her place. Now when people try to put a meaning to that, it always tickles me."

Marie-Jeanne: "Today, when Serenade is danced, it is very Fokiney. But it was not at all like that. It was very sharp, very precise. Balanchine redid Serenade for me. He reset it so that I did all the little solos at the same time that he added the Russian dance. This was in 1940 for Denham Ballet Russe. Later on, I danced Serenade with the New York City Ballet.

Danilova: "I danced in Serenade (at the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo). At that time Serenade only had one heroine. The girl in the ballet who leads the boy to the girl who lies on the floor is his wife. I asked Balanchine who she was, and he told me that. She was his wife and together, he said, they pass down the road of life. I, the girl on the floor, was pitied by the man, but I was a fribolous girl who had one affair after another. Then I was left alone."

[ March 05, 2002, 06:44 AM: Message edited by: Dale ]

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