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Sleeping Beauty drawings by Pavel Gerdt - more information?

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Apologies if this information has already appeared elsewhere on the Forum but the discovery is perhaps important enough to warrant its own topic. Drawings of Sleeping Beauty Act III PDD by the first Prince Désiré, Pavel Gerdt, were discovered in Moscow in 2018. Some of the drawings have since started to come into circulation as they were recently used by Ratmansky for the latest revival of his Sleeping Beauty reconstruction for ABT.


Thanks to others I have found a few links which show a little of this new found treasure:








It would be great if the full set of drawings was properly online somewhere, does anyone know if this has been done? The last link (the Russian one) apparently credits one snapshot to otzyv.ru but that doesn't seem to lead anywhere (however I may well have misunderstood)


Any further information very gratefully received. Short of a video from 1890 (!) this is as good and as early as has been discovered to date when it comes to at least one part of this ballet.






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Thank you for posting this material. It is sad to think that most balletgoers would be far more interested to learn that Liam Scarlett or Christopher Wheeldon had been commissioned to stage a new production of Sleeping Beauty which gave the Prince even more to dance than they are in discovering what the Sleeping Beauty may have looked like in the first twenty years of its existence. Perhaps it might be different if ABT had brought their production to London or showed some signs of doing so but I somehow doubt it. I base my assessment on the enthusiasm with which Scarlett's wrong headed revised Swan Lake was greeted.


As far as the text of Sleeping Beauty is concerned I suspect that most audiences given the choice between a version in which the prince is all elegant ease but does very little to win his bride and one in which the prince displays his heroic nature by overt displays of energetic athleticism will go for the athletic version. It is what happened in Russia in the aftermath of the Revolution when ballet companies found themselves performing for a new audience who had limited knowledge of the artform and its conventions and were thought to require more athletic choreography to maintain their interest.


As I understand it the Gerdt version of the Act III grand pas de deux which ABT is performing this year only came to light because someone looked in the archives in Moscow and unearthed it for a documentary about Petipa which Ratmansky happened to see. Presumably the version they have performed until now was one created for the 1903 revival. Both these versions make sense of the notes which used to appear in the Royal Ballet programmes for the Petipa classics many years ago which said that senior male dancers at the Maryinsky were in the habit of going to see Christian Johansson to devise the choreography for their solos. 



Edited by FLOSS
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