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Question about Costume used in Balanchine's La Valse


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I have a question about the "debutante" costume from Balanchine's La Valse (costume originally by Karinska). Has the NYCB costume always had the ecru-colored bodice with, I guess, some black or dark brown piping along the top edge? And is the headscarf always black? POB used that same coloration recently, but MCB seems to be using a white-colored bodice with faintly colored skirt (not exactly a white). The original photos of Le Clercq in her costume were all in black and white so I can't really tell anything about the colors used.

NYCB

21TVBALLET-ITEM-superJumbo.jpg

 

POB

tumblr_opxr91oevN1smuezro3_1280.png

 

MCB

7488973110_667a0da328_b.jpg

Edited by pherank
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You might begin at its source, Cotillion, a Kodachrome clip (by Anne Barzel?) of which is here:

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

Christian (Bebè) Berard did the costumes which most likely determined Karinska's lovely purple and black layered ones for La Valse – and which I prefer to the newer white ones. Berard also did the sets and the first version of the black dresses – and set the tone – for Mozartiana in 1933. Kirstein describes the colors of Cotillon as "pistache, purples, gilt and black" and the ballet "full of migraine and nervous ennui, the desperate gaiety of insecure adolescence" in a enthusiastic 11/01/1933 Vogue article, which leads with this photo:

https://condenaststore.com/featured/tamara-toumanova-and-roman-jasinskii-in-the-ballet-mozartiana-george-hoyningen-huene.html

(I'm a bit of a Berard fan – so therefore all the linkages.)

Edited by Quiggin
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1 hour ago, Quiggin said:

You might begin at its source, Cotillion, a Kodachrome clip (by Anne Barzel?) of which is here:

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

Christian (Bebè) Bernard did the costumes which most likely determined Karinska's lovely purple and black layered ones for La Valse – and which I prefer to the newer white ones. Bernard also did the sets and the first version of the black dresses – and set the tone – for Mozartiana in 1933. Kirstein describes the colors of Cotillon as "pistache, purples, gilt and black" and the ballet "full of migraine and nervous ennui, the desperate gaiety of insecure adolescence" in a enthusiastic 11/01/1933 Vogue article, which leads with this photo:

https://condenaststore.com/featured/tamara-toumanova-and-roman-jasinskii-in-the-ballet-mozartiana-george-hoyningen-huene.html

(I'm a bit of a Bernard fan – so therefore all the linkages.)

Thanks, Quiggin. Everyone loves the look of the "Three Fates" costumes, which do seem to be derived from the earlier Cotillion look. Karinska's "Fate" tulle skirts were actually made from a number of different transparent colors layered over one another, with I think charcoal grey on top (not a true black). And the bodice may actually be a charcoal grey as well. The debutante's costume is less spectacular in coloration, I suppose. I just wondered if the look had remained the same - at least at NYCB - or if what we see now is actually a bit different from the original.

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From Toni Bentley's "Karinska and Balanchine" which I found online:

Patricia Zipprodt:
"I used to spend a great deal of time with Gjon Mili who was doing a big color story for Life and he dragged me to the ballet. It was La Valse and in comes Tanaquil Le Clercq in this white dress. Bang. I went down to [the Fashion Institute of Technology] and beat on their doors and got a scholarship and went to school...

The white satin and tulle gown Zipprodt saw was, interestingly, not really white but rather a luscious cream color. Karinska knew that a true white has an empty, flat appearance onstage...

Layering of colors, often very disparate ones, was one of Karinska's specialties, and it was never more apparent or used to better dramatic advantage than in the other women's costumes in La Valse. Attached to heavy, silver-gray halter-cut bodices with low-slung backs, the long skirts were composed of up to six layers of color - red, orange, purple, and pink — all topped by a single layer of translucent gray."

 

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On 7/23/2021 at 11:59 AM, Quiggin said:

You might begin at its source, Cotillion, a Kodachrome clip (by Anne Barzel?) of which is here:

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

Christian (Bebè) Bernard did the costumes which most likely determined Karinska's lovely purple and black layered ones for La Valse – and which I prefer to the newer white ones. Bernard also did the sets and the first version of the black dresses – and set the tone – for Mozartiana in 1933. Kirstein describes the colors of Cotillon as "pistache, purples, gilt and black" and the ballet "full of migraine and nervous ennui, the desperate gaiety of insecure adolescence" in a enthusiastic 11/01/1933 Vogue article, which leads with this photo:

https://condenaststore.com/featured/tamara-toumanova-and-roman-jasinskii-in-the-ballet-mozartiana-george-hoyningen-huene.html

(I'm a bit of a Bernard fan – so therefore all the linkages.)

I pulled Bentley's "Costumes by Karinska" off the shelf and the layering of colors pherank describes was used by Karinska elsewhere and earlier, including in Cotillon. Bentley says Bérard's maquettes were lovely but also rather general (even if more specific than other sketches Karinska worked from), and it was Karinska who added many of the details and grace notes of the costumes in her execution of them. From the book:

Quote

It was Karinska's job to figure out how many yards of what fabric, cut on what line, in what colors, and with what decoration, would result in a wearable costume that would reflect the very elusive atmosphere in Bérard's sketches.

Bentley reproduces the well-known photo of a wistful young Toumanova in her Cotillon costume; it was Bérard who asked for something sparkly on the skirt, but Karinska who came up with little moons, stars, and musical notes. Ultimately, the costumes of Cotillon incorporated "sea green, lemon, cyclamen, rose, and lime."

Bentley reproduces a cool group photo taken in Monte Carlo in the early thirties, with Karinska, Youskevitch, Massine, Markova, Bérard, and Kochno; Bérard is bearded and hearty, with a hand on Kochno's shoulder.

Quote

The white satin and tulle gown Zipprodt saw was, interestingly, not really white but rather a luscious cream color. Karinska knew that a true white has an empty, flat appearance onstage...

If you take a good look at the "white" costumes for the Rosenkavalier section of "Vienna Waltzes" you'll see a lot of off-white. 

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Thanks for the Bently background. Karinska's costumes are definitely brilliant and players in the drama but I thought the seed may have been planted by the stagecraft of the earlier version. 

Adrian Stokes gives a nicely detailed act by act description of the 1933 Cotillon in Tonight the Ballet, where he refers to Bérard's costumes as "prismatic-colored." 

per Cartier-Bresson:

https://www.moma.org/collection/works/54865?artist_id=1000&page=1&sov_referrer=artist

Edited by Quiggin
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On 7/25/2021 at 3:21 PM, Quiggin said:

Thanks for the Bently background. Karinska's costumes are definitely brilliant and players in the drama but I thought the seed may have been planted by the stagecraft of the earlier version. 

Adrian Stokes gives a nicely detailed act by act description of the 1933 Cotillon in Tonight the Ballet, where he refers to Bérard's costumes as "prismatic-colored." 

per Cartier-Bresson:

https://www.moma.org/collection/works/54865?artist_id=1000&page=1&sov_referrer=artist

I've always wondered what happened to the rest of the Cotillon footage - all we ever see are some brief shots, played back at the wrong frame speed. Film cameras were heavy and cumbersome in that era, so I can't believe someone was running about taking "snapshots" with the film camera. There had to have been a long sequence of the ballet filmed, originally. Perhaps now in someone's attic?

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16 hours ago, pherank said:

I've always wondered what happened to the rest of the Cotillon footage - all we ever see are some brief shots, played back at the wrong frame speed. Film cameras were heavy and cumbersome in that era, so I can't believe someone was running about taking "snapshots" with the film camera. There had to have been a long sequence of the ballet filmed, originally. Perhaps now in someone's attic?

Was probably filmed with a Cine-Kodak, a small popular 16mm camera that could take 50 or 100 foot loads that allowed for about 1 1/2 to 3 minutes worth of shooting before having to be reloaded. It featured  a waist-level viewfinder which helped the cameraperson escape notice by ushers, though the sound of the gears grinding away might have limited filming to scenes when the full orchestra was playing. The 16 frames per second recording rate looks speeded up when played at 24 fps but may partially be corrected by double printing every other frame.

I originally thought Ann Barzel might have filmed Cotillon but according the the NYC Public Library Performing Arts catalogue, it was Laird Goldsborough, and features members of the Monte Carlo Ballet Russe, including Tamara Toumanova, Olga Morosova, Tatiana Riabouchinska, and David Lichine. 7 minutes in total exists.

Barzel did preserve intriguing glimpses of many other ballets including, Ballet Imperial with Mary Anne Moylan, Interplay, Union Pacific, etc.  

https://www.nypl.org/research/research-catalog/bib/b13483103#tab3

Edited by Quiggin
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2 hours ago, Quiggin said:

Was probably filmed with a Cine-Kodak...

Thanks for all that info, Quiggin. 7 minutes is a generous amount of footage. If you ever find the complete footage online, definitely let us know.

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2 hours ago, Quiggin said:

Was probably filmed with a Cine-Kodak, a small popular 16mm camera that could take 50 or 100 foot loads that allowed for about 1 1/2 to 3 minutes worth of shooting before having to be reloaded. It featured  a waist-level viewfinder which helped the cameraperson escape notice by ushers, though the sound of the gears grinding away might have limited filming to scenes when the full orchestra was playing. The 16 frames per second recording rate looks speeded up when played at 24 fps but may partially be corrected by double printing every other frame.

I originally thought Ann Barzel might have filmed Cotillon but according the the NYC Public Library Performing Arts catalogue, it was Laird Goldsborough, and features members of the Monte Carlo Ballet Russe, including Tamara Toumanova, Olga Morosova, Tatiana Riabouchinska, and David Lichine. 7 minutes in total exists.

Barzel did preserve intriguing glimpses of many other ballets including, Ballet Imperial with Mary Anne Moylan, Interplay, Union Pacific, etc.  

https://www.nypl.org/research/research-catalog/bib/b13483103#tab3

I don't want to take this too far afield, but a recent PBS documentary on the 1937 Hindenburg disaster showed new footage recovered from a hand-cranked movie camera owned by an ordinary person. You had to stop and crank it up every few minutes. I have to wonder if there is some undiscovered dance footage from that era that might still surface some day. We can hope! A clip on that camera: 

 

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