Toughest Ballets- In Repect to Stamina
Posted 22 February 2005 - 08:14 AM
that is particularly fiendish
Here is my list: Full-Lengths : La Bayadere- The Shades' Act(esp. for the lady lead); Giselle Act2 PDD(esp. for Albrecht. After his 2nd variation, he has to partner Giselle, and make her look light like a Willi!
One-Act: Theme & Variations; Tetley's Rite of Spring; and Etudes.
We can also talk about difficult stuff for soloists and corps. For example, the female corp's work in the Shade's Act in Bayadere must be pure torture!
Posted 22 February 2005 - 11:23 AM
stamina, style and level of difficulty), and Don Quixote. For one act ballets, Theme & Variations (for the ballerina and the corps), Agon, Rubies, Symphony in C, Ballo del Regina (the work Balanchine created for Merill Ashley - sp.?) and Bugaku. For the corps I'd definitely say La Bayadere and Swan Lake are the toughest - Bayadere being #1 and SL a very close #2. I'd say its especially hard for the shade or swan that is first, leading the corps out onstage. That's pressure.
Posted 22 February 2005 - 12:35 PM
Posted 22 February 2005 - 01:43 PM
For the ballerina in a full-length role, I would say The Sleeping Beauty if for nothing else because of the Rose Adagio, arguably the most demanding 6-7 minutes for a ballerina in all of full-length ballets. The variations in DonQ must also be very demanding. Giselle must also be definite - isn't it called the Hamlet of ballets?
For the ballerina in a one-act I would say Antony Tudor's Dark Elegies. It takes an exceptional dance-actress to convey the emotions and drama in that ballet without going overboard. Theme and Variations, Etudes, The Dying Swan - talk about the guts it takes to dance that solo, Symphony in C first & second movements.
For the principal male in a full-length, I would say Don Quixote - his variations are killers. Grigorovich's Spartacus, Giselle for the same reasons fandeballet stated. And of course the slave in Le Corsaire.
For the one-act I think Theme and Variations, Rubies, Rhapsody must be killers for the guys.
Posted 22 February 2005 - 02:34 PM
Posted 22 February 2005 - 03:20 PM
Posted 22 February 2005 - 05:10 PM
Posted 22 February 2005 - 05:49 PM
Ashton’s Sylvia is also very demanding on the ballerina. There is hardly any padding and she dances almost non-stop in the ballet. I also feel that Ashton’s choreography is very exposed- the tiniest mistake is very noticeable to the audience. His choreography is also so intensely musical that if she misses a beat it’s very obvious. Monica Mason described the solos in Act I- with all the jumping, turning and balancing- as being a marathon for the ballerina! And of course no matters how tired she is by Act III, she still has to execute that pizzicato variation and be the definition of radiance during the pas de deux. And this is not to mention the interpretative side- she has to portray all three facets of the character convincingly and make all the transitions between the Acts believable!
For the men, I suppose it depends. Jonathan Cope, for example, said that a ballet like McMillan’s Mayerling is like a marathon whereas something like a classics such as Swan Lake is like a sprint. In Mayerling, Crown Prince Rudolf has to partner at least six different women (Princess Louise, Princess Stephanie, Marie Larisch, his mother Elisabeth, Mary Vetsera and Mitzi Casper) and you have to give it your very all emotionally in the last Act. But Cope said, with the classics, one has to be perfection in all the variations which can be extremely taxing even if the solos only last a few minutes.
For the corps, the Kingdom of Shades must be it for the reasons you all described! For the RB version, I believe the lead girl performs 39 arabesques (!) Nijinska’s Les Noces is also meant to be very demanding and unforgiving. The corps dancers often say the music is extremely difficult to count.
Edited by NNatalie, 22 February 2005 - 05:55 PM.
Posted 22 February 2005 - 05:58 PM
Posted 22 February 2005 - 07:04 PM
In a full length ballet Spartacus must be tough. I've never seen it live but that must be a heck-of-a-lot of jumping for two and a half hours. Swan Lake is hard for the guy for another reason. The variations aren't terrible but all the lifts add up after a while, especially if you're a smaller guy. By the time the fouth act rolls around, you really are looking for a cliff to jump off of.
I think I read that Baryshnikov said Theme and Variation was his most taxing piece. If he did say it, that would have to put it at the top of the list for me.
Posted 22 February 2005 - 07:16 PM
NNatalie, on Feb 23 2005, 01:49 AM, said:
(BTW: Welcome to Ballet Talk NNatalie! I hope to read more of your posts in the future.)
Posted 22 February 2005 - 08:08 PM
Ari, on Feb 22 2005, 08:10 PM, said:
At the SAB-Vaganova event at BAM a few years ago, Suki Shorer had two couples dance the adage from Nutcracker pdd simultaneously. Stage right danced the Ivanov, stage left the Balanchine. It was amazing how much more dancing the Balanchine pair had to do in the same amount of time.
There are at least two kinds of stamina -- you can be a sprinter or a marathoner. Dancers are expected to be both. Today Giselle, tomorrow Theme & Variations.
Posted 23 February 2005 - 04:49 AM
NNatalie, on Feb 23 2005, 02:49 AM, said:
I remember talking with a POB dancer from the corps de ballet, and she did mention those two works as especially demanding and tiring (and she had danced the lead girl in the Kingdom of Shades scene...)
Among the male roles, I remember an interview of Michael Denard in which he said the role of James in Lacotte's "La Sylphide" was in his opinion especially difficult and tiring.
Posted 23 February 2005 - 05:41 AM
For my money, Swan Lake is toughest on the ballerina, and Giselle a close second. Don Q is strangely easier! The fast speed of much of it just kind of carries you along! But it's comedy! The acting makes it more difficult. This quote is attributed to many actors, but I'll make it Edmund Kean, as that's how I first heard it, and it sounds like him. Kean was on his deathbed, and a friend hovering near was trying to offer comfort after the sensibility of the day, "It must be hard to die!" "Oh, no, dying is easy; COMEDY, now that's hard!"
T&V is the monster of all time of the one-acts, and grinds everybody!
Posted 24 February 2005 - 11:25 AM
I've seen Mayerling only on video with Mukhamedov, but I must say I got tired just watching him. I recall that Christopher Gable told Barbara Newman that he had asked David Wall about dancing Rudolf and Wall said it had just about killed him.
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