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Can someone tell me what Raymonda is about? Is there a story line?

Perhaps you can even point me in the direction of something to read about it...better yet to see it on video...My daughter is going to have a part in it, and it certainly would be nice to actually see it performed...

Thanks, all.

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Are they doing the whole 3 act ballet, BW, or just the Pas de dix or Grand pas hongrois, which is the large divertissement section from the wedding scene?

The ballet is described in most every book on ballets, like Balanchine's or Beaumont, and the Oxford Dictionary of Ballet, etc. There are also several video tapes available.

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Hey! Great idea. We'll make it the ballet of the month in Ballets in Detail, starting January 2.

There is indeed a story line, and we should have the first Ballet Alert! pop quiz to see how many people can remember it without cheating biggrin.gif

[ December 27, 2001: Message edited by: alexandra ]

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Hmm, Victoria, good question! I'm only guessing at this point, and will find out tonight or tomorrow for sure...probably the wedding scene but who knows! Pas de dix is for ten people? Could be that one too... I am certain it's not the whole ballet!

I have two ballet books and neither one goes into much detail on it although one does mention some videos...

Thanks Alexandra, I was just looking at that Ballet of the Month section last night! smile.gif

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I would guess it's most probably the Grand Pas Hongrois (that is the wedding scene), or parts of it. In the original (?) version there is also a "danse d'enfants" for the quite little ones, so this part is pretty varied... AND the Grand Pas is often performed separately, as far as I know - similar to the Kingdom of Shades of La Bayadere.

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Raymonda is one of the ballets that

Grigorovich's Ballet will be performing

durning their upcoming U.S. winter tour.

Personally i do not care for the theme of

Raymonda-women waiting for man to come home, villain try to steal women while man is away,

man return home and has duel with villain,

villain is killed by man in duel,

and the united couple lives happy ever after.

The plot of Raymonda is to mawkish for my taste,

but that is just my opinion.

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Just happened by a ballet store in the city and scooped up Raymonda by The Bolshoi with Ludmila Semenyaka, Irek Moukhamedov and Gedeminas Taranda - with Yuri Grigrovich directing.

It turns out that my daughter and seven others are actually doing "variations" from the first Act. There will be four doing solos - my daughter's is the first soloist who starts in tendu back, arms in fourth, right arm up, left arm down in that scene that happens when the White Lady appears but before the seemingly evil Eastern Knight appears...

Would someone kindly explain to the uninitiated what "variations" means? and does it have several meanings? I thought it meant excerpts of different dances from a ballet...is this so? Do choreographers who are restaging ballets often change things here and there to suit dancers?

It certainly is one of the more "theatrical" ballets that I've seen...although I suppose all story ballets are theatrical...this one just seems more intensely "dramatic". I have to say that the quality of the video isn't the best...and I'm sure it looked better in real life! smile.gif

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I think the origin of "variation" was that, once upon a time, before the choreographer became King, dancers inserted solos that particularly suited them into ballets. A star would have several "variations", as she would have several costumes. It's similar to "cadenza" in music. During the 19th century, there would be one place, usually in the coda (I think) that would be marked "cadenza" and left up to the individual artist. It would have to be in the same key, and bear some relationship to the rest of the sonata or concerto, but it was the place for one to show off ones arpeggios, or trills, or whatever the particular skill was.

One of the most famous examples of a near-contemporary choreographer who changed solos for dancers is Balanchine. "Tchaikovsky pas de deux" has several different solos made for different dancers. After the choreographer dies and isn't around to custom-make variations, then one or two become the 'set' one.

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Thank you Alexandra for your very helpful explanation. It certainly makes sense that a dancer might want to choose to dance a piece that makes the most of their individual abilities as well as their personas.

[ December 30, 2001: Message edited by: BW ]

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I saw the Balanchine-Danilova version ofRaymonda in 1946---at the time I had been a ballet-goer for only a couple of years--and was completely immersed in Tudor, deMille and the "Concerto Barocco" Balanchine. I was not ready for this "Chestnut". There were a few memorable moments, particularly the Saracen's dance performed by Leon Danielian--and the marvelous Danilova in the Czardas--and the real saving grace---the Glazunov score.

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The first time I saw ABT was at the former Uris (now Gershwin) Theater, doing a two-week run of Nureyev's Raymonda. I rather loved it at the time, although I thought the Georgiadis costumes and decor a bit overdone. I wonder what I'd think of it were I to see it again today? Certainly the casts were memorable.

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Manhattanik, I saw it also probably a season or so later at the State Theater and remember being somewhat disappointed. Maybe it was the cast - Eleanor D'Antuono and Ted Kivitt. It only really come alive when Ruth Mayer and Bill Carter did a czardas or something like that in the last act.

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Ah, D'Antuono and Kivitt. The "home team."

At the Uris it was Nureyev and Gregory, with Erik Bruhn as Abdel Rakhman. (Or however they spelled it.) Other Raymondas I recall were Kirkland, Makarova (I think; I could be wrong) and Van Hamel, who was, of course, the best.

Those were the days. I probably still have the programs in a bin somewhere.

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I found a reference to the variation in the first

act of Raymonda in the January 1967 issue of

Dance Magazine.The artical is about a new book

written by Fedor Lopukhov titled 60 years in Ballett. In the artical it quotes the book

...."So for instance" Lopukhov writes "I produced

the variation in the first act of Raymonda for the

prima Lubov Egorova. The older verison,which was

attributed to Petipa,was actually by Olga

Preobrajenska,who adapted it to suit her tiny

figure. But when Egorova had to dance the variation,it did not suit her at all,and she ask me to compose a new one for her..Evorova succeeded

in persuading Pavel Gerdt that Marius Petipa had

produced it for Pierina Legnani...Gerdt identified

my variation as Petipa work. Everybody agreed and

even started to argue that the first Petipa

verison was better than the second,although

neither of them(the two verisons) had anything to

do with the old master(Petipa).

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