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Notes from the Labyrinth
Unobtainium and Dragons' Bones
Evolution of a Swan 
29th-Aug-2012 09:35 am
Sidneyia inexpectans
Have been sick for a week with a vertigo-inducing virus. So of course I'm watching ballet dancers.

This is a lovely little article about Anna Pavlova, and the fact that you can find actual footage of her dancing on the internet. I followed Mackell's advice also to watch Lopatkina's Dying Swan and then I followed links, and inadvertently taught myself a tiny bit about the history of ballet in the 20th century.

If you can stand Saint-Saëns 4 times in a row . . .

Here's Pavlova's Dying Swan in 1925.

Here's Maya Plisetskaya in 1959.

Here's Plisetskaya in 1986.

And here's Uliana Lopatkina in 2010.

Lopatkina and Pavlova are very nearly not speaking the same language, but Plisetskaya shows the evolutionary path.
29th-Aug-2012 03:00 pm (UTC)
Pavlova's swan does not go gently into that good night. There's a bit of that struggle against the inevitable in Lopatkina's dancing as well, but Pavlova fights.
29th-Aug-2012 03:05 pm (UTC)
I had an extraordinary dessert at a Russian cafe last week called an Anna Pavlova, and I wondered about its namesake, and then here this is, right in my feed!
(If you do get the chance to try the dessert, it is quite delicious)

29th-Aug-2012 03:20 pm (UTC)
I really love Plisetskaya. So powerful and so fragile, at once. Thanks for this--we can see the evolution, indeed.
29th-Aug-2012 06:21 pm (UTC)
Well, there went the last half-hour. ;)

Gorgeous all round. I loved Pavlova's fierceness, but the first Plisetskaya was just stunning.
29th-Aug-2012 11:08 pm (UTC)
Hrm, it's easy to see why Pavlova was so famous. Her form is really solid, even for those really deep bows, and she is in constant motion. It really brings to mind watching a bird fly, tho not necessarily a swan. And it definitely looks like she'd watched birds get hunted. Glad I took the time to watch them all, and some extra stuff by Plisetskaya.
30th-Aug-2012 09:14 pm (UTC) - Anna Pavlova
She is really Great, just no words....
1st-Sep-2012 10:19 am (UTC) - dying swan
Does anyone know how the Saint Saens music got associated with a dying swan? Nothing about "Carnival of the Animals" suggests death to me. I note, too, that in the 1959 Plisetskaya footage, the music accompanying the footage of actual swans is not Saint Saens, but Tchaikowsky. A Swan Lake dying swan makes sense to me (nobody who hears the overture could think that thing ends happily), but why a dying Saint Saens swan? The music to me suggest a swan gliding serenely along.
30th-Sep-2012 06:58 am (UTC)
Lopatkina made me weep. I mean, they all were good, but... wow.
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