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Roberta

Paquita, the Ballet and the many Grand-Pas variations

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Posted (edited)

I checked this sub-forum and discovered that Paquita did not have its very own thread, so here we go!  In anticipation of the US premiere of the Mariinsky Ballet's full-length version at the Kennedy Center (DC) next week, I was hoping to read into this work, known mainly for the "Paquita Grand Pas" and its multiple variations.

 

So far, I've seen Lacotte's lovely but "imagined" version for Paris, as well as Ratmansky's edition for Bavarian State Ballet (Munich), based on the Stepanov Notes. I love both for different reasons; Lacotte's for the decors and Ratmansky's for the steps/staging, which gives it the edge, as far as I'm concerned. The Mariinsky's, as I've read, is a total reimagining by leading choreographer Yuri Smekalov, with a brand-new scenario and even new characters and names of leading figure (the hero is Andres, not Lucien, for ex). However, my understanding is that the third and final act of the Mariinsky version, with the fabulous Grand Pas Classique, is indeed based on the Harvard notes, as interpreted by Yuri Burlaka (who worked with Ratmansky on the Bolshoi's Le Corsaire from 2007, among other recent reconstructions). Burlaka also staged the Bolshoi's own version of the Paquita Grand Pas, around 2008-2009...a one-hour super-duper version with more variations than normally seen.

 

In addition to thoughts on the full ballet, I'm hoping that somebody may be able to shed light on the various sets of Grand Pas variations. I found this on the web: http://dictionnaire.sensagent.leparisien.fr/ballets+by+paul+fouche/en-en/  (early version of the Wikipedia artile on Paquita, now much shorter than before).

 

Notice that the Kennedy Center casting notes include some information on each of the G-P variations that we'll be seeing :thumbsup:...but no mention of the male variation that follows those by the ballerinas. :(

https://www.kennedy-center.org/calendar/event/BUBSG

Edited by Roberta
adding the KennCen information link

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Posted (edited)

What is your favorite "Petipa Bon-Bon" from among the many variations that appear in various versions of the Paquita Grand Pas?

As hard as it is to decide, I've narrowed it to this one...I think from CAMARGO, originally danced by Legnani. It seems to be a specialty of Vaganova Acad recent (2019) graduate, Alexandra Khiteeva, who performed it in the past three graduation concerts at the Mariinsky. In the following YouTube clip, we see the variation performed twice -- by Khiteeva, then by Mariinsky prima Viktoria Tereshkina, whose aplomb I deeply appreciate, compared with the then-student Khiteeva. So interesting to see two ballerinas in different stages of their development.

Khiteeva, by the way, will be dancing at the Kennedy Center next week, although apparently not in this variation. The KennCen casting indicates that she'll be dancing a variation for CORSAIRE. Tereshkina, of course, will be dancing the lead in the first cast of PAQUITA but I'm not sure if this is the variation that she'll perform. Others -- Chebykina and Shirinkina -- are slated to perform a variation from CAMARGO...but will it be this one?

 

Edited by Roberta

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More on the above PAQUITA-CAMARGO variation. I first fell in love with this when I saw Irina Dvorovenko perform it at the 1990 Jackson ballet competition...so, to me, it will forever be know as "The Dvorovenko Variation" in my book. This is fuzzy but you get the idea. Enjoy!

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

 

One of these days, it would be great if someone with time and resources on their hands could create a video (or YouTube) "Compendium of Paquita Variations."

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My favorite variation is definitely this one at 36:16. I haven't check the different sources that identify the variations. There are so many!-(and they vary from version to version). But I'm very haunted by the music, with the use of the Celesta. I believe this is quite the only instance I've heard this instrument in a ballet variation aside from the uber known Fee Dragee variation of The Nutcracker. Isn't there a story of Tchaikovsky being very mysterious about the use of the instrument in his ballet, for which he wanted to get a first hand grabbing at it, due to being quite a novelty at the time? And if is the case .. is this Paquita variation a pre or post Nutcracker....?

 

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Posted (edited)

Hi & thank you, Cubanmiamiboy/Cristian. This is another favorite of mine. This one is from an early Diaghilev-era ballet, Le Pavillon d'Armide, so it's definitely post-Nutcracker and post-Petipa & Ivanov! Music by Tcherepnin and choreography by Fokine. Since this one never would have been a part of the Paquita Grand-Pas during Petipa's time in charge, I'm not quite sure when it became one of the standard variations in the suite, when performed at the Vaganova Academy or Kirov-Mariinsky. I am guessing that it became standard with Vinogradov's 1978 staging for the main company, although it may have been inserted earlier (by Petr Gusev, in his stagings)? Many of us became familiar with this one when Larissa Lezhnina danced it in the famous 1989/90 film of the Grand Pas by the Kirov (Vinogradov era).

Edited by Roberta
thanks to cmb

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Posted (edited)

The following YouTube channel of the Ural Opera Ballet Theatre in Ekaterinburg, Russia, contains many clips from the most recent reconstruction of the complete PAQUITA, based on the Stepanov notes & related materials. This recent (2018?) staging is credited to the late Sergei Vikharev, although I found it by googling the name of his associate, Pavel Gershenzon, who may have finished the work of Vikharev.  Here you'll also find clips of Vikharev's Fille Mal Gardee and of another Ekaterinburg production of a long-lost Petipa work, King's Command (not sure what this is based on; looks modern). Enjoy poking around this interesting site, including the lovely Paquita clips!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7P_pWfpnZdSv3I7VKPCsUg/videos?disable_polymer=1

In case the above doesn't work, you can start by seeing the Camargo variation that I pointed out above...then 'dig in' by finding other clips. The name of the YouTube site is Ural Opera Ballet.

https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video;_ylt=AwrJ7FVqYZtdlsUAqgZXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTEybWI4ZDFiBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDQjg4NzdfMQRzZWMDc2M-?p=Pavel+Gershenzon&fr=yfp-t#id=7&vid=96f3977b10fba5f0cbc4caedc265a8b6&action=view

 

Edited by Roberta

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Posted (edited)

HowPureisIvory, this lovely variation appears as the first of six female variations in the Burlaka-staged Grand Pas section that ends the the ballet, as currently being performed at the Kennedy Center.

My fave - the violin variation ending in the tough diagonal on pointe with quick-arm-shifting pot de bras is the one danced by the Paquita character. Terioshkina was even more amazing last night than she was in the above film!

Cubanmiamiboy - I'm sorry to report that the Fokine Pavillon d'Armide celeste variation is not being performed here.

 

So these were the female variations seen last night (Oct 8) at the Kennedy Center...with no dancer substitutions or switches, as often happens with this company on tour:

Grand Pas Variations (Act III)
1. by Anna Pavlova in the ballet King Candaules: May Nagahisa
2. Le Corsaire: Vlada Borodulina
3. by Alexandra Shaposhnikova in the ballet Paquita: Anastasia Nuikina
4. by Maria Gorshenkova in the ballet King Candaules: Daria Ionova
5. From the ballet Camargo: Yekaterina Chebykina
6. by Anna Johansson in the ballet Paquita: Viktoria Tereshkina

 

My notes on these six -

1. Drigo - This is the gentle, long variation danced by Lubov Kunakova in the 1990 film of the Kirov's traditional version of the G-P..often called the "Kalkabrino variation" because it also appeared in that ballet. May Nagahisa displayed fine control, particularly nice in her 1st-arabesque positions, in the poses before commencing the actual variation. One could see the effort a bit, however.

2. Zabel - A rarity, even in performances of Corsaire. This is one of Zabel's "harp variations" for the character Gulnare, from the Stepanov-notated late-Petipa Corsaire. IWe saw this in the Burlaka-Ratmansky 2007 Corsaire for the Bolshoi - danced by Gulnara within the "Pas des Eventails (Fans)" at the start of A3. I believe that this dance was created for Olga Preobrazhenska, who danced Gulnare in that late-1890s ('99?) staging by Petipa. In 2019, Vlada Borodulina was especially charming in the use of her face/eyes! This variation is the requisite "cute-and-perky" dance in the Grand Pas, instead of the often-used Don Q "Amour."

3. Minkus...or perhaps Pugni (?), the composer of the 1855 Perrot balled ARMIDA, a name sometimes given to this music/variation - This is the female version of the famous dance performed by Fernando Bujones in the ABT-Makarova film. Nuikina was strong but not totally neat in this.

4. Drigo - this is the gentle "Valse Mignonne" originally from the ballet Vestalka (La Vestale)...no matter what the printed program states about King Candaule!!! Daria Ionova was an elegant angel, perfect. This probably has the most luscious lacy port de bras in the Petipa oeuvre...during the final diagonal.

5. Drigo - from Camargo 1901/02 staging...I've heard it to be the "Legnani variation" but the printed program doesn't mention Legnani - odd. Danced in this production by the Cristina character (Yuri Smekalov invention). This is the gorgeous variation danced by Susan Jaffe in the ABT-Makarova version. I had previously heard that the music was first used in another Petipa ballet - Esmeralda, I think...but the provenance of all of these variations can be dicey!  Chebykina struggled a bit holding her positions (arabesques coming out of pirouettes) but was basically fine.

6. Drigo - the playbill states that this is from Paquita but, again, I've heard that THIS one was a part of Camargo too. Suffice to say that this is danced by the main character Paquita and that it is the one that I have long loved the most (all of the above films, including Irina Dvorovenko at Jackson). SPASIBO BOLSHAYA, YURI BURLAKA!!! And SPASIBO to the amazing Terioshkina. What an honor to have witnessed this live!

As for the guy's variation...that is anyone and everyone's guess!

Edited by Roberta
after researching my notes at home, corrected info on the 2nd & 3rd variations

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7 hours ago, Roberta said:

My notes on these six -

 

I loved reading this! Will be seeing this cast on Sunday (except minus Tereshkina, unfortunately) and I am very excited to see Borodulina and now Ionova-- she does seem like she'd glisten in that variation. 

I saw Nagahisa as the third shade when Mariinsky came in 2017 with Bayadere, it will be interesting to see how she's grown. 

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13 hours ago, annaewgn said:

I loved reading this! Will be seeing this cast on Sunday (except minus Tereshkina, unfortunately) and I am very excited to see Borodulina and now Ionova-- she does seem like she'd glisten in that variation. 

I saw Nagahisa as the third shade when Mariinsky came in 2017 with Bayadere, it will be interesting to see how she's grown. 

You're welcome, annaewgn! May was a standout...great in her lines/poses and adagio. She wasn't totally steady on pointe in all moments, as this is a legato variation, but I have the likes of Kunakova, Pavelenko and Kondaurova as earlier dancers who I saw shine in this variation. May is progressing nicely.

I spent part of last night doing my homework on the provenance of the 2nd variation (the harp variation by Zabel, Le Corsaire), making corrections on my above post. We saw this in the Burlaka-Ratmansky 2007 Corsaire for the Bolshoi - danced by Gulnara within the "Pas des Eventails (Fans)" at the start of A3.

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21 hours ago, Roberta said:

You're welcome, annaewgn! May was a standout...great in her lines/poses and adagio. She wasn't totally steady on pointe in all moments, as this is a legato variation, but I have the likes of Kunakova, Pavelenko and Kondaurova as earlier dancers who I saw shine in this variation. May is progressing nicely.

I spent part of last night doing my homework on the provenance of the 2nd variation (the harp variation by Zabel, Le Corsaire), making corrections on my above post. We saw this in the Burlaka-Ratmansky 2007 Corsaire for the Bolshoi - danced by Gulnara within the "Pas des Eventails (Fans)" at the start of A3.

Iliushkina is also fabulous in this variation.

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On 10/10/2019 at 8:16 AM, Roberta said:

You're welcome, annaewgn! May was a standout...great in her lines/poses and adagio. She wasn't totally steady on pointe in all moments, as this is a legato variation, but I have the likes of Kunakova, Pavelenko and Kondaurova as earlier dancers who I saw shine in this variation. May is progressing nicely.

I spent part of last night doing my homework on the provenance of the 2nd variation (the harp variation by Zabel, Le Corsaire), making corrections on my above post. We saw this in the Burlaka-Ratmansky 2007 Corsaire for the Bolshoi - danced by Gulnara within the "Pas des Eventails (Fans)" at the start of A3.

Nagahisa received the biggest applause for her Kalkabrino variation lady night.

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On 10/9/2019 at 11:11 AM, Roberta said:

As for the guy's variation...that is anyone and everyone's guess!

I sat again next to Smekalov, and asked him about it. He kept saying that he created the choreography, with a 50/50 "traditional/his own. And he kept mentioning Burlaka as reference. I tried to press him about how "original" was, or if he had based it on notations, or anything that would be a link to a previous variation from the older Petipa catalogue. But he didn't understand, and kept telling me about how he wanted this variation to have a military flavor. I also asked him if the music was Minkus or Drigo, but he said he didn't remember. I will try to ask an orchestra musician about it tomorrow.

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12 hours ago, cubanmiamiboy said:

I sat again next to Smekalov, and asked him about it. He kept saying that he created the choreography, with a 50/50 "traditional/his own. And he kept mentioning Burlaka as reference. I tried to press him about how "original" was, or if he had based it on notations, or anything that would be a link to a previous variation from the older Petipa catalogue. But he didn't understand, and kept telling me about how he wanted this variation to have a military flavor. I also asked him if the music was Minkus or Drigo, but he said he didn't remember. I will try to ask an orchestra musician about it tomorrow.

Hi, cmb. Related to this the variation for 4 military men that precedes the kids' dances here is set to Drigo's male variation for the LA SOURCE pdd, interpolation. Curiously, this LA SOURCE music (also a mazurka) was used by Yuri Burlaka as the solo variation for the Lucien-Andres character in his stagings of the stand-alone PAQUITA GRAND PAS at both the Bolshoi (2008) and the Vaganova Academy (around 2016/17...before he worked on the full ballet with Smekalov). So there is no one Yuri Burlaka PAQUITA GRAND PAS. You'll notice very different variations in all versions of Burlaka Grand Pas found on YouTube.

The music for the mysterious Andres variation in A3 of the current full-length Mariinsky PAQUITA is a mazurka that's sounds a lot like other Drigo mazurkas...very rich Italianate orchestration, a great melody. I know that Burlaka (& Ratmansky) worked with Drigo's score for THE ENCHANTED FOREST while crafting their 2007 LE CORSAIRE for the Bolshoi. So maybe Burlaka found this mysterious mazurka back then? It's very Drigoesque. 

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4 hours ago, Roberta said:

 

The music for the mysterious Andres variation in A3 of the current full-length Mariinsky PAQUITA is a mazurka that's sounds a lot like other Drigo mazurkas...very rich Italianate orchestration, a great melody. I know that Burlaka (& Ratmansky) worked with Drigo's score for THE ENCHANTED FOREST while crafting their 2007 LE CORSAIRE for the Bolshoi. So maybe Burlaka found this mysterious mazurka back then? It's very Drigoesque. 

Well....I went in a different direction today, and approached the orchestra pit. Then I asked a group of three musicians from the strings section, and asked them. Once again ...they didn't know. The music on their paper doesn't state individual authors for each variation. It just notes what we all know. That there's a mix in between Deldevez, Minkus and Drigo.

Edited by cubanmiamiboy

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You tried your best. Thanks. Some day we'll find out what this is.

 

In checking Meisner's bio on Petipa, I read that Petipa himself choreographed a full-length ballet based on Cervantes' LA GITANILLA, titled THE BANDITS (not notated, that we know). Interesting, right?

Edited by Roberta

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With regard to the variation danced by Andres in Act 3, I went to the premiere of this production (Tereshkina/Askerov/Evseeva) in St Petersburg in March 2017 and have just checked my programme.  It states that the male variation has "Music by Riccardo Drigo for the variation performed by Enrico Cecchetti in the ballet The Vestal Virgin." 

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I looked through my 2017 Paquita programme, which  was lavishly illustrated and had many interviews, and there was an interview with Yuri Burlaka about his staging of the grand pas.  He was specifically asked about the male variation, as follows:

Petipa didn't include a male variation in his Grand pas, will you?

I will, using the music by Drigo, once written for the ballet The Vestal Virgin featuring Enrico Cecchetti.  This particular variation was staged by Vladimir Ponomarev and shown to me by my teacher Pyotr Pestov who, in turn, learnt it from his teacher Nikolai Tarasov.  I already used this variation in one of Esmeralda productions, because extant male variations are quite scarce in the end.  The variation I used for the Bolshoi version of the Grand pas was created by Leonid Lavrovsky.  

 

 

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8 minutes ago, MadameP said:

I looked through my 2017 Paquita programme, which  was lavishly illustrated and had many interviews, and there was an interview with Yuri Burlaka about his staging of the grand pas.  He was specifically asked about the male variation, as follows:

Petipa didn't include a male variation in his Grand pas, will you?

I will, using the music by Drigo, once written for the ballet The Vestal Virgin featuring Enrico Cecchetti.  This particular variation was staged by Vladimir Ponomarev and shown to me by my teacher Pyotr Pestov who, in turn, learnt it from his teacher Nikolai Tarasov.  I already used this variation in one of Esmeralda productions, because extant male variations are quite scarce in the end.  The variation I used for the Bolshoi version of the Grand pas was created by Leonid Lavrovsky.  

 

 

Ooh..so now I might understand what Smekalov was trying to tell me about "50% original, 50 % mine". He kept telling me how HE had tried to add military hints to this variation, but that it was "based in the original". The original being what Burlaka learned from his teacher. So the variation was not notated, but rather passed down since La Vestale, although probably not used in a full length ballet ever since. Then Burlaka used it for Esmeralda, and years later Smekalov twisted it a bit for this Paquita. 

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One thing I noticed was that the Mariinsky omits the final number -("Finale")- that the POB uses after the final tableaux of the grand pas, which is like a grand ballabile in a "jota aragonesa" form. 

@ 1:36:02

 

Edited by cubanmiamiboy

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23 hours ago, MadameP said:

With regard to the variation danced by Andres in Act 3, I went to the premiere of this production (Tereshkina/Askerov/Evseeva) in St Petersburg in March 2017 and have just checked my programme.  It states that the male variation has "Music by Riccardo Drigo for the variation performed by Enrico Cecchetti in the ballet The Vestal Virgin." 

So helpful. Thank you, Mme P. :flowers:

Well, we guessed Drigo correctly! How a military-style mazurka tune fits into VESTALKA (set in ancient Rome, Vestal Virgins and what not) is beyond me but, hey, that's 19-C Imperial Russian ballet for you.

Edited by Roberta
comment on a mazurka in Vestalka

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