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Ballet Season: The Sleeping Beauty

Ok, you know the drill. I’m not a fan of story ballets. The plots are silly, the choreography too stagey and everyone moves way too slowly. But that’s like saying that I don’t like dark chocolate as much as milk chocolate. I love chocolate. Same with ballet.

The Sleeping Beauty has its good moments and tedious quarters of an hour. I mean, the finger fairy. What was Petipa thinking? Did he just have too much coffee that day? But the Aurora and prince pas de deux is sublime. So, what goes into creating the perfect pas de deux? I have two videos for you on the subject.

The first is a rehearsal of the pas de deux by The Royal Ballet. Aurora is danced by soloist Yuhui Choe, a lovely and talented dancer. Director Anthony Dowell gives some specific instructions about “breathing” with the hands and emphasizes the difference between the Russian and English dance technique. Margot Fonteyn did not do Russian. Choe’s partner is Artist Benjamin Ella. In the US, he would be a corps de ballet member, so, several ranks below Choe and just learning to partner well.

The second is the full pas de deux by two talented young dancers in San Diego. Brittany Geoghehan joined the San Diego Ballet this winter. This rehearsal was recorded about a year ago when she was still a student of ballet teacher and San Diego principal dancer Max Tchernychev. Her partner is Peter Kurta. He seems to be more attentive and proactive than the Choe’s partner above and demonstrates how a good partner can make a difference. I’ve seen Kurta partner other dancers and he makes everyone look good. This is clearly a work in progress but I love the way these two dance together. And Britt has the longest, most fairy like legs I have ever seen on a ballerina. The last few seconds are not to be missed.

Here’s the Royal Ballet working out the steps:

And here is Brittany and Pete:

20 Responses

  1. I notice a bunch of comments have disappeared from the thread to this here prior blogpost . . . .
    https://riverdaughter.wordpress.com/2015/01/07/serial-what-susan-said/#comments

    • Really? No one deleted comments that I’m aware of.

      • And not me, either. I’ve never heard of displayed comments disappearing without one of the two of us doing it.

        • Either my memory has generated a hallucination ( which is very possible) or they really existed and were vaporised by digital accident.
          It was a subthread beginning with someone noting Nations are sort of like big gangs and generally as amoral and violent. Then I noted that some nations set a standard for peaceable non-ganglike behavior . . . such as Finland and Norway. “Who fears Norway?” Monster from the Id wondered how the Vikings, of all Peoples, could evolve into the Norway we know today. I offered the speculative reply that among one of several beneficial achievements of Christianity ( of which there are several), turning a nation of blood-hungry warrior-raiders into a nation of peaceable social democrats over several centuries was a beneficial achievement.

          If Monster from the Id remembers a similar thread having existed, then I can set aside the fear that my brain has made this all up. In which case, either I remember quite wrongly which post that subthread was in response to, or . . . that subthread did exist where I remember it having existed, and then was disintegrated or vaporised by impersonal digital forces beyond anyone’s control or knowledge.

  2. Although his pit stains ruined the illusion of human perfection, that second couple is seriously adorable.

  3. Of course, it could just be me.
    I may be gazing at the stars, but my feet are most definitely in the mud.

  4. RD, I stumbled upon this blog article, from Comp Sci Prof. Norman Matloff, who happens to also be a subject matter expert on H1-B visa, & advocates using hard data against the status quo on H1-B & current immigration levels on the grounds that it is almost always a mere cheap labor tactic by large US employers.
    https://normsaysno.wordpress.com/2014/12/15/the-unheard-voices/

    it links to the story of biochemist Dr. Douglas Prasher
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Prasher

    Apparently he was laid off & couldn’t find a STEM job, was working a $8.50/hr hourly job as a car dealer’s driver for customers. Then other Profs who won the 2008 Chemistry NOBEL PRIZE said Prasher really should’ve been included on the prize, as his work was a vital part of the their work. Fortunately 1 of those prize winners hired Prasher at his university.

    What a story! Perhaps the most insane case of Underemployment in human history, of this literal Genius Prasher! Meanwhile all these incompetent, arrogant, smug powerful USian elite from 0bama, 2B2F Bank$tas, Joe Run-Of-The-Mill Unethical Patient-Ripping-off Cardiologist, etc; think themselves as a Genius & smugly condescend & insult any non-1%er as a lazy dumb-ass, when is THEM Oligarch & Oligarch-fellators who range from dumb-ass to the top IQ decile, but certainly no 1 in 10Kppl+ Actual Genius like Dr. Prasher. Hopefully some measure of karma exists in this Universe for these clowns. OTOH I am happy Humanity can benefit again from possible Commons knowledge still to be created by this Genius Dr. Prasher, back working in his field of expertise.

    RD, I wish the best for you & all Underemployed USian STEM pros regain employment in their field like Dr. Prasher. Cheers

    • Maybe their karma is that they’ve gutted the prosperous, educated middle class on which the USA, the linchpin country of their global plutocratic system, depends–ultimately dooming the whole system.

      The problem with that is that the rest of us suffer for their sins, too. 😦

      • The OverClass is not upset about pauperising the Middle Class. They are prepared to lose half of what they have in order to take away from us BOTH halves of what we have.

        • That assumes that the Malefactors of Great Wealth will be able to keep even half of what they have if the system goes to Areinnye. If they think that, they are even bigger fools than I had thought them to be.

  5. Yaaay kayfabe!

  6. And now for something completely off topic (with a mild vulgarity in it): :mrgreen:

  7. <a href="http://sandwalk.blogspot.ca/2015/01/francis-collins-rejects-junk-dna.html"Lysenkoism, American-style.

    The ENCODE fiasco is the first time in five generations that religion has successfully undermined the institutional practice of science in the Anglo-American world.

    The venue is somehow fitting. And don’t forget who appointed this goober to head the NIH, either.

  8. Lysenkoism, American-style.

    The ENCODE fiasco is the first time in five generations that religion has successfully undermined the institutional practice of science in the Anglo-American world.

    The venue is somehow fitting. And don’t forget who appointed this goober to head the NIH, either.

  9. Yikes!!!! That paunchy old guy with the white hair and bald spot is Anthony Dowell????!!!???? I remember how beautiful he was in his prime, slim, elegant, curly hair, handsome. I had such a crush on him, knowing he was most likely uninterested in females (a common problem for female ballet fans). If he is old, well, I guess I must also be old. Must stay away from mirrors!!!!!

    Love your ballet posts. Makes me miss living in NYC, where I saw all those ballet performances at Lincoln Center.

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