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Balanchine's 1958 Nutcracker.


cubanmiamiboy

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I just discovered the few clips on Youtube for the '58 recording of City Ballet's Nutcracker, and wow...what a beauty. I had heard of Mitchell's original variation for the Arabian Dance, but not until now had I seen it. I know that the Imperial production had a male character here, so I loved to see Balanchine's faithful rendition of the past-(I think this is the ONLY time I've seen this variation done by a male....and to be honest, I loved it more than the one he reworked later on). Toward the end Mitchell can be seen smoking a hookah, and right away he seems to get into sort of a trance that eventually makes him go to sleep. Is there a reference to opium by any chance...? Oh, that would be a total horror for modern America I would say...

Adams' Sugar Plum variation is just so crispy...the music plays faster and it has in general a way better sense of movement than the slowed down modern renderings. Her flowing costume was also more beautiful than the little mauve number we know-(which I think is a bit poor looking)

Kent's Dewdrop was just amazing.

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I had heard of Mitchell's original variation for the Arabian Dance, but not until now had I seen it. I know that the Imperial production had a male character here, so I loved to see Balanchine's faithful rendition of the past

I didn't know that, but now I better appreciate Balanchine's version. One thing I love about that recording is Balanchine's hammy Drosselmeyer.

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Well, helene, Christian, et al -- perhaps you haven't seen the pink-elephants ballet in the DISNEY movie. Americans knew hookahs very well, and weren't always so averse.

But my hunch is that it's marijuana he's supposed to be smoking -- so ARABIAN-- assassins=hashish and all no question, Arabian is dance about smoke, the arms should be like smoke; Americans knew about all this from Ruth St Denis and DW Griffith and Hollywood Sheiks.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8mVKL4RHxg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHeFx-jf8OY

Most Americans knew this kind of dance from vaudeville and carnival hootchie-kootchie, which was sometimes I'm sure very well-danced. Mark Morris himself dances the Arabian dance -- or did until recently -- in his "Hard Nut" version of Nutcracker as a FABULOUS imitation of Isadora Duncan in veils, with veiled reference to the assassins.

Balanchine of course knew better than most of us do the Arabian dance that Fokine choreographed for Glinka's opera "Ruslan and Ludmila," which is a whole scene, a magic-induced vision that Ludmila's Arabian suitor endures -- Fokine echoes Bayaderka in this, the scene is almost on the scale of "Shades." When SF Opera and Gergiev's Maryinsky revived the opera, we in SF were dazzled by the production and amazed to see the pictures we knew from Diaghilev's Festin de Pierre come to life -- it was one of the productions Diaghilev brought to Paris in the very first Ballets Russes tours, renamed Festin -- it was really the last act of "Ruslan and Ludmila," and a VERY GREAT THING IT WAS.

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Well, helene, Christian, et al -- perhaps you haven't seen the pink-elephants ballet in the DISNEY movie. Americans knew hookahs very well, and weren't always so averse.

But my hunch is that it's marijuana he's supposed to be smoking -- so ARABIAN-- assassins=hashish and all no question, Arabian is dance about smoke, the arms should be like smoke; Americans knew about all this from Ruth St Denis and DW Griffith and Hollywood Sheiks.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8mVKL4RHxg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHeFx-jf8OY

Most Americans knew this kind of dance from vaudeville and carnival hootchie-kootchie, which was sometimes I'm sure very well-danced. Mark Morris himself dances the Arabian dance -- or did until recently -- in his "Hard Nut" version of Nutcracker as a FABULOUS imitation of Isadora Duncan in veils, with veiled reference to the assassins.

Lily Verlaine, a local burlesque performer, dances a version of Arabian to the Ellington score as an homage to coffee in front of a gigantic cup of coffee, compete with "steam." Her gestures are very like St Denis' in Incense, in relationship to the curling movement of the steam, and at the end of the number she's lowered into the cup as if into a steambath.

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Thank you Christian, for bringing up the suhbject in he first place, and for posting the links. All of them are wonderful, just wonderful I love the fresh tempos. Watching those flowers do those steps that big and that fast and that close together is truly thrilling.....

and Sandy that's choice, truly FABULOUS!! That girl gets it.

Lily Verlaine is pretty good by itself!

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Thanks for the clips and the discussion. Elizabeth Kendell in Balanchine and the Lost Muse, which I'm just reading, also speculates on the range Balanchine's memory of – and debt to – Fokine ballets.

Also the "snapshot" of Divertimento #15 in 1961 that Clifford posts alongside Nutcracker is pretty amazing – very free and fast and with different accents than today (as Clifford notes). Can anyone tell if Verdy is the third dancer?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wxfx_TVQgME

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He was clearly smoking from a hookah. No bong, no joint, no hash cigar.

What movie do the pink elephants come from?

Dumbo!

From the Disney Wiki

"The Pink Elephants are hallucinations that Dumbo and Timothy Mouse have after drinking the champagne that the clowns accidentally drop in Dumbo's water bucket"

Apparently there has been speculation that instead of champagne, Dumbo and his friends were taking LSD

And here is the scene itself

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and Sandy that's choice, truly FABULOUS!! That girl gets it.

Lily Verlaine is pretty good by itself!

She is indeed a remarkable artist. This is a recent film -- the editing is a bit busy, so you don't get a sense of her presence on a stage, but you do see some of her gestural work. (If you're curious, click on through to the "video" page -- there's a very brief excerpt from the Coffee variation in the "showreel" tape) As I've been trying to learn more about burlesque, I've been really noticing the gestures, and she's been great to watch.

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Thanks for the clips and the discussion. Elizabeth Kendell in Balanchine and the Lost Muse, which I'm just reading, also speculates on the range Balanchine's memory of – and debt to – Fokine ballets.

Also the "snapshot" of Divertimento #15 in 1961 that Clifford posts alongside Nutcracker is pretty amazing – very free and fast and with different accents than today (as Clifford notes). Can anyone tell if Verdy is the third dancer?

pretty sure the first is carol sumner

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Also the "snapshot" of Divertimento #15 in 1961 that Clifford posts alongside Nutcracker is pretty amazing – very free and fast and with different accents than today (as Clifford notes). Can anyone tell if Verdy is the third dancer?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wxfx_TVQgME

That clip is just fantastic, isn't it? Clicking on Show More lists the dancers in order of appearance: Carol Sumner, Patricia McBride, (both very young) Jillana, Violette Verdy, Jonathan Watts, and the incredible Patricia Wilde.

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Also the "snapshot" of Divertimento #15 in 1961 that Clifford posts alongside Nutcracker is pretty amazing – very free and fast and with different accents than today (as Clifford notes). Can anyone tell if Verdy is the third dancer?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wxfx_TVQgME

That clip is just fantastic, isn't it? Clicking on Show More lists the dancers in order of appearance: Carol Sumner, Patricia McBride, (both very young) Jillana, Violette Verdy, Jonathan Watts, and the incredible Patricia Wilde.

There's plenty of interest, not to say delight, in watching these valuable old "desert island" videos, but we have another thread where links to old and new Balanchine performances were posted, and it was shut down. What's changed? I love this stuff, and I want to share the fun, and see it shared, and so I'm curious.

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