Dancers from New York City Ballet to be featured in female solos from
<Raymonda>, Act III, for the Archive of Lost Choreography
NEW YORK CITY -- Frederic Franklin, leading dancer and rehearsal master of
the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, will teach and coach five classical female
variations from the ballet <Raymonda> for the cameras of The George
Balanchine Foundation's Archive of Lost Choreography. Taping will commence
on September 13, 1998, at the New York City Ballet studios at the Rose
Building, Lincoln Center. Nancy Reynolds, Director of Research for the
Foundation, who founded the video archive in 1994, will direct the project.
Mindy Aloff, dance critic of The New Republic, will interview Mr. Franklin.
Choreographed by Marius Petipa for the Maryinsky Theater, St.
Petersburg, in 1898, the full-length <Raymonda> was restaged after the
original in a somewhat abbreviated form by George Balanchine and Alexandra
Danilova in 1946 for the Ballet Russe. Mr. Franklin was known for the
"considerable dash" he bought to his role as the hero Jean de Brienne. In
April, 1997, he taught the main male solo to New York City Ballet Principal
Dancer Nikolaj Hubbe for The George Balanchine Foundation's video archives.
"Frederic Franklin's knowledge of ballet history is phenomenal, and it
is a joy to help him rescue choreography that might otherwise be lost,"
commented Ms. Reynolds. "The Balanchine <Raymonda> variations are sparkling
examples of inimitable Petipa-style classicism, with all the attributes
that implies--chief among them, order, clarity, and elegance."
For the upcoming taping, Mr. Franklin will work with five emerging
members of the New York City Ballet corps on the variations for four female
soloists and the ballerina from the Pas Classique Hongrois. Consisting of
several solos and a Grand Pas de Deux, this Divertissement formed the climax
of Act III. New York Times critic John Martin found the female variations
"brilliantly made to the tuneful and highly colorful music," a highlight of
Dancers Alexandra Ansanelli, Kristina Fernandez, Riolama Lorenzo,
Jennie Somogyi, and Pascale van Kipnis will learn roles originated by
Marie-Jeanne, Ruthanna Boris, Maria Tallchief, Yvonne Chouteau, and the
ballerina Alexandra Danilova.
Ms. Somogyi learned another version of the ballerina solo,
choreographed by Balanchine for <Pas de Dix>, from its originator, Maria
Tallchief, who coached it on videotape in 1995 for The Balanchine
Foundation. She will compare the Tallchief version with the Danilova solo.
Balanchine was clearly attracted to the melodious Glazounov music, as
he subsequently choreographed several short ballets to various excerpts
from the <Raymonda> score, including <Pas de Dix>, <Raymonda Variations>,
and <Cortege Hongrois>.
Of the upcoming interview, Ms. Aloff noted, "Frederic Franklin is one
of the few living libraries of Balanchine dancing of a certain era. He is
able to transmit his knowledge with fidelity, great humor, and
understanding to generations that have never worked with Balanchine. The
Balanchine Foundation's archival projects are unique, urgent, and
puncti1ously organized; the Foundation is one of the most magnanimous in
the performing arts today."
THE GEORGE BALANCHINE FOUNDATION was established in 1983 as an educational
foundation to further the work and aesthetic of George Balanchine. With the
help of the Nancy Remick Reynolds Endowment, announced in October 1994, the
Foundation embarked on an ambitious program to create and disseminate
Archives on videotape that would circulate to research facilities worldwide.
The aim of the Archives is two-fold: To gain new insight into
Balanchine's choreography--and perhaps shed light on his creative
process--through a close analysis of a specific work by those on whom the
work was created or with whom he worked closely to prepare the role (The
Interpreters Archive); and to retrieve Balanchine choreography no longer in
current repertory (The Archive of Lost Choreography).
In February 1995, videotaping took place in London where English prima
ballerina Dame Alicia Markova, then 84, recreated her solo from
Balanchine's <Song of the Nightingale> on a young graduate of the Royal
Ballet School. Maria Tallchief's contributions have included taped coaching
sessions on: <Firebird>, <Pas de Dix>, <Scotch Symphony> and <The Nutcracker.>
Marie-Jeanne has participated in coaching sessions devoted to
<Apollo>, <Ballet Imperial> and the Russian Dance from <Serenade>. In 1996,
Patricia Wilde coached and analyzed her virtuoso roles in <Square Dance>
and <Raymonda Variations>.
Under the direction of Frederic Franklin, Robert Lindgren and Sonja
Tyven, the Foundation has begun the recovery of an early version of
Balanchine's <Mozartiana>. Mr. Franklin, assisted by Maria Tallchief and
Vida Brown, has also restaged for camera two pas de deux from Balanchine's
original <Le Baiser de la Fee>. In fall 1997, Todd Bolender discussed and
demonstrated the seminal "Phlegmatic" variation from <The Four
Temperaments>, and last winter, Alicia Alonso coached and analyzed <Theme
The Balanchine Foundation is producer of The Balanchine Essays, a
nine-part video series examining Balanchine's approach to classical ballet
technique. "Arabesque,""Passˇ and Attitude," and "Port de Bras and
Epaulement" are now in commercial release (Nonesuch Dance Collection, "The
Balanchine Library," distributed in the U.S. by WarnerVision
Entertainment). In collaboration with the Dance Collection of the New York
Public Library, the Foundation has added piano soundtracks to selected
silent films. A recent effort, initiated this year, is the sponsorship of
an educational lecture program, under the direction of critic Nancy
Goldner, for companies performing Balanchine repertory.
In 1997, The George Balanchine Foundation Video Archive was
inaugurated with a donation of edited master tapes to the New York Public
Library for the Performing Arts. Copies of the collection are distributed
to libraries by Dance Heritage Coalition.
Contact: Linda Milanesi