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Paquita variation

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I am trying to get information about this variation-

What character is dancing it? where in the ballet does it come? who was it choreographed by? what is the dances' meaning? I bought a DVD of Paris Opera performing Paquita but it is not on the dvd and I couldn't even find the music with a different dance to it!

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Marina, this dance is commonly referred to as the Harp Variation: music by Drigo, created for the 1892 Mariinsky revival of Taglioni's La Sylphide; choreography by Petipa. First danced by Varvara Nikitina in the context of Sylphide. This and many other bon-bons from the Petipa candy box of variations were inserted into a gala version of the Paquita Grand Pas sometime in the 1899-1902 timeframe. Several ballerinas' memoires mention a Paquita Grand Pas having been performed in the Farewell Gala of Enrico Checchetti during the 1901/02 season, in which all of the great Imperial ballerinas of the era took part; Pavlova performed a lovely variation to harp music at this Cechetti gala, most likely this variation. The number has been retained as the main ballerina's variation in subsequent Mariinsky-Kirov revivals of the Grand Pas. (Nowadays, all balletomanes think of Paquita Grand Pas and not Sylphide when listening to this music!)

The POB DVD of the full-length Paquita by Lacotte would not have this or any other interpolated solo in the Act III Grand Pas. POB includes solos for only Paquita herself (the 'jete variation' which was created by Petipa/Minkus for an early-1880s revival of the full Paquita ballet) & for Lucien.

I hope that this helps. :)

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OFF TOPIC: Just to comment on Marina's video clip. Lopatkina is stunning.

Dancing with this kind of lighting -- a stark white figure against a black background and on a black floor -- is very exposing as to line, etc. Everything is etched. No fudging, no blurring.

Her sense of timing made me feel that her body was actually CREATING the music, not just responding to it.

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But in the context of the Grand Pas-(even without the lost, preceding acts)-, and being the whole scene a festive affair, it is fair to conclude that this character is indeed "someone" -(name it one of Paquita's friends, or family member, or a lady-in-waiting etc...right?)-dancing/celebrating Paquita's nuptials. So I understand where are you coming from, Marina...

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There aren't that many characters IN Paquita to fill up all the variations which CAN be tipped into this "Grand Pas" (which never happens in the original scenario, anyway).

I see it just as in Raymonda...lots and lots of courtiers and family members and friends dancing around in a wedding party. I never felt the need to know their names or what their specific link with the main character was to find their celebratory dancing completely logical and certainly non-plotless. There's a wedding party going on and everyone dances, family and friends...just as we do in 2011.

Now, a weirder, harder example to determine could be, let's say, the "demi-girl" in Scotch Symphony... Plotless or not...? "real" character or not..? Effie's nemesis or just a girl who happens to be a reminder of Effie in a ballet that happens to have another girl dressed in a Sylph-like costume interacting with a boy who happens to be a James-look alike...? Why is she dancing and why is this "character" so smily and happy...?

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