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November 13, 2014 in Nutcracker
Thank you very much for posting the two films.
I enjoyed the insight into watching the Nutcracker rehearsal but became puzzled in the second film of Markova's dancing as I have seen much better examples of her on film.
However, when Markova is coaching the French dancers for me she really brings it all to life.
PS Watching the film of Markova a second time I have posted below.
Markova looks to me very young in that amateurish film, Leonid...somewhat far from the more austere image from her bulk of online photos and even clips-(Giselle...). Still...her dancing already has that airy, sharp quality I admire so much of her. There's an attack, a CENTERED attack I see in her dancing..a quality that seems to be lacking in modern ballerinas..even in the contorsionists of the world.
Collier's coaching is also so revealing. I never get tired of this Ivanov choreo...it is probably my all time favorite PDD adagio..even more than SB.
And... all this coaching...it is all "Made in England"... ;-)
Markova I think is marvellous - in that 1942 version - with those stunning gargouillards and the manner in which she talks about to the young French dancer is quite lovely and for me, she comes alive completely with what is a truly magnificent memory.
I am not sure I really care for Danilova's sparky and spiky quality. Almost like the RB Ashton style of earlier times, quick and staccato and very short breathed.
Markova had true lyricism in her performance and as a friend remarked allied to that great quality which all great artists have - the suspension of time and the feeling that they all the time in the world to execute those movements without showing the slightest element of their difficulty.
I wish doug would do a W&P session with a reconstructed example of this Pas...(hint hint.. ;-)
What might be even more interesting would be a compare/contrast session with several different approaches to the music. Pacific Northwest Ballet is going to switch out Nutcrackers next year to the Balanchine version -- might be a good time to really look at the ballet in its historic context.
I loved Markova's legs and feet, but found her upper body and especially her arms, aside from when they were in high fifth, rather lifeless. I much preferred Danilova both from the waist up and in the way her upper and lower body matched in style and energy.
I can't help but be struck by all the "shhh" comments Markova makes and the "shhh" pose in the varation ... it is at the chin at 10:51 and Markova then speaks a moment about "it's not just to say to them 'shhhhh'"...... ... and wonder if perhaps the Sugarplum weren't the soothing cough drop after Prince Whooping Cough's tarantella?.... Perhaps the prince was more of an elfin prince then than the knightly prince we have him as? I wouldn't want to push this idea, I'm not sure it's a good idea, but it kind of fascinates me that possibly there is yet another interpretation... After all, perhaps someone here knows... was the Tarantella a dance ever done by nobility? I was under the impression it was more of a street dance than a court dance... but I really wouldn't know...
It just makes me think of those images of the Smith Brothers lozenges and wonder if cough drops weren't a late 19th century invention...?