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Tallchief Eglevsky Raymonda Pas de Dix

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It is funny. Some years ago I saw this danced by MCB and loved it and thought it to be one of my favorites from my recently acquired "new" Balanchine repertoire. Back then I hadn't seen any Raymonda...not even on video. Later on I purchased the Bessmertnova DVD-(still my favorite...she is "my" Raymonda)-and now, after all the digging and exposure this ballet is having, watching it again I realize that it doesn't fit anywhere nearby its former position in my mind.

It's amazng though how B.,after so many years post his last Raymonda viewing as a young man, was able to "transplant" it to new soil. Entire sequences-(particularly Raymonda's piano variation)-are strikingly the same as in the original choreography.

Eglevsky's muscular, compact body looks as if having a life of its own, being able to be as weightless and airy as if he was as thin as Jose Martinez from the POB.

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It's interesting that in the credits, the choreography is credited solely to Balanchine, without the familiar "after Petipa" added. That's true both on these wonderful clips and also on the current NYCB site:


It does seem as though major movement ideas and steps come from Petipa, so I'm curious Petipa is not acknowledged. Was there concern that people wouldn't properly credit Balanchine's overall genius? Did they assume in the 1950s that nobody seeing this clip on American TV (or in the American theater) would have seen the Russian Raymonda? Or perhaps they thought Balanchine had modified so much that Petipa no longer deserved any credit?

I see that for Balanchine's Swan Lake (1951), they give credit to "after Ivanov," although I don't know if that's how it was always credited when it premiered.


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These clips are from Pas de dix, listed as a distinct work on the current repertory list of NYCB. They list it as premiering in 1955 with Tallchief and Eglevsky, and the date on these YT clips is 1955:


For NYCB, Balanchine did three ballets using music from Raymonda, but none appears to have been full length. Along with Pas de dix:

Cortege Hongrois (1973): http://www.nycballet...rep.html?rep=53

The text on this notes that it is a "tribute" to Petipa.

Raymonda Variations (1961): http://www.nycballet...ep.html?rep=151

The text for this one says:

After leaving Russia, Balanchine and the ballerina Alexandra Danilova mounted the full-length Raymonda for the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in 1946.
Was this performed in the United States? With Europe in ruins, I'm guessing it was, but don't know.
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"Choroegraphy by George Balanchine" (1984) notes that the credit "'Pas de Dix' by George Balanchine, after Marius Petipa" was used in later stagings. John Martin in the New York Times says: "a grand divertissement a la Petipa" "refashioned in his own style until it actually becomes his own" (1955 & 1956). Clive Barnes in a 1967 review of the Joffrey revival says a bit acidly, "Although the choreography is ascribed to Mr. Balanchine, in fact much of it is an adaptation of Marius Petipa's 19c classic 'Raymonda.' (Nowadays Mr. Balanchine even attibutes all of 'Swan Lake, Act II' to himself, a curious conceit probably permissable to genius.)" But earlier he had written that it was a "lustrous realization of a Petipa work."

I find "Pas de Dix" to be something akin to a piano reduction of an orchestra score, stripped down in a modernist style. It's also broader and more of a burlesque than the original, especially in some of Eglevsky's moves, such as the in-turned knees.

"Choreography" also mentions that for San Francisco Ballet's 1960 "Variations de Ballet" parts of "Pas de Dix" were combined with Lew Christensen's choreography to Glazounov's suite "Scenes de Ballet," Op. 52 (revised 1981). Also that Balanchine had staged the Petipa choreography for Diaghilev in 1925.

The 1955 cast included Barbara Tallis, Constance Garfield (solos), Jane Mason, Barbara Walczak, Shaun O'Brien, Roy Tobias, Roland Vazquez, Johnathan Watts. There was also "foursome for the boys" (Martin) that is not in the Canadian film/video.

Alternate casts included Erik Bruhn with Maria Tallchief and Patricia Wilde with Eglevsky. In one of Frank O'Hara's books a 1961 menu dejeuner for Bill Berkson features a dish called "Poisson Pas de Dix au style Patricia [Wilde]."

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Thanks for listing the corps/demi-soloists on the film, Quiggin. Based on historical photos and the list of the premiere's cast in 'Repertory in Review,' I had picked-out Barbara Walczak as one of the two demi-soloists in the female duet. What a sparkling, exotic-looking dancer. She would have been an stand-out in any era!

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The library's listing appears to put the film at 1957:

Pas de dix (ca. 17 min.) / originally telecast on November 5, 1957; choreography, George Balanchine; music, Alexandre Glazounov; danced by Maria Tallchief, André Eglevsky, and members of New York City Ballet [including Barbara Fallis and Barbara Walczak in the female variations, and Richard Thomas, Jonathan Watts, and Shaun O'Brien].

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I had picked-out Barbara Walczak as one of the two demi-soloists in the female duet. What a sparkling, exotic-looking dancer. She would have been an stand-out in any era!

Also the second soloist, is it Constance Garfield?, is delightful.

The New York Times December 4, 1955 review notes that Maria Tallchief was returning to the company after a year away and required a new role, that "there is never enought money to make a full-scale ballet with score and production," so Balanchine "went back to one of the ballets of his youth for inspriation."

The variation for Miss Tallchief ... fits Miss Tallchief like a glove. Andre Eglevsky has fared only slightly less well at the choreographer's hands. He is a difficult man to choreograph for after a succession of seasons, for he confines himself assiduously to a handful of technical devices that he executes well and apparently declines to branch out in any direction. ... The wonder is that [balanchine] has thought up still further combinations [for him], tricky, demanding and essentially rewarding."

As much as I love to watch Eglevsky, he does seem to have strange expressions of skepticism on his face from time to time. John Martins' comment on his limitations is interesting.

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