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Paquita! Who Choreographed What?

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I have been trying to figure out who choreographed seven Paquita variations...

I am using numbering from a recording by the Sofia National Opera Orchestra with Boris Spassov, I believe, conducting.

Variation No. 1 -

Variation No. 2 -

Variation No. 3 -

Was this by Petipa for Pavlova in 1904?

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Variation No. 4 -

This is the one Gorsky put in Don Q... But it is Petipa? Made for Nikitina?

Variation No. 5 -

Was this by Fokine?

Variation No. 6 -

Variation No. 7 -

It all gets so confusing!! So many elements seem to get repeated between variations, one wonders if that crept in over time or was there in the "original" (given that is a loaded term here).

Is it all Petipa?

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I've somehow succeded in having a partial idea on some ballets Grand pas music and choreographies-(SL, SB, Nutcracker, DQ, and more recently Coppelia)-but Paquita...uff, how confusing...! I really can't get into it...blushing.gif

If of any help. here's the transcription of the Youtube user MrLopez2681, who gives a detailed account of the variations as danced in the Bolshoi reconstruction, along with the clip.


**The origins of the variations -

1. Variation danced by Yekaterina Shipulina. Music by Riccardo Drigo (1903). Variation for Anna Pavlova. Taken from Petipa's 1868 "Le Roi Candaule", which the Ballet Master revived in 1891 for Carlotta Brianza. The ballet combined Plutarch & Herodotus's tale of how the Shepherd Gyges usurped the throne of the Kingdom of Lydia from King Candaules via his Queen, Nyssia. In the context of the full-length ballet, this solo was performed during the celebrated bathing scene, when Nyssia dances to her slave's harp. For some reason the Bolshoi has re-orchestrated the music so that the strings are more pronounced, but it is still heard in Drigo's original orchestration in the Mariinsky's staging. Interestingly, this solo also turns up in the Vaganova School's rarely seen "La Sylphide" pas de deux. This was one of Pavlova's favorite variations - she danced it many ballets.

2. Variation danced by Yekaterina Krysanova. Music by Riccardo Drigo (1902). Variation for Olga Preobrajenska (?). Taken from the Ballet Master Achille Coppini's 1902 staging of the Delibes/Minkus "La Source" for the Imperial Ballet. This solo is, I believe, taken from an extra Pas de deux that Drigo wrote for the ballet, which is still performed on occasion by the Vaganova School under the title "The Stream" Pas de deux. The music is always incorrectly credited to Delibes.

3. Variation danced by Natalia Osipova. Music by Ludwig Minkus (year unknown). Modern dancers & balletomanes will recognize this variation as being taken from "Don Quixote", but it is nowhere to be found in the original 5 act piano score. The Bolshoi's program credits this variation as being taken from Jules Perrot's 1855 grand ballet "Armida". Since Cesare Pugni wrote the score for that work I suppose it was written by Minkus ad hoc much later, perhaps for a revival staged by Petipa. Perrot's original production of "Armida" was a dismal failure & did not last long in the repertory, which would make a revival by Petipa unlikely. Interestingly, the music has the same melodic structure as Solor's variation from "La Bayadère".

4. Variation danced by Mariana Ryzhkina. Music by Riccardo Drigo (1901). Variation for Pierina Legnani. When the great Legnani gave her final performance in Russia in 1901 before retiring to her native Italy, she performed in Ivanov's revival of Petipa's 1872 "La Camargo", which told the story of how the 18th century dancer Marie Camargo & her sister Madeleine were abducted for one night by the Comte de Melun. Drigo wrote this variation especially for Legnani's performance, which is legendary in the annals of ballet history - on that evening she demonstrated just why she was the first to obtain the official title of 'Prima ballerina assoluta'. It was very appropriate for the greatest ballerina of the late 19th century to give her farewell performance as the greatest ballerina of the 18th century!

5. Variation danced by Anna Antonicheva. Music by Riccardo Drigo (1891). Variation for Maria Gorshenkova for Petipa's "Le Roi Candaule". This solo survives at the Vaganova School under the incorrect title of "Vestalka", the Russian title for Petipa's 1888 "La Vestale".

**The variations -

I have tried my best to identify the origins of all of the variations that are included in the Bolshoi's reconstruction of the "Paquita" Grand pas classique. I have utilized my complete piano reduction of the pas, as well as the répétiteur for two violins of the Imperial Ballet's production of the full-length "Paquita" that was created ca. 1900 (this répétiteur can be found in the archives of Harvard University's Theatre Collection as part of the Sergeyev Collection). If anyone notices errors or has any questions, please contact me!

All of the different versions of the Grand pas that are performed throughout the world today typically contain various combinations of about 13 variations (& sometimes more!). It is important to note that the majority of these variations are all that remain in performance of whichever 19th century ballet they were extracted from, & many of them were arranged especially for some of the greatest dancers of the late 19th & early 20th centuries. Unfortunately most ballet companies have no clue that these solos are really valuable little pieces of ballet history unto themselves, & all to often know nothing of their history. Even the Bolshoi has gotten some of the information concerning the variations wrong -


I have spliced together 2 different performances in order to show all of the variations for completeness. I was even forced to add in a variation from a Russian news-cast since it was not performed on my DVDs!

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Is this the Legnani variation or is the second one it? It appears to have Ryzhkina in it....

[2. Variation danced by Yekaterina Krysanova. Music by Riccardo Drigo (1902). Variation for Olga Preobrajenska ]. Followed by [ 4. Variation danced by Mariana Ryzhkina. Music by Riccardo Drigo (1901). Variation for Pierina Legnani.]

And this would be Pavlova's variation?

[1. Variation danced by Yekaterina Shipulina. Music by Riccardo Drigo (1903). Variation for Anna Pavlova. ]

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