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1950's Soviet cartoon "The Steadfast Tin Soldier"is this a real ballet variation...?

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#1 cubanmiamiboy


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Posted 17 December 2008 - 08:27 PM

I must confess it: one of my favorite things to search at in Youtube is old soviet cartoons that used to be played in Cuba during all my childhood. They were from the 50's, usually very poetic, romantic, dramatic, and they used a lot of symphonic music, the most of the times. The majority of them were very sad. Anyway, I just came across this one that I had already forgotten-(I was very, very little)-which tells the story of the Steadfast Tin Soldier. There is the moment where his loved ballerina/doll makes her Grand entrance...dancing a ballet variation! Maybe this is a silly question-(maybe not)-but i would like to know if anybody can recognize this variation, if it even exists, or if anybody is familiar with this old soviet cartoons. Thank you in advance!

#2 Mel Johnson

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Posted 18 December 2008 - 07:21 AM

When you first put this up, I thought it was perhaps a rotoscope process, where a dancer was filmed, then animation made over the model. It doesn't look like that. Maybe they did what Fantasia had. Dancer-models (Riabouchinska and Lichine) were in the studio and did select steps and poses for the artist/animators, who "choreographed" their own dance based on what they could make the animated figures do, some of which can't be done by real dancers. I don't recognize this as any variation in the standard repertoire.

#3 Sacto1654


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Posted 18 December 2008 - 09:39 AM

Wow--wonderful cartoon! :bow:

I agree with Mel--it doesn't look rotoscoped. But it was beautifully done anyway.

By the way, somebody needs to take a lot of these old Soviet-era animation shorts (many of which are classics that compare to the best of what American animators could do in the same period) and put them on DVD's for release in the USA.

#4 rg


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Posted 18 December 2008 - 09:47 AM

somewhat off topic, so apologies, but i was just sent this link to a promotional site for the upcoming Disney book by Mindy Aloff on dance and animation.


#5 Paul Parish

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Posted 18 December 2008 - 07:59 PM

THANK YOU, Christian, for pointing this out. It makes me feel so much closer to you --

It's a wonderful cartoon, full of that sad fantastic sentiment that I associate with Russian cartoons, which are almost always about he things that cartoons OUGHT to be about, namely, the discrepancy between what we can imagine and what is possible.

I don't think the ballerina's dance is possible -- staying up that long, landing so lightly, not to mention that position in the air for the big cabriole... It IS a beautiful dance though, and fills out the music to perfection. But there is a step in it that comes from the adagio in Symphony in C -- the penchee where the ballerina touches her head to her knee.

Balanchine immediately comes to mind -- do you know his setting of this story, which is WONDERFUL? It was recorded, with Patricia McBride and Mikhail Baryshnikov, and it has almost exactly the same tone. You might like it.

And secondly, because Balanchine thought that movies ought to abandon realism and go for the real gold, the fantastic.

#6 Amy Reusch

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Posted 18 December 2008 - 09:25 PM

It's very curious! The poses all seem inspired by photographs, but the movement in between is so unnatural... as if the animator studied stills but didn't have a live dancer for inspiration. Lovely & charming!

#7 cubanmiamiboy


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Posted 18 December 2008 - 10:08 PM

:( . Just like Swan Lake. Eternal love, suicide, death of the sourcerer...

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