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the scanned card below likely dates from the 1900 Moscow staging of DON QUIXOTE by Aleksandr Gorsky.

the Street Dancer/Mercedes in that production was Sofia Fyedorova, who i believe is shown in this photo.

the flashing dagger blades are rather menacing looking in this pose - they could be seen as more reminiscent of the action in the tragic opera CARMEN (mentioned elsewhere on this site lately) than for the toreadors scene in semi-comic ballet we know of as DON QUIXOTE.


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Great picture, rg, thank!

re: the toreadores and their blades. In Cuba, Alonso uses blades just like those in this scene...in a rather vigorous, violence-driven choreography-(sort of like a fighting mood for the toreadores). The daggers end up lining on the floor, and so Mercedes dances in between them...

I can't remember Villella's take on this scene.

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indeed the toreros and their daggers figure in many a staging of DON Q nowadays - too bad the synthetic floor coverings of most stages are so resistant to the stabbing of the blades into the stage for the little obstacle course set for the street dancer; rarely do these actions achieve their effect by being planted easily and steadily. (i think ABT might have recently tired to put little stands on the ends of the daggers so they could be more successfully 'planted' for the dance.)

the thing i find so unusual about this photo is the fact that the toreadors seem to menace and threaten the Street Dancer whom they are meant to accompany and frame in a friendly and 'decorative' manner. maybe this was an example of Gorsky's 'moscow art theater' realism?

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