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October 03, 2017

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I'm a bit reticent about that SB photo. It is a prime example of something that bothers me in current ballet, Over-extension.

Purity wise, the female dancer's leg should be perpendicular, creating two connecting lines between the male and female bodies (extended leg and joined hands). This double connection would be crowned by their raised arms.

Petipa definitely had this in mind when creating this pas de deux. It's such a shame we will probably NEVER see that shape again.

Hi Melponeme.

I agree that the front leg is quite high, but in the more or less official Petipa version that ABT danced, not one dancer offered a perpendicular extension.

Would you please share the authoritative source for your description of the "Purity wise" positions? If it's conjecture, deduction, or preference, please state so. Please tell us where you read that this was definitely what Petipa had in mind when he created the PdD.

From the time of the Sun King to the early 19th century, the leg in developpe was not required to be 90 degrees. From my readings, it was Blasis who insisted on these precise, sacred geometry angles.

The subject is vast. But it ties into Alchemy and the harmony of the spheres. The precise, geometric angles made by the dancers bodies put them in harmony with the universe and god himself. According to the V&A museum website the large majority of foreign dancers who gravitated to Russia for ballet were taught by Blasis himself.

http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/o/origins-of-ballet/

The ending Pas De Deux of Sleeping Beauty is the alchemical union of Sun and Moon, Man and woman. Basically it represents the highest element of the universe: Love also called Quintessence.
The choreography emphasizes the circular motion of the dancers around one another and their continual gestures towards one another with hands and legs.

The key of the score, I believe is C Major. When taking in the movement of the planets all tied to the musical scale it creates the C major chord. So the music is tying the marriage of Prince Desire and Aurora with the harmony of the spheres.

Fonteyn's interpretation is very pure. Another interesting look is a clip filmed by Fracci and Cragun.

In regards to the picture shown on your page. The extension is impressive. But it isn't in keeping with the choreography or the music itself. The foot of Aurora is hovering near the face of the Prince like a weapon.

Incidentally, the name Sun King is a coded reference to Alchemy. The King was positioning himself as the highest order of our solar system, the Philosophical Stone. You can see it encoded in the film "Le Roi Danse". They show the King as the sun and courtiers dancing around him like the planets. The same scene is shown in "A Little Chaos" at the end.

I'm sorry to see this as well. In "SB," academic purity is frequently at odds with the 'in' thing, which is to over-extend the positions and fudge/faux/"fake" technique. For the role of Aurora, real balances are rare as well. IMVHO, here are a few ballerinas who respect the purity, the 'perpendicular,' really balance and do not over-extend in this ballet. Two Russians, E. Obraztsova (Bolshoi) and O. Novikova (Mariinsky), Lane and Abrerra (ABT); and at POB (now) retired A. Dupont and M. Auld-Braham. The closest piece that I've read re Petipa's alleged intent for the Act 3 pdd, I found in Petipasociety.com. According this source, his main concern was to convey the intimacy between Aurora & Desire: https://petipasociety.com/the-sleeping-beauty/, (scroll down to "Grand Pas de Deux"). Over-extension, (in the context of this ballet and the purpose of this pdd) doesn't convey "intimacy," at least not to me.

Instead of looking at "academic purity", I look at a company that is doing great things, giving many dancers the chance to be on stage, trying new as well as old and pleasing audiences. If you are only concerned about "academic purity", then I recommend not going to any ballet Instead, stay home and read your books. If you want very fine ballet and a company that really tries, go to Philly and have a great time.

Hi Haglund, Speaking of Julio, did you happen to see Aran Bell's Instagram post, where he was being coached by Julio on a Don Q solo, and the posts of Aran and Skylar Brandt being coached by Julio and Alessandra for Romeo and Juliet? What a dream come true that must have been for those young dancers! Still keeping my fingers crossed that Julio ends up at ABT where he belongs. How can we make it happen, Haglund? It's time!

Great to see Skylar getting quality time with Julio and Alessandra in addition to Irina and Max. Hopefully, we'll get to see it all realized on stage this spring.

Hi Haglund,

I was also excited to see Skylar and Aran’s coaching on Instagram. Would love to see her in Don Q. Regarding Romeo and Juliet, I noticed that of ABT’s eight principal women, only four have danced Juliet. Aside from Gillian, Isabella, Hee and Misty, who else do you predict will make their debuts? Or guest star? I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Sarah. Would LOVE to see her and Herman. (Or I wouldn’t mind with Daniil. I enjoyed his debut in 2016.)

Yes, Sarah Lane would be my overwhelming choice. However, it appears that McKenzie has chosen Devon Teuscher and Alban Lendorf as his next R&J couple. That doesn't mean that there won't be more revealed later. Hopefully, Christine Shevchenko and Cassandra Trenary will not have to wait much longer for the lesser dancers currently in the Juliet role to be moved aside. MacMillan would probably puke if he saw some of McKenzie's choices for the role in the past few years.

Speaking of MacMillan, what a shame that ABT couldn't come up with even a token of an honor for their former Artistic Associate while the other six companies closely associated with him are celebrating his legacy during the year that is the 25th anniversary of his death. ABT could have spent its money on acquiring another one of his masterpieces instead of wasting it on the Millepied & Lang drivel which no one wants to see, let alone see again and again and again.

The reason that ABT isn't honoring MacMillan must be because it would so over-shadow its 25th anniversary celebration of McKenzie's worthless directorship.

I don't picture Devon as Juliet at all. I guess time will tell.

I think Devon could pull it off -- certainly better than Boylston, Copeland, or Seo. Yesterday while watching the Royal Ballet segment of World Ballet Day, I was simply in awe of the care they take of MacMillan's works and the high respect in which MacMillan is held by the dancers. They dance his works so intelligently as opposed to what the three aforementioned ABT dancers do to it.

Hmmm..I also don’t really picture Devon as Juliet. But who knows? What gives the impression that Devon and Alban are the next R&J? Are they learning it? Any hope for Sarah? I’d think that after her triumphant Giselle and Swan Lake she would be the overwhelming choice. But then again, McKenzie has kept her from those roles for a long time. Fingers crossed that he doesn’t hold her back...

Hi, Lena.

Devon and Alban were the featured R&J couple during McKenzie's recent City Center talk on "coaching". Also, Devon has indicated on I-gram that Juliet is in her rep for the coming year.

I agree with you that Sarah would be an overwhelming choice for Juliet, but as you pointed out, McKenzie seems to have trouble acknowledging her talent. I imagine with a full fall season of Benjamin Millepied in the house along with the assumed presence of Natalie at certain times, McKenzie's resentment of Sarah for standing up for the truth will be renewed.

Lane did post a rehearsal video of her and Hammoudi rehearsing R&J pas de deux for a special performance. So the ballet is in her dance knowledge.

However it seems when it comes to non-favorites, ABT likes to peg dancers into certain roles then never lets them deviate. Unless they are favorites.

So I can see Lane taking up Part's old roles and that is that.

The only solution is for fans to keep putting pressure, giving up subscriptions and avoiding the performances of the repertoire and dancers who just aren't top level.

Ugh. I'm happy for Devon but Sarah has been held back for so long. I know misty will probably dance with either Daniil or Herman but not both. So which other dancer? Sarah seems the logical choice. Maybe Daniil will Isabella but doubtful to me.

Oh wait, I forgot about Ferri. She would probably dance R&J with Herman like in 2016. And if Misty’s with daniil...then who could be Sarah’s Romeo? Hammoudi? (Or this guessing could be for nothing if McKenzie continues to stunt Sarah’s development.)

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