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Finally here..!

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What I knew had to be somewhere finally makes its triumphant entrance in Youtube..!

Here it goes, a text book perfect comparisson on the Sugar Plum Fairy Ivanov choreography, as danced by Alicia Markova-(who learned it first hand from N. Sergueev during the early 30's)


And here, as it was passed along to Sir Peter Wright by Mme. karsavina

And here-(at 0648)-, as Miss Viengsay Valdes is currently dancing it as taught by Mme. Alonso, learned via Alexandra Fedorova.


I hope the future AD's of both the British and the Cuban companies can value, treasure and keep passing along this almost extinct beautiful PDD.

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Thanks Christian for the lovely clips. I had never seen a young Markova dance before - such nice clean technique with an elegant arabesque line. (reminds me of the great Margot). Many years ago I learned this pas de deux from Irene Fokine and then Andre Evglevsky and his wife ( I was guesting with their companies ). It is exactly the same version step by step performed here by Ms Valdes and her partner. It is interesting to me how this choreography has been passed down to different dancers with very little changes . Irene and Andre taught this without any notes and seemed (much like Freddie Franklin) to have an entire repetoire in their heads - everything from their memory. This is still my favorite version.

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Thank you both duffster and sandik for your posts. It is no secret that I'm a huge fan of this Pas. I see a beauty in it probably just compared to that of Aurora's Wedding PDD-(if not more...)- and I never miss a chance to promote and spread its original conception, in an era where the whole ballet-(and this pas particularly)- has suffered so much stabbing. One of the things I value the most from my early ballet viewing was to place the Nutcracker in the same level as the rest of the classics, and here's where the Grand Pas plays its most important role. Along with the Snow Scene and the Waltz of the Flowers, the Grand Pas is a an essential part of the necessary technical elements to compete-(and even win)-over so many other works. Of course, there's also the fact that the PDD was part of the Cuban repertoire back from Alonso's early-(40's)- NYC days, even before she saw Markova dancing it, thanks to the photographic memory that Mme. Fedorova had of it from her dancing days at the Imperial troupe. I can't really say that I hope for a full "come back" of the Grand Pas, given that it is still alive and well kept in more than one troupe, but I would really love to see it nurtured and cherished by the whole ballet world as much as we nurture and cherish the Love Duet from SL. If anything, as I said earlier, I REALLY hope that Mme Alonso and Sir Wright's successors will honor their vision of it.

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I too learnt this variation at the Royal Ballet School in the mid 1960's with exactly the same choreography. It's wonderful that it has been handed down and preserved until now in its original state. The Bolshoi Ballet version is totally different choreography though

as can be seen in this link. The Kirov is different again
. Interesting to know when they first introduced the different choreography, because presumably they also started off with the Ivanov version..........
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Thanks, Cristian, for the topic and the clips, especially the Markova and Valdes performances. Here's an additonal, very charming, one -

Alexandra Davilova, Jacob's Pillow 1952; Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo version after Lev Ivanov:


Thanks, Quiggin for the lovely clip! Mme. Danilova, or course...always a star. I notice, though that she sort of simplifies a bit the variation, for instance, by the absence of the little ronde de jambes with the right leg during the pas de chat sequence-(very explicit in Markova's clip). I also love the kisses blowing detail. That was adorable! ;-)

Thanks, Hamorah for your insight. Both Russian troupes ended up loosing such valuable material, substituting Ivanov for Vainonen-(Kirov/Mariinsky)-and Grigorovitch-(Bolshoi). Gorsky and Lopukhov had paved the path already for the substitutions, though. NYC lost it somewhere probably during the 60's-(I would love to know it the Pas was still danced by the time Lupe Serrano was in BT, and even if it went beyond her generation, to the likes of D'Antuono, given her early career with BRdMC. I think it's time for the Russians to reclaim their Ballet Master masterpiece. A full reconstruction needs to be done ASAP. Meanwhile there is always the Royal and CNB to keep things going.

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Thanks, Quiggin for the lovely clip! Mme. Danilova, or course...always a star. I notice, though that she sort of simplifies a bit the variation, for instance, by the absence of the little ronde de jambes with the right leg during the pas de chat sequence-(very explicit in Markova's clip).

I wouldn't be sure that change/simplification came from her. If you notice all these variations have differences from eachother. Viengsay for example does the early shift in position to an arabesque, while the Royal Ballet version has it a terre.

In fact Danilova does do pas de chats. The others are doing gargouillades--which are similar but should have a round de jamb movement of BOTH legs in the air. In actuality, and as you identified with Markova, this doesn't often happen. The first leg does it, and the second does a normal pas de chat movement (Markova), or sort of kicks out before coming in (Viengsay). The best example of how it is meant to look is the Royal Ballet one (I'm sorry I've totally forgotten her name and watching it embedded all I can see are the wrong names!).

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Thanks, Aurora, for the clarification. Yes, definitely Danilova was older than Markova or Valdes in their clips. I see the step really clear in Collier's clip...the one that resembles more that of Markova.

And of course, there are the small semi-professional ballet companies that have AD's who happen to know the Pas from their dancing days. I remember I posted a while ago a video of the whole pas as staged by Nina Novak to her students, and it was the same step by step. Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami still performs it-(I hope they will do it this year), staged by Magaly Suarez, who knows it from Cuba, although for some reason they change the diagonal, suppressing the gargouillades. This is from a 2008 performance.

Here, the variation with the same substitution by Tuzer ballet.

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