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The costume feather & your favorite small thing


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In Kent Stowall's Carmina Burana, there is an instant in the finale when everything is quiet and still. Then, the ballerina raises her arms at the front of the stage and the orchestra and chorus begin again. It gives me goose bumps, and I love it!

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IT's all right, Farrell Fan. A dancer that amazing deserves gushing. And I, too, am vindicated in my love of Diamonds. I really thought that no-one else would know what the heck I am talking about. Unfortunately, I don't have that video anymore. I borrowed it from someone, and then after about 2 years, my guilt overcame my love for it, and I just had to return it.

OK, here is favorite ballet moment #2: And also from Jewels.

I think it is because I love the music so much, but during the Emerald's pas de trois, there is this really cool echappe pas de bourree thing (but it isn't really just that: they do a cool switching thing with their feet, and then their arms float in and out of second arabesque...hard to explain.) that the two girls do. Again, I think it is the music, but I really do like the step.

#3, I like the feather on the headband of "the guy" (sorry can't remember his name) in La Bayadere. It just cracks me up!!!!!:)

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In the Nureyev production of "Nutcracker", (done by the RB in the 70s and later by the POB), there is the moment when the Nutcracker changes into the Prince and that gorgeous pas de deux music (alas, often 'wasted' in other productions) starts. For a moment Clara and the Prince just look at each other before they start dancing. It's magical. Merle Park once said that that music always made her cry - as it does me. I always feel frustrated when music like that is used for "business" - eg. to advance the story - rather than for dancing.

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Again, it seems that the thing that touches people the most are the "stops" and eye contact. It is a very interesting phenomenon.

Yes this commercial use of great music is a bother, but it may be helpful for some since many people have never been to a ballet and if they do happen to go, they will hear some things they are familiar with... so if it helps them feel more at home at the ballet, it may be a good thing for them... and hearing the music for the first time in its proper context may even be a thrill for them, I hope.

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Since reading this thread I have taken more notice of the "pauses" or breaks between steps and the impact they have on me. Pauses are certainly "small things" so I would like to add one now that I noticed yesterday.

It is from La Sylphide (from the film done by the Paris Opera Ballet company). The first time the Sylphide is with James she slips out through the fireplace stack, but later she comes back a second time and appears to James through a large window. Now, ordinary choreography would have her come in on the ledge, step on the table and come down to the floor, but this rendition has a nice pause in it. The Sylphide makes her way around the open window, stands on the ledge and then she leans against the wall for a short pause! This moment of leaning and looking at James has a lot in for me. It is like the Sylphide is saying "Here I am, I'm back, and I am quite comfortable here and I know just exactly what I am doing.... and I am not finished with you yet!!"

I just laugh when I see it because there so much in that pause for me.

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I always enjoy watching the conductor take bows. First to see the lead dancer, usually a ballerina, gesture for him/her to come out, and then see the conductor motion the orchestra to rise for applause and start clapping him/herself to get the audience started. I always notice the stark contrast between the conductor's movements, which are very abrupt, and the dancers, which are of course fluid and graceful.

I second the one about the long-stemmed rose, and that goes double for when the danseur kisses her hand in return! Speaking of kisses, it's also nice to see the ballerinas thank the stagehands who bring out the bouquets.

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BalletNut, thanks, I'll look for those differences when the conductor and dancers are on stage together. That will be fun.

And Mel, this is really a cool expression. I have heard it in the East also, they say "its in the gap"... not in the action, but in the gap or the rest between the actions. But I like your version much better.

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Was watching "Sleeping Beauty" for the umpteenth time and I noticed something there that I could not leave out of small things that I love. It happens shortly after Aroura has expired and is being carried off to sleep. The Lilac fairy is doing her thing along with her companions and the scene closes with what I love... two fairies very delicately closing the curtians to end the scene. This is such a wonderful small thing I just had to add it here.

And a question... do you know of any other ballet in which some celestial beings are pulling the curtains open or closed? It's such a nice touch. Really beautiful.

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Well, it's not exactly pulling a curtain open or closed, but I love the moment toward the end of Balanchine's Midsummer Night's Dream when Puck begins to sweep the stage. This is just before he incurs the "extraordinary risk" (see thread by that name) of being lifted into the celestial regions.

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While composing another post in the issues section, I was recalling another one of my favorite small things. It seems kind of rare, but ocassionally a ballerina will be able to create a shimmer or a quiver in her tutu. If it is done at the right moment, it sure gives me a quiver too.

The example that I remember is from a moment in a Kirov performance of Sleeping Beauty I have on video. It is during the rose adagio when Aroura has just been lifted high by all 4 of the male dancers. When they set her down on pointe she (Altynai Asylmuratova in this case) starts a kind of shimmering in the tutu. Its pretty amazing and I suspect that it may be quite a difficult thing to pull off, but the music at that moment seems to send her off into a natural kind of thrill that gets amplified by the vibration of the tutu. It sure gives me a thrill too.

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