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Subject: "Difficult pas de deux" Archived thread - Read only
 
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Anneliese

09-11-01, 04:58 PM (GMT)
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"Difficult pas de deux"
 
   In the Good Housekeeping article Darcey is quoted as saying that the Sugar Plum was "one of the most technically difficult pieces, really exhausting and strenuous", and she used to watch Lesley Collier in "Ohmigod" amazement when DB was still a student.

I watched my BRB vid yesterday after reading this and thought yes, the female variation certainly requires much more control than eg Odette or Odile, and would seem more effortful from Darcey than Miyako (nb I haven't seen Darcey's Sugar Plum. However, on the whole big dancers *seem* to put in more effort than tiny ones in certain types of mocement and Miyako is the most "effortless" of the RB principals, no question. That particular solo is so tightly held that it just seems to work better with shorter legs!) BUT it's much shorter than almost anything else in the rep.!!!
Anyone else have a view here?
Is the variation really demanding compared with all the other big pdds? Or is it just a role that Darcey found didn't particularly suit her or is it really a toughy or is it just dodgy editing when all she'd said was it wasn't an easy role despite the fact that it only lasts a couple of minutes or something like that.

Opinions sought!


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Difficult pas de deux Paul A 09-11-01 1
  RE: Difficult pas de deux Tomoko.A 09-11-01 2
     RE: Difficult pas de deux alison 09-11-01 3
         RE: Difficult pas de deux Anneliese 09-11-01 4
             RE: Difficult pas de deux Shirley 10-11-01 5
                 RE: Difficult pas de deux Anneliese 10-11-01 6
                     RE: Difficult pas de deux Shirley 10-11-01 7
                         RE: Difficult pas de deux Anneliese 11-11-01 10
  RE: Difficult pas de deux Caz 11-11-01 8
     RE: Difficult pas de deux Shirley 11-11-01 9
         RE: Difficult pas de deux James 12-11-01 11
             RE: Difficult pas de deux Anneliese 13-11-01 12
             RE: Difficult pas de deux alison 15-11-01 33
                 RE: Difficult pas de deux sylvia 15-11-01 34
         RE: Difficult pas de deux Anneliese 13-11-01 13
             RE: Difficult pas de deux Helen 13-11-01 14
                 RE: Difficult pas de deux Fiona 13-11-01 15
                     RE: Difficult pas de deux Fiona 13-11-01 17
                         RE: Difficult pas de deux Ballet.comoderator 13-11-01 18
                         RE: Difficult pas de deux Bruce Madmin 13-11-01 19
                             RE: Difficult pas de deux Anneliese 13-11-01 22
                             RE: Difficult pas de deux Shirley 14-11-01 26
                             RE: Difficult pas de deux Tim Powell 14-11-01 29
                     RE: Difficult pas de deux Helen 14-11-01 25
                 RE: Difficult pas de deux Anneliese 13-11-01 21
                     RE: Difficult pas de deux Helen 13-11-01 23
                         RE: Difficult pas de deux Caz 14-11-01 24
             RE: Difficult pas de deux Shirley 13-11-01 20
         RE: Difficult pas de deux Rachel 14-11-01 30
  RE: Difficult pas de deux Jill 14-11-01 27
     RE: Difficult pas de deux Anneliese 14-11-01 28
         RE: Difficult pas de deux Ted 15-11-01 31
             RE: Difficult pas de deux eugene merrett 15-11-01 32
                 RE: Difficult pas de deux JPAUL 19-11-01 35

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Paul A

09-11-01, 05:21 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: Difficult pas de deux"
In response to message #0
 
   Is it the same choreograhy - BRB and RB?

Saw Bussell do this on a slippery floor so she went askew sometimes. Not qualified to comment on the techical aspects - I thinl what may be difficult here is to establish a poise, presence and authority in such a classic role, so late in the proceedings.

That sort of maturity Collier and Dowell had in 1984 - but their presence was we're the stars here for the star turn - rather more brisk and business like compared to more recent casts who seem to convey a gentler authority.

What really scares me are those big pdd with the frightening lifts - Manon act one, Mayerling, Onegin etc.


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Tomoko.A

09-11-01, 06:05 PM (GMT)
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2. "RE: Difficult pas de deux"
In response to message #0
 
   I can recall even Miyako saying that the Sugar Plum is one of the most technically difficult roles.


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alison

09-11-01, 10:12 PM (GMT)
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3. "RE: Difficult pas de deux"
In response to message #2
 
   And of course, there's that awful leap onto the Prince's shoulders - must be mortifying if you miss. I remember noticing somewhere that some of the showier/more difficult bits had been left out, but as to which production/whose performance it was I can't remember.


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Anneliese

09-11-01, 10:22 PM (GMT)
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4. "RE: Difficult pas de deux"
In response to message #3
 
   My posting in the good housekeeping thread raved about Irek in this pdd - the BRB video is worth studying as an example of how to partner! Wonderful characterisation. THe RB and BRB current nutcrackers are both Peter Wright but with differences - however the choreography was substantially the same.

I'd really like to know why this role is thought of as such a challenge!


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Shirley

10-11-01, 00:38 AM (GMT)
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5. "RE: Difficult pas de deux"
In response to message #4
 
   Because it is hard to do I assume and I would think if the dancers say it's technically demanding I'm sure they would be the perfect judges! I mean they have to dance the roles so they would know if it is hard or not


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Anneliese

10-11-01, 02:55 PM (GMT)
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6. "RE: Difficult pas de deux"
In response to message #5
 
   I was really looking for a more insightful response... please don't be so dismissive of a perfectly reasonable question.


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Shirley

10-11-01, 09:43 PM (GMT)
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7. "RE: Difficult pas de deux"
In response to message #6
 
   5{n to be dismissive but the way your question is put, it looks like you don't believe the original comment that it is difficult to dance and implied that it was because Darcey was tall that she would find it more difficult.

I adore watching ballet because the dancers make it look so easy and effortless and that generally applies to all dancers no matter their height.

From what I have heard Sugar Plum is regarded as being difficult because it is technically demanding to dance. The solo is bigger - longer and more strenuous than the Swan Lake act 3 solo. The coda is also bigger than act 3 of Swan Lake as well.

Yes the actual time the principals spend on stage is short in comparison to other ballets but that doesn't mean it isn't hard to do. It would need someone much more qualified than me to answer the question in detail!


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Anneliese

11-11-01, 04:45 PM (GMT)
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10. "RE: Difficult pas de deux"
In response to message #7
 
   *sigh* WHAT IS IT THAT MAKES IT SO DEMANDING?

Sorry to shout, but that's the question I've been asking all along!

Can anyone out there put across to me why this role is particularly technically demanding? It's the only Tchaik variation I've ever seen danced by an amateur which has always led me to think that it isn't particularly demanding. The only thing that struck me is that a lot of it is quite controlled and steady, working on pointe being rock steady on the supporting leg, which isn't Darcey's forte IMO, but is Miyako's. And Miyako certainly makes this role look effortless and other taller dancers seem not to.

I queried the accuracy of the statement because I know from personal experience how easy it is for the press to completely reverse a statement, never mind slightly exaggerate it, and it seemed so unlikely to be true. I am not stupid, I do know about ballet (and other arts for that matter) and I am well aware that time on stage and difficulty are not correlated, but to say that the role is *exhausting* is, let's face it, laughable when you compare it to Odette or Aurora. That's why I assumed that the comment was completely misreported.


Perhaps I'll give up the quest for truth and reason and go back to steaming the Christmas pudding


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Caz

11-11-01, 00:57 AM (GMT)
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8. "RE: Difficult pas de deux"
In response to message #0
 
   It's a technically very fiddly piece - lots of small fast steps which are more difficult if you're a tall long-legged dancer. I'd agree with you, Anneliese, that's why Darcey said that about the role. I'd think there are quite a few shorter, more compactly built dancers who'd have similar thoughts about some of the roles Darcey makes look effortless!


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Shirley

11-11-01, 11:47 AM (GMT)
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9. "RE: Difficult pas de deux"
In response to message #8
 
   If all of this is just because of Darcey's height then why would Miyako also say it's a difficult piece to dance.

I've hard Darcey talk in the past that her height makes it harder to do some pieces (I remember she mentioned Manon as it was choreographed on such smaller dancers) so I don't just think Sugar Plum is due to her height! I have heard her talk about the role being difficult before and it was the length of the piece and the degree of difficulty that she said made it hard - not her height.


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James

12-11-01, 04:20 PM (GMT)
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11. "RE: Difficult pas de deux"
In response to message #9
 
   Anneliese - it could be something to do with the variation including a series of steps called, I think, gargouillades. These are obviously tricky - I believe it was the Observer critic reviewing Viviana Durante in ENB's Nutcracker last December who said she couldn't do them!


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Anneliese

13-11-01, 10:24 AM (GMT)
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12. "RE: Difficult pas de deux"
In response to message #11
 
   Gargouillades... now I will have to rewatch the vid and try and work out what they are. Unless anyone can enlighten me here?

Thank you!


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alison

15-11-01, 08:49 PM (GMT)
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33. "RE: Difficult pas de deux"
In response to message #11
 
   That would explain it - I've watched a number of ballerinas dancing it (including several at ENB over the last few years) and thought "that doesn't look right at all": must be the gargouillades.


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sylvia

15-11-01, 08:55 PM (GMT)
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34. "RE: Difficult pas de deux"
In response to message #33
 
   I caught sight of Miyako's gargouillades on the Nutcracker projection ROH has in the foyer - they sounded impossible to do from the descriptions here and look even scarier. Kudos to anyone (really, ANYONE) who can pull them off!


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Anneliese

13-11-01, 10:25 AM (GMT)
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13. "RE: Difficult pas de deux"
In response to message #9
 
   The Manon/height thing was about the mismatch between her and Irek rather than about height per se IIRC.


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Helen

13-11-01, 11:13 AM (GMT)
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14. "RE: Difficult pas de deux"
In response to message #13
 
   Gargouillades used to be described as gargling with the feet when I was young. Double rond de jambe en l'air en dedans with one leg, en dehors with the second leg, both in one leap. Care to try it, anyone?


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Fiona

13-11-01, 11:59 AM (GMT)
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15. "RE: Difficult pas de deux"
In response to message #14
 
   Yes, Helen, gargouillades look rather like a pas de chat, with the legs doing rond de jambe en l'air, one after the other in one leap, as you say! I believe the Mirlitons also do them in the same ballet. Am I correct?


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Fiona

13-11-01, 12:27 PM (GMT)
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17. "RE: Difficult pas de deux"
In response to message #15
 
   My apologies, I just checked my two Nutcracker videos of the R.B. and the Mirlitons perform ordinary pas de chat, not gargouillades which are obviously a Sugar Plum Fairy speciality, and technically very difficult!


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Ballet.comoderator

13-11-01, 12:39 PM (GMT)
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18. "RE: Difficult pas de deux"
In response to message #17
 
   We have removed a posting by Sam on this thread (posted at 12.03 pm today). Debate is welcome here; personal abuse is not.


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Bruce Madmin

13-11-01, 12:42 PM (GMT)
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19. "RE: Difficult pas de deux"
In response to message #17
 
   >not
>gargouillades which are obviously a
>Sugar Plum Fairy speciality, and
>technically very difficult!

Rubbish - myself and Dame Blandine do a couple of hundred every morning before our kedgeree and goulash...



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Anneliese

13-11-01, 01:16 PM (GMT)
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22. "RE: Difficult pas de deux"
In response to message #19
 
   Remember the French and Saunders sketch? Just fouette till we're ready Miss BusStop. Hm, came of your sixpence a bit didn't you? I could do a hundred in my day...

(apologies to F&S for any misremembering)


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Shirley

14-11-01, 10:12 AM (GMT)
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26. "RE: Difficult pas de deux"
In response to message #22
 
   >Remember the French and Saunders sketch?
> Just fouette till we're
>ready Miss BusStop. Hm,
>came of your sixpence a
>bit didn't you? I
>could do a hundred in
>my day...
>
>(apologies to F&S for any misremembering)
>

I don't think I get the reason for this comment!


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Tim Powell

14-11-01, 07:15 PM (GMT)
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29. "RE: Difficult pas de deux"
In response to message #19
 
   Antiquity has played havoc with my memory but I thought that a gargouillade is a step performed by the Dancing Master in Rakes Progress whilst playing a micro violin. Perhaps Dame Blandine or another could confirm or otherwise?


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Helen

14-11-01, 09:56 AM (GMT)
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25. "RE: Difficult pas de deux"
In response to message #15
 
   I believe
>the Mirlitons also do them
>in the same ballet. Am
>I correct?

I looked at my tape of the RB from television last Christmas, and I thought the Mirlitons were doing gargouillades, with varying degrees of success. They looked like pas de chat with a flicker of the foot. Either that or their pas de chats were a bit funny.


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Anneliese

13-11-01, 01:14 PM (GMT)
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21. "RE: Difficult pas de deux"
In response to message #14
 
   Right, I wondered if it was the sort of pas de chat with twiddles I'd noticed. Seems I was right. Never got that far in my training! Which leg should be doing the en dedans and which the en dehors? I have to admit to only noticing the leading leg. Difficult to bring off but not disastrous if you don't I'd have said.


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Helen

13-11-01, 02:51 PM (GMT)
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23. "RE: Difficult pas de deux"
In response to message #21
 
   I think the leading leg is en dedans, but others might know better than I do. Never got that far in my training either, but for some reason I learnt what a gargouillade was at some stage. Probably as an example of the near-impossible!


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Caz

14-11-01, 09:38 AM (GMT)
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24. "RE: Difficult pas de deux"
In response to message #23
 
   You can do them en dedans or en dehors.

Or you can do a wobbly pas de chat instead and hope you get away with it! Guess which one I go for..?


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Shirley

13-11-01, 01:14 PM (GMT)
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20. "RE: Difficult pas de deux"
In response to message #13
 
   >The Manon/height thing was about the
>mismatch between her and Irek
>rather than about height per
>se IIRC.


If I remember correctly Darcey spoke (in a TV programme) about height in relation to her and Zoltan learning the roles not regarding the issue of height difference between her and Irek, although that was one reason why the partnership didn't work in that ballet.


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Rachel

14-11-01, 10:57 PM (GMT)
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30. "RE: Difficult pas de deux"
In response to message #9
 
   I don't reckon any dancer would ever admit to a solo/role being easy-would you?


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Jill

14-11-01, 04:45 PM (GMT)
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27. "RE: Difficult pas de deux"
In response to message #0
 
   I must have seen the Nutcracker more times than I care to remember, and I am fascinated by this discussion that the Sugar Plum role is perceived as being so difficult by various dancers. I feel that, as a member of the audience, I always find the lead dancersí performance is a bit of an anti climax. They are on the stage for such a short length of time, and the actual variations donít stir my blood, if you know what I mean. The music for the pas de deux is lovely, building to a terrific climax, and yet the actual dance always appears, to me at any rate, to be a bit low key. Maybe the reason for this is that it is so difficult, and the dancers are having to concentrate ferociously and conserve their energy.

I have to confess that the music for the Sugar Plum solo is one of my least favourite bits of ballet music, so this may affect my judgement a bit. It always seems to me so tinkly and irritating after the pas de deux. However, every time I see it, the ballerina appears to have to fight to fit the steps to the music in the solo. The last time I saw Yoshida, who is supremely musical, and some of the timing of the steps seemed a little odd.

Perhaps one of the problems from the dancersí point of view is that they have to come on cold, and launch straight into a very long variation. In which case, how does it compare to the Rose Adagio in the Sleeping Beauty? Was it Fonteyn who said she found the latter the most difficult individual dance, for that reason?

Incidentally, it would be interesting to know how the current choreography compares with the Nureyev production, which I seem to remember reading was very difficult indeed. Can anyone make a comparison?



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Anneliese

14-11-01, 06:29 PM (GMT)
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28. "RE: Difficult pas de deux"
In response to message #27
 
   I have to say I was thinking that I couldn't see the reason for Sugar Plum being worse than Rose Adagio - I accept that gargouillades are difficult, but if they don't come off it doesn't ruin the whole pdd, unlike the balances in the adage! I love the pdd music but have rarely enjoyed the dancing - but Irek and Miyako were something else in this.


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Ted

15-11-01, 02:26 AM (GMT)
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31. "RE: Difficult pas de deux"
In response to message #28
 
   There is no such thing as an easy ppd. So enjoy it when you see a good one. The adagio of the Kirov's Nutcracker Grand ppd is very similar to the Rose Adagio and I don't find that enjoyable eventhough it was well executed.


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eugene merrett

15-11-01, 03:37 PM (GMT)
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32. "RE: Difficult pas de deux"
In response to message #31
 
   I am told that the Romeo and Juliet pdd (Macmillan) is not technically that challenging for the girl!


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JPAUL

19-11-01, 00:19 AM (GMT)
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35. "RE: Difficult pas de deux"
In response to message #32
 
   I remember seeing Durante dance the variation and thinking she looked quite terrible as she was attempting the gargouillades.Then I saw Yoshida at the ROH after having seen her on the BRB video,and thinking the same thing.It seems strangely unflattering.......the variation is nearly always followed by almost embarrassed applause


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