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ascballerina

Who are the Tribesmen?

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I watched La Bayadere with my sister today, and she asked me who "the guys with the long hair" were. I was forced to reply that I actually didn't know; I assumed they were from a very low caste, but I would find out for her. I'm calling them tribesmen in the title for lack of a better term to describe them. She also wanted to know, and I'm with her on this, where the loyalties of the one who keeps appearing lie. I at first thought that he was helping Solor, but then it looks like he's helping the Rajah a little later...

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Hi ascballerina,

I think the people you are referring to are the "Fakirs" they are the lower cast guardians of the sacred fire. . which takes an integral part in rhe story. The Chief Fakir is the one who informs Nikiya that solor is waiting for her., and that the Brahmin has been watching them. He is also the one who snatches and kills the snake that bites her. Do yiou mean the Brahmin who trys to seduce Nikiya, if so he wants her for himself, but is over rulled by the Rajah. when Nikiya is dying the Brahmin (Chief Priest) offers her an antedote to save her, but when she looks towards Solor, who is in different , she decides to die. Hope that answers you questions.

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On 1/27/2013 at 1:55 PM, ascballerina said:

She also wanted to know, and I'm with her on this, where the loyalties of the one who keeps appearing lie. I at first thought that he was helping Solor, but then it looks like he's helping the Rajah a little later...

His loyalties are definitely with Solor and Nikiya¬†ūüėä He never helps the Rajah. During which part did you think he did?

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The fakir looks that he obeys everyone -Solor, Rajah, Brahmin!

In some performances the fakir gives the basket with the snake to Nikya and he also gives the antidote to Brahmin!

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Fakirs exist in both the Hindu and Islamic religions, they are mendicant monks and in many cases dervishes.   They are not necessarily lower caste, in fact in Islam there are no castes.   All that unites them are vows of poverty,

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1 hour ago, sofiabn said:

In some performances the fakir gives the basket with the snake to Nikya

I've not seen that... That wouldn't make any sense to the story... 

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43 minutes ago, FireDancer said:

I've not seen that... That wouldn't make any sense to the story... 

I think it makes a lot.

After all who could put a snake in a basket if not a fakir?
And even if he is not who gives the basket, he looks that he knows what is about!
At the Bolshoi the fakir gives the basket and then runs to Brahmin like he asks forgiveness.
At the Mariinsky follows the maiden and then returns and gives the antidote to Brahmin.

Anyway, if the fakir doesn't gives the antidote to Brahmin where did he find it or why did he carry one?

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5 minutes ago, sofiabn said:

I think it makes a lot.

After all who could put a snake in a basket if not a fakir?
And even if he is not who gives the basket, he looks that he knows what is about!
At the Bolshoi the fakir gives the basket and then runs to Brahmin like he asks forgiveness.
At the Mariinsky follows the maiden and then returns and gives the antidote to Brahmin.

Anyway, if the fakir doesn't gives the antidote to Brahmin where did he find it or why did he carry one?

I just watched the Bolshoi's. He does give it to her. That's too bad! It makes no sense. Unfortunately, the way it was filmed, I couldn't see the context, whether Magedaveya was made to give the basket by the Rajah etc...

It's WAY better when he sees the Rajah order Aya to do something and follows her to find out how to thwart it hence giving the antidote to the High Brahmin...

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12 minutes ago, FireDancer said:

I just watched the Bolshoi's. He does give it to her. That's too bad! It makes no sense. Unfortunately, the way it was filmed, I couldn't see the context, whether Magedaveya was made to give the basket by the Rajah etc...

It's WAY better when he sees the Rajah order Aya to do something and follows her to find out how to thwart it hence giving the antidote to the High Brahmin...

As I see the story, at the end everyone has reasons to want Nikiya's death.
The Rajah for his daughter, his daughter for Solor, Brahmin becauses she rejects him (his last hope is to save her, but she prefers to die), the fakir because he knows never could have a woman like her, and even Solor too, since he doesn't look too unhappy with this marriage!

 

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Just now, sofiabn said:

As I see the story, at the end everyone has reasons to want Nikiya's death.
The Rajah for his daughter, his daughter for Solor, Brahmin becauses she rejects him (his last hope is to save her, but she prefers to die), the fakir because he knows never could have a woman like her, and even Solor too, since he doesn't look too unhappy with this marriage!

 

The Rajah and Gamzatti, absolutely.

The Brahmin, no, he tries to save her.

The Fakir, no, as he absolutely devoted to God and would never WANT a woman.

Solor, no, as he is in love with her but being made to marry Gamzatti and unable to disobey.

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4 minutes ago, FireDancer said:

The Rajah and Gamzatti, absolutely.

The Brahmin, no, he tries to save her.

The Fakir, no, as he absolutely devoted to God and would never WANT a woman.

Solor, no, as he is in love with her but being made to marry Gamzatti and unable to disobey.

The Brahmin is devoted to God but he has strong feelings for Nikiya, so why not the fakir too?
And he  tries to save her because he hopes she would come to him!

Solor, looks like he fears Rajah more than he loves Nikiya, so maybe he wants to get rid of her. After all Gamzatti is beautiful and rich!
He wouldn't be the first nor the last person that betrays for money and power!

Well, this is the magic of art. We see the same performance but we have so different thoughts and feelings about it at the end.

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3 minutes ago, sofiabn said:

The Brahmin is devoted to God but he has strong feelings for Nikiya, so why not the fakir too?
And he  tries to save her because he hopes she would come to him!

Solor, looks like he fears Rajah more than he loves Nikiya, so maybe he wants to get rid of her. After all Gamzatti is beautiful and rich!
He wouldn't be the first nor the last person that betrays for money and power!

Well, this is the magic of art. We see the same performance but we have so different thoughts and feelings about it at the end.

You're right: the High Brahmin is committing a huge "sin" (way too Western of a word but you get my drift) so to speak by having fallen in love with Nikiya as she points out to him. 

I really don't see the Fakir as loving Nikiya in a non-platonic way. Does anyone else have any thoughts about this? 

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5 minutes ago, FireDancer said:

I really don't see the Fakir as loving Nikiya in a non-platonic way. Does anyone else have any thoughts about this? 

I think Alexandrova said something like that when she danced Gamzatti at the Bolshoi on 2013. And as Gamzatti she didn't say that Nikiya must die but only that she will marry Solor anyway!

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Some nuances on the quadruple love story might have been lost once the Soviets got rid of much of the miming passages. One thing I appreciate from Ratmansky's recon for Berlin is his attention to those passages and their re insertion. The death scene of Nikiya can be quite confusing if the key players don't do their job properly via gesturing, glances etc. One thing I always find very intriguing is the frenzy dance Nikiya does with the basket. Some ballerinas do it with full ample smile, which makes you wonder what's going on in her head or in the librettist head. Even if she thinks it was a gift from Solor he's still getting married. I don't get that too much. One thing I do is attentively look at Gamzatti, Solor and Gamzatti's father and see what their reactions are while she's apparently happily dancing. And attitudes change from production to production. Sometimes Solor is looking down, as if he doesn't even want to look. Sometimes he sort of look as if he senses something weird and bad is happening. Gamzatti usually looks as if she's on it, and same with her father. But it is still a strange passage. I'm sure the original dancers knew more about the exact reaction the librettist and choreographer wanted from them, but now much of it is lost. Although as I said.... Ratmansky has wonderfully restored lots of it in his production. 

To me the basket and snake are being given to Nikiya as a plan from both Gamzatti and her father. Solor needs to be surprised when he sees the gift being handled to her for which he realizes that Nikiya believes it comes from him. The priest is not in the plan. He has the antidote with him, yes ..but I don't think that means he's part of the charade.

Edited by cubanmiamiboy

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I just saw the Mariinsky perform in Berkeley last weekend and their interpretation was very clear.

The gift is from the Rajah as he tells Aya, the slave, to go get it. She tells Nikiya that it's from Solor. Nikiya is thrilled to have a sign that he still loves her and in that moment, is most likely not thinking further ahead than that hence the "happy dance"... Solor realizes that something is amiss but can't really do anything about it. Meanwhile, Magedaveya has followed Aya and procured anti-venom in anticipation of the snake note which he gives to the High Brahmin. 

It made perfect sense :)

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