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Interview w. Ratmansky


Drew
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I don't know why that posted twice. Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed that clip very much, and I would love to see that SL reconstruction just as I fully enjoyed the SB reconstruction. I think it is important to know what might have been what the originals looked like. However, in that clip I miss the lovely high Russian attitudes as Odette comes out. For me personally this reconstruction hardly has any dancing in it! LOL But it is lovely and fascinating to watch.

What strikes me about this clip is how I expected it to be totally 180 degrees different from the Mariinsky's version, but I actually found it pretty similar in spirit except the reconstruction has less dancing.

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It was thrilling to see the lovers in their boat as they were joined in the land of the dead. Almost exactly as in the ending of the David Blair production for ABT that was my first Swan Lake. But I, too, wasn't sure how I felt about the more 'naturalistic' intimate style of acting in relation either to the Tchaikovsky music--which is nothing if not mythic--or even to the rest of the choreography. (Canbelto mentions the lovers' "tight embraces.") I can't judge of its accuracy of course (not just the gestures, which I know are notated, but their 'flavor' so to speak). A combination of classical ballet with somewhat more everyday gesture is characteristic of Ratmansky's own choreography.

If the reconstruction appears to have 'less dancing' in this clip, I think that's because you don't have a danced physical fight between Rothbart and Siegfried. That's a Sovietism I, for one, can live without.

I'm a little puzzled by the claim I have seen that this production gets rid of 'swan' arms. What I consider swan arms are decidedly there in that clip (as I was happy to see).

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Actually, the Rothbart fight is not what I was referring to. In the Mariinsky/Sergeyev version Odette comes onto stage dancing and does quite a lot of things including about 4 high attitudes that I love (not in a row but one stage right then stage left and then the same thing again later). She also goes down onto the floor and does a great back bend. During the duet she and Siegfried do almost a retelling of their first meeting (not exactly but a lot of steps, poses, moves that are similar to in the first swan scene).So apparently none of this is "original," but I love much of it, and I miss it when watching the reconstruction clip above. But the reconstruction also has its fascinating and beautiful moments too.

It is funny about Rothbart b/c I was just semi-debating another friend on this matter. To tell you the truth Rothbart does not bother me, even when he is writhing around on stage which I admit does look silly for the most part. My focus is mostly on Odette and what she's doing (although at that point she is just lying in a fainted state LOL) and even Rothbart's antics do not destroy anything for me. I do like that in the Mariinsky version Odette attempts to protect Siegfried when Rothbart comes back out. It is a chance for Odette to show some spunk. She goes in front of Siegfried and puts her arms out to shield him with her body. So for me that is one positive about the Rothbart/Siegfried confrontation although that happens very early in it.

It is "possible" that in 1895 the dancers acted the way they do in the clip above, but I am suspicious about it just like Canbelto and you are. It does seem very 21st century to me. Hard to believe acting in 1895 was the same as 2016 and then in the 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s became very stylized and now 2016 is back to 1895 realism. That doesn't quite make sense. Maybe someone with more knowledge about the history of dramatic acting could fill us in on what was likely or not likely. Regardless of whether the style of acting is correct or not, it does actually make it charming.......it does sort of make Odette more human.

I agree with you, Drew. I think there are swan arms.

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As per the Gramilano interview, it appears that Ratmansky "added" the swan arms for Milan. In Zurich, the female corps did a bit of pumping arms up and down, particularly during exits, but nothing on the lyrical level of the port de bras introduced by Vaganova in her 1930s version for the Kirov (expanded upon by K. Sergeyev in the current Kirov-Mariinsky version).

I'm a bit baffled that Ratmansky didn't take the opportunity of being in Milan to expand the ballroom Neapolitan Dance to the originally-intended 16 couples...yet he seems to have reversed himself (caved into 21st-C expectations?) with the swan corps.

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