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Least Favorite Variation

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On 3/27/2012 at 7:46 AM, Helene said:

I don't like Jester variations in "Swan Lake". I dislike almost all of Nureyev's male variations, finding them fussy and overdone. I'm not a fan of Ali in "Le Corsaire" and prefer the variations to be done by Conrad. I never liked the Sugar Plum Fairy variation in the version of "The Nutcracker" that was filmed with Gelsey Kirkland.

So funny... Kirkland doing the Sugar Plum Fairy variation in Baryshnikov's Nutcracker is one of my all time favorites. I watched it a million times and could probably do the choreography for it right now (albeit, badly). 

My least favorite of the traditional ballets would be the jesters in Swan Lake.

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8 hours ago, BalanchineFan said:

So funny... Kirkland doing the Sugar Plum Fairy variation in Baryshnikov's Nutcracker is one of my all time favorites. I watched it a million times and could probably do the choreography for it right now (albeit, badly). 

That little scooch-forward-step she does always seemed awkward, but she made it work. I love the pas de trois with Minz, especially the way they pass her back and forth overhead. There's also some very tricky partnering you don't see elsewhere, e.g., when Baryshnikov uses one arm on her waist to turn her around.

If you haven't looked at it recently:

 

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On 11/29/2019 at 3:06 AM, BalanchineFan said:

So funny... Kirkland doing the Sugar Plum Fairy variation in Baryshnikov's Nutcracker is one of my all time favorites. I watched it a million times and could probably do the choreography for it right now (albeit, badly). 

My least favorite of the traditional ballets would be the jesters in Swan Lake.

I love Kirkland's SPF variation in MB's Nutcracker too and have also watched it a ton.  I've always disliked her unfortunate costume.

My least favorite is Puss 'n Boots with Red Riding Hood a close second.

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On 11/29/2019 at 5:13 PM, California said:

That little scooch-forward-step she does always seemed awkward, but she made it work. I love the pas de trois with Minz, especially the way they pass her back and forth overhead. There's also some very tricky partnering you don't see elsewhere, e.g., when Baryshnikov uses one arm on her waist to turn her around.

If you haven't looked at it recently:

 

Thanks, California!  And Marta, I always liked the costume. It seems very young girlish, and Kirkland is so incredibly delicate in it.

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12 hours ago, BalanchineFan said:

Thanks, California!  And Marta, I always liked the costume. It seems very young girlish, and Kirkland is so incredibly delicate in it.

I can't disagree about the young girlish aspect, I just wished it looked less like a nightgown and more like a Juliet costume.  Kirkland is incredibly delicate with a weightless jump and seems to barely touch the ground.

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Canari qui chante and Violente, which are somehow bland and anxiety-inducing at the same time.

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Like @cubanmiamiboy --at least as he felt in 2012-- I'm not crazy about Odile's variation, at least in the "traditional" versions I've seen, though the historical provenance issue is not what keeps me from loving it. I almost never find anyone genuinely beautiful in it--even in an "evil" way.  It vaguely seems to me that Guillem made an impression on me in it, and maybe one or two others, but basically I find it overly fussy--which I think is my way of responding to what he described as its coming across as overly mechanical or academic. I do find it impressive when someone brings a bit of speed to the variation, but I doubt it will ever be a favorite.

Edited by Drew

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Odile's 32 fouettés. If I could go back in time and erase them from ballet history, I would. 

Bonus: Any variation in any ballet by any choreographer that showcases hops on point. 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

Odile's 32 fouettés. If I could go back in time and erase them from ballet history, I would. 

Word.

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On 12/3/2019 at 11:59 AM, Kathleen O'Connell said:

Odile's 32 fouettés. If I could go back in time and erase them from ballet history, I would. 

Bonus: Any variation in any ballet by any choreographer that showcases hops on point. 

This made me laugh. Having been on pointe, I ALWAYS think "Ow, ow, ow" in rhythm to any hops on pointe.

Edited by BalanchineFan

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1 hour ago, BalanchineFan said:

This made me laugh. Having been on pointe, I ALWAYS think "Ow, ow, ow" in rhythm to any hops on pointe.

Well, that's my response too, and the closest I've ever come to being on pointe is four-inch heels. It's hard to enjoy watching someone do something that looks so painful, and for so little aesthetic benefit to boot. Like traveling arabesques, they flatter no one IMO.

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12 minutes ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

...and for so little aesthetic benefit to boot.

I think the ones in Ballo Della Regina, at least, have tremendous aesthetic benefit, but that’s of course a subjective opinion. (And I suppose hops on both pointes may not be quite as painful.) Also the corps ones in final movement of Concerto Barocco.

Edited by nanushka

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But the Ballo ones don't turn one element into a litmus test, they are short and sweet and ride the momentum.

 

Plus, they were originally pique turns in a circle that didn't work for teevee, and Balanchine switched to the tele-friendly fouttes.  Are they en dedans as well?

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13 minutes ago, nanushka said:

I think the ones in Ballo Della Regina, at least, have tremendous aesthetic benefit, but that’s of course a subjective opinion. (And I suppose hops on both pointes may not be quite as painful.) Also the corps ones in final movement of Concerto Barocco.

Sigh. I don't really like those either, but I was thinking mostly of poor Giselle having to do a whole diagonal of them. The hops in Ballo do seem to fit into the just-shy-of-a-circus trick flavor of much of the ballerina's choreography. 

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4 minutes ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

Sigh. I don't really like those either, but I was thinking mostly of poor Giselle having to do a whole diagonal of them. The hops in Ballo do seem to fit into the just-shy-of-a-circus trick flavor of much of the ballerina's choreography. 

Right, I figured you had in mind mostly the more extensive (and single-foot) sort. Was just thinking, though, that they can at times be used to finer aesthetic effect. Unlike in Giselle, I find the ones in Ballo to be quite dancerly.

6 minutes ago, Helene said:

But the Ballot ones don't turn one element into a litmus test, they are short and sweet and ride the momentum.

 

Plus, they were originally pique turns in a circle that didn't work for teevee, and Balanchine switched to the tele-friendly fouttes.  Are they en dedans as well?

Completely agree on the first point. On the second, though, were the expanding hops on pointe added for TV as well? I didn't recall that. In any case, they're still a fine addition to the choreography, I'd say.

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OK - I took dive into some videos and I think I've figured out what bugs me about hops on pointe: the persistent and unresolved bend in the leg and the backward tilt of the foot behind the pointe. It just never looks right somehow: I think of ballet's basic energy trajectory as being up-and-out and there's something about hops on pointe that seems to violate that expectation.  That, and they look painful.

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Sorry, my mistake: I was thinking about the fouettes  in the coda :blushing:.

Ashley wrote in her book that Balanchine gave a ton of hops en pointe in class, and there were lots of bruised toes.  IIRC, it was right after a big break, too.  I don't remember if that was also right after she scraped her feel on coral reef in Hawaii.

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Lilac fairy variation for me! Those awkward pique turns into fondu tendu side up the diagonal. It just seems like almost every dancer has trouble with them and I'm always cringing in anticipation! 😁

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On 3/27/2012 at 3:39 AM, Kerry1968 said:

The Princess Florine variation from The Sleeping Beauty. That music really gets on my nerves :(

I thought that variation was weak, in particular compared to the male variation, until I saw Ludmila Semenyaka dance it!

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I guess most of us have watched the video of the ABT suite of Paquita staged by Makarova. As much as I enjoy the variations danced by Susan Jaffe and Cynthia Harvey, I dislike the variation for Paquita. I find it uninteresting. Perhaps I'm missing something?

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The Kitri variation from Act 3 of Don Q used in the Russian/Soviet videos I've seen. They second part of the choreography is reduced to a classroom exercise for echappe and passe. It drives me nuts every time I see it.

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I can't remember a time I've really cared about the Giselle peasant pas variation even when danced well as it is here.

 

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On 3/27/2012 at 8:55 AM, Birdsall said:

Coffee does seem to go on and on forever.

I might have an exception with Balanchine's, as his tempo is quite faster than the current norm-(usually dreadfully soporific), and his choreo is witty and doesn't involve contorsions.

On 3/27/2012 at 8:55 AM, Birdsall said:

Coffee does seem to go on and on forever.

I might have an exception with Balanchine's, as his tempo is quite faster than the current norm-(usually dreadfully soporific), and his choreo is witty and doesn't involve contorsions.

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