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publicity photo for Ballet Theatre, 1943

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the scanned photo is said to be from Lichine's HELEN OF TROY, a ballet with connections to Fokine, whose death left the ballet in limbo, only to be revised by Lichine and to Balanchine who assisted Lichine with the ending and is said to have created some of the choreography that concerned Helen as danced by Diana Adams.

i know the ballet only slightly, from some performances in 1967 and don't have strong recollections of it.

the original Faun was, i gather, Nicolas Orloff, of whom i know next to nothing.

the 'nymph' in the center of the trio posed here might be Sono Osato but i can't say that or anything else for certain.

perhaps some BA! members have more definite thoughts about the picture.

in any case, f.y.i.


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After all these years I still have a vision of Jerome Robbins (Hermes??) sauntering across the stage at the Old Met munching an apple. Added to Balanchine's choreography was Robbins'. By the time I saw it Helen was Maria Karnilova.

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to help confirm the identity of this photo as a moment from HELEN a colleague writes:


Now I've looked at two of my standard sources [for entries on HELEN OF TROY], Grace Robert's Borzoi Book of Ballets and Robert Lawrence's Victor Book of Ballet, and the latter has two sentences that may be some help. In the final scene, on the beach, 'Here Mr. Lichine, long associated as a dancer with the title role of Nijinsky's L'Apres-Midi d'un Faune, has interpolated in his choreography a fairly amusing travesty of that ballet's friezelike style. As the trained faun [brought on by a leash by a court lady], overstimulated by the ladies surrounding him, becomes too passionate, he is hustled off." Robert lists Nicolas Orloff as the original Faun


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Those are great memories, atm711. Thank you.

Several NY Times reviews from 1943 (John Martin) mention Karnilova and Robbins. Apparently they began casting the same dancer in the roles of Helen and Aphrodite, which Martin found confusing. Karnilova danced both roles. Osato was the original Aphrodite, but that she then left to perform another Aphrodite on Broadway -- in One Touch of Venus. Vera Zorina was a guest star as Helen around that time.

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