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Alonso's "Fille Mal Gardee" after Petipa/Ivanov/Gorsky.....Nijinska/Romanoff/Balachova. (Hertel's music).


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#1 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 01 September 2008 - 05:48 PM

"La Fille Mal Gardee" has been the object of some discussions in this board recently, but mainly referring to Ashton's version. As being used to watch this ballet in the past as part of the Ballet Nacional de Cuba active repertoire, I am amazed at the oblivion this beautiful piece has been subjected to. The choreography that Alicia Alonso staged in Cuba has one act and three scenes, and was released by Alonso's Company in 1952, Havana. Mme Alonso. always emphasizes the fact that the origins of her version lies on those unforgettable years when she assumed the roll of Lisette within Ballet Theatre. I found some words in one of my old Havana programs that talks a little bit about her vision of this work, one that has been, in my opinion, way too neglected.

[font=Comic Sans MS][size=4]"[size=5]Lissette is a graceful character, and back then it was very different from those I had interpreted . It contained an aura of romantic old style, but with flirt and a very natural vividness. I immediately did fall in love with the character. In 1952, when Ballet Theatre was on hiatus between seasons, I decided to bring it and to stage it with the Cuban company, among other things because the ballet enchanted me and I was sure that the Cuban public was going to love it too. For the occasion I carefully revised it and revamped it, but I did not change it. La Fille Mal Gardee had been created already by Mme. Nijinska when I wasn't still dancing with Ballet Theatre, and that had to be respected. After that I never stopped re-staging this ballet, and has been a constant matter of improving everything that is possible, because like in all works, this is about constantly discovering new edges, both choreographically and musically. [/size][/size][/font]
[font=Comic Sans MS][size=4][size=5]Music in ballet is very important, particularly for pantomime works like "Fille". The value of the gesture is extremely important to tell the story and it is also essential to look for the musical accents, the musical phrases, because that is what gives the rate to the body work. Although it is certain that in Fille we find powerful elements that usually move the public to a true outburst of laughter-(just remember the shades of the Mme. Simone character), the laughter also can make the audience think about the wide range of human attitudes. In this ballet the personal interest of each of the characters is fully exposed. It is almost like opening a Pandora's box, presenting the crude vision of certain bizarre human behaviors that makes an essential part of this world; mainly the interest of one's own well-being, our own egoism, and we all know that nothing can be more terrible than our human nature's egoism, and hence that sometimes nothing can be sadder, funnier, ridiculous or more terrible than those roles that a human being is able to play moved by egoism".[/size][/size][/font]


I'm also curious about Nijinska's staging. Where else does it gets performed nowadays…?

#2 Mel Johnson

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Posted 01 September 2008 - 05:58 PM

Noplace that I know. Ballet Theatre used to do it, and from there, it was staged by Ferdinand Nault for the old Robert Joffrey Ballet, but after that, I can't think of anybody who does it that way.

#3 rg

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Posted 01 September 2008 - 06:58 PM

mel's assessment seems to be mine too.
the last time ABT did it, the various casts included makarova w/ nagy and kirkland w/ baryshnikov. warren conover often did alain. i don't know just what it was like when it was first staged, but this enrique martinez? staging seemed to get broader and broader with each outing. marcos paredes often did simone.

#4 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 01 September 2008 - 09:41 PM

Well, Martinez was just Fille's stager for the Ballet Etudes performance, and as i could tell, he left the choreography intact just as Alonso has it. Moradillos, on the other side, came from the Cuban company, where she also got to dance the role of Lissette back on the days. It's interesting thought that is Nijinska/Alonso the only version that I've ever seen. Ashton's is a complete stranger to me.

#5 rg

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 01:19 PM

Ballet Theatre's production of Nijinska's LA FILLE MAL GARDEE shows Irina Baronova as Lysette and what I take to be Dimitri Romanov as Colin. (This print is unidentified, any further information would be much appreciated.)

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#6 Richka

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 09:01 AM

mel's assessment seems to be mine too.
the last time ABT did it, the various casts included makarova w/ nagy and kirkland w/ baryshnikov. warren conover often did alain. i don't know just what it was like when it was first staged, but this enrique martinez? staging seemed to get broader and broader with each outing. marcos paredes often did simone.


I saw Nijinska's Fille with ABT possibly early 1970s. Though I am very familiar with the Asthon version having even danced in it, this Nijinsky version I remember as very charming. Warren Conover as Alain used a kite instead of the unbrella in Ashton's.
I have the conductor's orchestra score of the first act but no opportunity to use it. I have asked Rochelle Zide for information about this Nijinska version which she has often staged, having learned it from Fernand Nault. Perhaps I shall ask her again as I'm very curious about it.

#7 Richka

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 12:05 PM

Ballet Theatre's production of Nijinska's LA FILLE MAL GARDEE shows Irina Baronova as Lysette and what I take to be Dimitri Romanov as Colin. (This print is unidentified, any further information would be much appreciated.)


Dance Perspectives #6 by Selma Jeanne Cohen lists all ballets performed by ABT (then Ballet Theater) from 1949-1960. The Nijinska version of Fille mal gardee was performed in their opening season at the Center Theater (then part of Rockefeller Center). Mother Simone was Edward Caton. Lisette: Patricia Bowman; Alain: Kosloff; Colin; Shabelevsky (but a cast change shows Dimitri Romanoff as Colin.) It could very well be Romanoff in the photo. I only knew him during his later years (in his 60s) but his features are recognizable in the photo. It is likely Lisette in the photo is Baronova, but not in that first season. It was also done during seasons of 41-32 and 48-56 so could have been during those runs. This Dance Perspective doesn't go beyond 1960.
Of course when I saw a performance of the ABT/Nijinska Fille it was during the 1970s with Makarova, Paredes, and possibly Nage. Waren Conover was Alain. I'd have to look back for a program. It was delightful.
Anatole Chujoy at the 1940 performances called it "one of the finest ballets given this season" He found Bowman "superb, Shabelevsky and Romanoff "excellent", Caton "amusing" and Kosloff "unsurpassed". This is from February issue of "Dance" ... I assume 1940.

#8 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 28 October 2009 - 07:05 PM

Nijinska's Fille does has a current continuity , via Jose Pares. Mr. Pares, who recently passed away-(on April 23 at the age of 79)-was a Puerto Rican ballet master, teacher and choreographer, internationally regarded as one of the most important Latin American educators to have contributed to the history and development of ballet in the Latin continent.

Born in 1925, Mr. Pares went to New York as a very young man, where the then basic Ballet School of Arts gave him his initial training, and where he would be later on influenced by such names as Anthony Tudor, Anton Dolin, Edward Caton-(who was a direct disciple of Agrippina Vaganova), Margaret Craske (an ex member of the Diaghilev troupe and a direct link to Cecchetti)-and Vera Nemchikova, who had already worked with Nijinska and Massine. In 1951 José Parés became a member of the corps of Mme. Alonso's company, where he would remain with the rank of soloist until 1970, also holding the nomination of character dancer. Around this time he would also be in contact with other two influential figures in his life as a choreographer : Leon Fokine and Alexandra Fedorova.
All along this time, Mr. Pares became a Cuban audience favorite, imitated and applauded for his interpretations of the role of Dr.Coppelius of Coppelia, and even more for his Mama Simone in La Fille Mal Gardée. Alonso's staging of Fille had Pares collaboration, who had his own experience with the ballet from his old New York days, which were enhanced by Mme's own experiences with it. That way they ended up staging the Nijinska/Gorsky version that we all love in Havana

I recently found a couple of clips of Miss Adiarys Almeida, dancing the role of Lissette in Puerto Rico, to a Pares staging of the ballet, and it is indeed identical to what I remember seeing in Cuba. (Maybe Almeida, as a former member of the Cuban troupe, also knew the role from back then). In any case, I'm glad that this choreography has survived outside Cuba, and that is being passed to younger generations of dancers.

Here are the clips. Enjoy! :clapping:

Mme. Alonso as Lissette with Jose Pares as Mama Simone in the early 60's



Adiarys Almeida as Lissette with Ballet Concierto de Puerto Rico in 2006 " La Fille Mal Gardee " Choreography by Jose Pares. Joseph Gatti as Colin.

http://www.youtube.c...feature=related
http://www.youtube.c...feature=related

#9 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 12:01 AM

Some new entries have been added to the now extensive article on Wikipedia's "Fille". I found some other clues about Alonso's staging besides that of her using of the Romanoff/Nijinska/Gorsky version via Ballet Theatre. It seems that she also learned the role via Ballet Russes de Monte Carlo.

[font="Comic Sans MS"][size=2][size=3]"In 1942 the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo also presented their first production of La fille mal gardée, staged by the former ballerina of the Imperial Ballet Alexandra Balachova in a version largely based on Alexander Gorsky's production derived from the Petipa/Ivanov staging of the late 19th century.
Many of the dancers who worked with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo went on to use Balachova's version as a basis for many revivals throughout the world. The celebrated ballerina Alicia Alonso danced Balachova's staging of La fille mal gardée throughout the 1940s and 1950s, which she would go on to stage for the Cuban Ballet in 1964. As a result the majority of ballet companies in the Caribbean and South America regularly perform productions derived from Alonso's staging to the music of Hertel..."[/size]
[/size][/font]

#10 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 08:25 PM

Part # 2 of a fragment of Mme Alonso's staging of Nijinska-Gorsky/Hertel's "Fille". Miss Anette Delgado as Lissette. Octavio Martin as Colin. Victor Gili as Mama Simone
Enjoy! :D

http://www.youtube.c...feature=related

#11 leonid17

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Posted 13 May 2010 - 09:15 AM

[quote name='cubanmiamiboy' date='Oct 28 2009, 10:05 PM' post='257950']

Mme. Alonso as Lissette with Jose Pares as Mama Simone in the early 60's



On film it seems too broad a performance though it made me laugh a lot. I am sure in the theatre is worked brilliantly.

Madame is so pulled up and centred. Just like she is in Swan Lake

#12 papeetepatrick

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Posted 13 May 2010 - 09:31 AM

Madame is so pulled up and centred. Just like she is in Swan Lake


Those two clips are sensational. I finally feel as though I've seen what was unique about Alonso, the Odile is incredible. 'Pulled up and centred', YES. And once I worked with a ballet mistress who said 'I love Alonso because she knew always how to get center stage', which I wasn't sure she was really supposed to say explicitly. But yes, if you center yourself, that would be the secret to getting center stage--it's not a matter of pushing ahead or anybody.

#13 Simon G

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Posted 15 May 2010 - 05:06 AM

Part # 2 of a fragment of Mme Alonso's staging of Nijinska-Gorsky/Hertel's "Fille". Miss Anette Delgado as Lissette. Octavio Martin as Colin. Victor Gili as Mama Simone
Enjoy! :wink:

http://www.youtube.c...feature=related



For me Alonso wins it by a nose.

#14 Birdsall

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 07:07 PM

I love the dancing in Alonso's staging (based on Gorsky based on Petipa). It makes La Fille Mal Gardee seem like a grand ballet spectacle and is glorious.

I watched the Annette Delgado performance on YouTube and it surprised me that it is in one act.

Overall, I like the choreography in this version more than the Ashton version. But I think as a dramatic story and a production the Ashton is very charming and paces the actual story better (I like the way the rain storm is staged in Ashton's and also the constant metaphor of the ribbons). Ashton's ballet is a 20th century ballet and a great 20th century ballet. This 19th century version of La Fille does deserve to be seen. It is lovely. I hope both stay alive for a long time to come! I will always be happy to see either one or both!

#15 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 09:35 AM

I love the dancing in Alonso's staging (based on Gorsky based on Petipa). It makes La Fille Mal Gardee seem like a grand ballet spectacle and is glorious.

I watched the Annette Delgado performance on YouTube and it surprised me that it is in one act.

Overall, I like the choreography in this version more than the Ashton version. But I think as a dramatic story and a production the Ashton is very charming and paces the actual story better (I like the way the rain storm is staged in Ashton's and also the constant metaphor of the ribbons). Ashton's ballet is a 20th century ballet and a great 20th century ballet. This 19th century version of La Fille does deserve to be seen. It is lovely. I hope both stay alive for a long time to come! I will always be happy to see either one or both!


Glad you like this rare gem, BB Needless to say, I was surprised the first time I realized-(on video)-about Ashton's Fille's lenght, being used to Alonso//Nijinska/Gorsky/Romanoff/Balachova after Petipa one act version. I really like Hertel's score, and Lissette's theme, which also plays in the ballet's overture. Actually, I would say that it is in my top five list of "haunting"-(I got the right spelling now, right...?)-ballet melodies. The score is indeed very "musique dansante" in nature, and the ballet itself is a brand name in Havana. Cuban ballerinas want to recreate Lissette's naughtiness with the same level of interest as Giselle's dramatism or Odile's glamour. Cuban audiences also have place it right next to the other Petipa's works. I really miss it. I can't believe that ABT allowed for its dissapearance.
Didn't Claude Bessy staged this version for POB in the mid-80's...?


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