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Tom47

Walpurgisnacht:

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Walpurgisnacht begins at sundown tomorrow evening (April 30th).  My understanding is that it started in Germany as a pagan holiday to welcome the coming of Spring weather and that it is associated with witches or sprites of the dead.  It is also called Hexennacht (Witches Night) However, the current name is not pagan, but is taken from Saint Walpurga (Walpurga Night) who was an English nun who came to Germany in the 8th century.  The day coincides with Mayday and the evening is half a year from All Saints Eve (Halloween).  Here is a link to a portion of the Walpurgisnacht ballet (11 minutes): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Q3mTBtTOZ8.  One of the things I like about this performance is when the female dancers come out (toward the end) with their hair down and flowing.  It gives me the impression of witches joyfully celebrating the coming of Spring.

 

Tom,

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Thanks for posting that. The more recent complete recording (from Paris, with Mearns) is also well worth seeking out.

And here is a quite different version by Lavrovsky, with Maximova:

 

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The NYCB in Paris version is fortunately, good fun. The Corps dancing in Walpurgisnacht does tend to get wild and messy, but at least that doesn't detract from the general theme.

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Posted (edited)

Nanushka, I watched the video you linked to and enjoyed it so thank you.  When first watching it and before noting who the name of the ballerina was, I thought she looked familiar and then realized she was a young Ekaterina Maximova.  I have a disk of her and her husband dancing in a Bolshoi production of the Nutcracker.  It is not my favorite version, but I enjoy her dancing in it very much.  The video is dated for 1987 so Ekaterina could have been as old as 48 at the time and she portrayed a 7-year-old Clara/Maria very well.  She also did very well in the video you linked to.  At one point I got afraid for her as one of the male dancers held her up with one arm and she looked as if she was falling backward, but that I think just shows her skill.

It is my impression that the version by Lavroysky and Maximova is more in line with the original version.  As I indicated one of the things, I liked about the video I posted is the women’s wild hair near the end.  I would like to see more of that in ballet, both for women and men (men with long hair), although I also like it when the hair is tied up.  In the version you linked to the women’s hair was let down, but not as wild as in the other.  I have been looking for a recording of the ballet with Sara Mearns and I found some information, but not a recording which I would like to see.

Also, Pherank thank you for your link.

Tom 

Edited by Tom47

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, Tom47 said:

As I indicated one of the things, I liked about the video I posted is the women’s wild hair near the end.  I would like to see more of that in ballet, both for women and men (men with long hair), although I also like it when the hair is tied up.  In the version you linked to the women’s hair was let down, but not as wild as in the other.  I have been looking for a recording of the ballet with Sara Mearns and I found some information, but not a recording which I would like to see.

Another work in which Balanchine gave his women long flowing hair, but to very different effect, is the Elégie from Tchaikovsky Suite No. 3:

The complete NYCB Paris Walpurgisnacht has at times been available on YouTube, but it is more reliably available on the New York City Ballet in Paris DVD, which is well worth the investment. Mearns is wonderful in the ballerina role.

ETA:  The opening of Balanchine's Chaconne is yet another, though not IMO quite as impactful:

 

Edited by nanushka

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Nanushka, thank you for the two recent links.  This is the first I have heard of these ballets.  I am an amateur regarding ballet and have not formally studied it nor am I a dancer, so I am grateful for any information people give.

 Here is a link to what appears to be an updated version of “Sylvia” with modern costumes and with women with their hair down.

 

 

 

The next link goes to a video of “La Petit Corsaire.”  In this case the men have long hair, which are probably wigs.  I like this dance although it seems to me it is not used much anymore.  Also, the men are wearing skirts (kilts if preferred).

 

 One male dancer who seems to generally wear his hair long is Farukh Ruzimatov.  I have DVD of “The Sleeping Beauty” in which he dances Prince Desire and in the wedding act has “sparkles” in his long dark hair.

 Tom,

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