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For those able to access it there is a documentary available on the French Arte channel until the 29th December called Marius Petipa le maitre francais du ballet russe. It includes Alban Lendorf performing the original choreography for the Prince's solo from act 3  Sleeping Beauty; some of the original designs for La Bayadere and coloured posed photographs of some of the original cast of the Sleeping Beauty. The choreography ranges from sections of Ratmansky reconstructions to Nureyev, Duarto and Lacotte's reimaged Fille du Pharon,


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Thank you, Ashton Fan! Since the link is missing its tail end, I'm reposting it. The film is available in French, French with subtitles, and German.


It's fascinating, though I found the film a bit sloppy, probably because of time constraints. Certainly the heavy use of Swan Lake's white acts, though clarified later, is misleading. If a reinterpretation of Sleeping Beauty was required, I could have done without Nacho Duato's version. Arte is a Franco-German network, so a component from Berlin may have been deemed necessary. But I was still left wondering whether it was a film about Petipa or Tchaikovsky.

(I think Alban Lendorf and Cassandra Trenary would be surprised to learn they are employed by New York City Ballet, as the credits imply.)

Oh, but that animated drum dance! :wub:

Edited by volcanohunter
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I have now had an opportunity to watch the entire documentary and while I agree that it is more than a little muddled in its approach I suspect that the emphasis on the Tchaikovsky ballets is simply the result of the fact that it seems to be aimed at a general audience rather than a specialist one. For many people Swan Lake is the only Petipa ballet they have heard of, it is certainly his most popular work. It is unfortunate that the finished product looks in places as if it was cobbled together from pre-existing material available from French and German sources and that the rest of the documentary was constructed round it. However it is the first documentary in years to be made about a long dead choreographer which has been aimed at a general audience which has been made available to viewers across Europe. It is possible that Danish television produced a Bournonville documentary for his bicentenary but if they did its availability appears to have been far more limited. The documentary is quite daring in that it contains footage in which individuals emphasise the precision and technical skill required to dance the original steps which calls into question the idea that technique has "improved" so much since Petipa created his ballets that their choreographic text should be altered to accommodate these improvements" . I thought that the material about the Ratmansky reconstructions, the technical demands the original choreography makes on the dancers who perform it and the opportunity to see some of the original Sleeping Beauty designs made it worth watching. We can always hope that it might have an effect on future stagings of Petipa's ballets

There is a documentary film about the man who created the animated drum dance. Its creator was a man called Alexander Shiryaev who was a leading character dancer at the Mariinsky during Petipa's later years. He had wanted to film members of the company performing solos but permission was refused so he spent a great deal of his spare time travelling around the Russian Empire filming peasants performing local dances. He did however manage to film the solo "Le petit corsair" which preserved a solo not included in the Sergeyev collectionl. Its preservation on film enabled  Ratmansky to restore the solo to his reconstruction of Le Corsaire. The documentary about Shiryaev is called " A Belated Premiere" it can be found on the internet divided into four parts. It is well worth watching.



Edited by Ashton Fan
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