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Hello folks out there, I recorded the first programme, and just finished watching, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I have a question for you. Can anyone tell me what the music is on the final credits? It's so familiar to me from my childhood, but I just can't identify it, hoping you can help?

 

Thanks

 

NL

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I recorded this too and liked it so much I'm going to watch it again tonight so I'll listen at the end for the music if no-one else knows, thought it was really well done and intelligent, loved seeing the entrechats in slow motion, shame though to know Altynai Assylmuratova's job has now been taken away from her!

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Nana Lily, I was wondering about some of the music as well, I couldn't identify the end credit music, but with the wonders of modern technology (the MusicID app), I found out that it is the ballet music from Gounod's Faust. Go to 8:50 of this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4Taj8qbhnE.  Definitely something to add to my list of music to listen to. :)

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Thank you so much ClaireR! That's so kind of you! I would never have found it. I think I danced to that piece of music during a dance school 'display' when I was about seven or eight! It took me straight back and I love it.

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Nana Lily, If you ever get the chance there is a fine ballet by Georges Balanchine (I don't know if it has ever been seen in the UK) called Walpurgisnacht Ballet featuring the music you highlighted from Gounod's canon.  I well remember stunning performances of this by the luminous Kyra Nichols in the central female role.  (This ballet has only one male role.)   

 

Here, is a segment (although without that specific piece of music highlighted in the selection) of the ballet (NYCB) itself with Kyra Nichols in it :)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Q3mTBtTOZ8#t=5

 

I realise there are many on BcoF who do not favour Balanchine's ethic here, but watching this clip again I could only imagine how glorious the RB's magnificent Francesca Hayward would be in the soloist section shown - danced as it is in this clip by the enchanting Nicole Hlinka.  Indeed both women are of a similar height. 

Edited by Meunier
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Thanks, Meunier, fantastic to see this ballet again, with favourite dancers from NYCB's golden years.

 

But there is also an incredibly exciting version on the Paul Czinner Bolshoi Ballet film, the one featuring Ulanova and Nikolai Fadeyechev in Giselle. Among the diverts, filmed in Croydon, the wonderful Raissa Struchkova (another candidate for great ballerinas, an amazing Cinderella) bounds across the stage into the arms of her husband, the very fine dancer, Lapauri.

 

Sorry, I don't know of any links but I'm sure someone more technically adept than I am might find one.

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Here are “The Valpurgian Nights” , choreography by Lavrovsky, with Maximova, Yagudin and Vlasov:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtLZgvEZ9Pc


 


Here is Plisetskaya, very convincing as Bacchante:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGGi-aq_LQw


 


And this is a short programme on Russian TV about the history of this production in troduced by Gennady Yanin:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vwe0Wjxm_vg


Several ballerinas appear there on the following minutes:


3.20 Olga Lepeshinskaya, the best virtuoso of her time, and a very young Vladimir Vasiliev as Bacchant


6.00 Raisa Struchkova with Alexander Lapauri


6.33 Maya Plisetskaya


6.56 Katya Maximova


7.18 Vladimir Vasiliev


7.53 Marianna Ryzhkina


 


The presenter of the programme said that it was very brave of Lavrovsky to produce this Valpurgian orgy on the Bolshoi's stage in Soviet times, i.e. in 1949. Some dancers were quite shy to do certain gestures and movements, so Lavrovsky was encouraging them and advised them to save their chastity for the backstage relationship.


Edit: added the last paragraph.


Edited by Amelia

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I finally managed to watch this last night, and I have to say I was a little disappointed.  It was quite interesting, but I felt it tried to cover too much ground.  As well as the heroines, we had costumes, choreographers, musicians.  It was almost as if they were determined to pack as much history as possible into a one hour programme, and somewhere in amongst it all were some clips of individual dancers performing.

 

And the director seemed to have a thing about steps.  He was determined to have Bussell either walking up or down a flight of stairs every 30 seconds!

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My daughter was riveted from beginning to end.

Mine too. :-) Even Mr Spanner watched with dd and I and was interested.

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How old is your daughter, Taxi?

 

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it, and I am overjoyed that the Beeb is showing more ballet.  It was just that the title was Darcey's Ballerina Heroines, so I was expecting a more in-depth analysis of the various dancers mentioned. 

 

Maybe I was just expecting too much? 

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I really enjoyed the programme but didn't think the title accurately matched the content!

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How old is your daughter, Taxi?

 

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it, and I am overjoyed that the Beeb is showing more ballet.  It was just that the title was Darcey's Ballerina Heroines, so I was expecting a more in-depth analysis of the various dancers mentioned. 

 

Maybe I was just expecting too much? 

14 and a dancer, Fonty.

 

She was completely enthralled as it was pretty much a potted history of the art form. It really opened her eyes as much of the content was entirely new to her. :)

 

We need to remember also, that the programme was on a main prime-time channel (incredibly!!), and as such, needed to appeal to the uninitiated general viewing public.

 

Hopefully they will in future make a similar programme dedicated to male dancers.

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As we are collecting quite a few comments on the "Information" thread already, I thought I'd open a new thread for post-broadcast discussion of the programmes in this brief series.

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I too thought the programme was quite interesting, but a bit more superficial and broader-ranging than I'd expected from the title.  But I was delighted to see so much archive footage: perhaps we should have a go at identifying it all sometime?

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I liked the hints of history in the programme and would love to see a series of more indepth ballet history through the ages. I recently went to the Georgian exhibition at the British Library and they had a ballet play book (mainly descriptions of the mime on the page that was open) from the late 18th century - it really whetted my appetite for early ballet history

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What was it called? Not Darcey Bussells ballet heroines. That was my kind of programme history stuff.

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May be slightly off topic, but I found 1930's to 1950's video clips' dancing style rather athletic than lyrical. Which is rather contraditory to how people describe ballet in good old days....

 

Perhaps it is something to do with the video not too seamless?

 

I wish I were there to watch Ullanova live, though.

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The problem with this programme was that like so many factual shows these days it was only an hour long.  Fonteyn's Magic of Dance was over 6 shows, Makarova's Ballerina over 4 as was Peter Schaufuss' Dancer.  Unfortunately the chances of us having either another major series on ballet/dance or a repeat of these last three seem to be zero.

 

I think we should enjoy all these programmes on BBC4 for what they are and however much they can convey in such a limited time.  If the BBC decides to axe the entire channel, as seems very likely, we will not even have these short seasons to enjoy. 

 

I think we may soon be in the situation where we will be relying on Sky Arts to fill the gap. 

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I really enjoyed the programme but didn't think the title accurately matched the content!

I agree, the programme contents were rather more wide ranging, or trying to be, than the title suggested. I enjoyed it as a whole and found some of the archive fascinating. As for the hour slot, it was a bit like the Sylvie programme in reverse, when she only got half an hour and it seemed rushed and overly condensed. An hour would have been just right.

Darcey's programme  got an hour, which would have been fine if it hadn't strayed from the title and tried to cover a bit of everything.  

Still, I am not complaining. I would love to see more programmes about ballet and dance, not just because I like it already but because there is so much of interest in the subject to appeal to a wide range of viewers. I also found the extra programme (on the red button?) interesting, when Darcey talked about her career. 

As for the repeated shots of her going up and down staircases, the shot at the end of her ascending the steps outside the RBS was, I think, unintentionally funny. It must have been the camera angle but it was not terribly elegant!

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I'm 'fessing up and admitting that I have worked on some of these programmes as part of my job - post-production, so the content is nothing to do with me! I thought Darcey Bussell's Ballerina Heroines was a pretty good overview of the different ballet styles for the general viewer, and very accessible. I'm sure that Darcey's slightly awkward twirls on various sets of stairs would be down to a director saying, "Just do a twirl, or whatever they're called, there." In the Red Button programme where she gives an overview of her dancing life, she comes over very well indeed. Even DD, who is not a Darcey fan, had to admit that, which is something indeed! As for archive footage appearing online, as discussed in the BBC archive thead, it seems to me that these have been chosen by a celeb with a special interest. For example, there is a very interesting set of archive programmes that I've worked on about post-war architecture that have been chosen by Janet Street-Porter. Perhaps it needs a celeb to lobby for the release of archive footage about ballet...

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Sorry I am a little late in replying to the lovely posts from Meunière and Amelia for posting the links. Very inspirational thank you so much!

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I've just watched Dancing in the Blitz, presented by David Bintley.  I thoroughly enjoyed seeing every minute of it, especially the interviews with the dancers who were with the company during that time.  It is so good to have these recollections on film for posterity.

 

And not that I am in any way biased(!) but I loved watching James Barton in the excerpt from Prospect Before Us!  Jenna Roberts, Iain Mackay and Natasha Oughtred also looked pretty spiffing.

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Ah, so that's who he was!  I was going to ask.  Was that Jenna doing the bit from Dante Sonata?  I couldn't see the face well enough.

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Yes it was Jenna and Iain doing the bit from Dante Sonata and also Sleeping Beauty.

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I thought it was a cracking programme and amazing to see how spry Henry Danton was.

 

Can we start a campaign to see all that footage of Symphonic Variations. What a gem!

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I loved this programme, it was absolutely fascinating. 

 

Bintley was an excellent presenter, and very comfortable in front of the camera.  I assume this was a different director to the Bussell programme, as he wasn't filmed walking up and down various flights of stairs.  :)

 

And the footage of the dress rehearsal of Symphonic Variations was just amazing.  Wow!

 

(Edited to say that Two Pigeons must have slipped in while I was typing!  Only just noticed your post)

Edited by Fonty
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I thought that this programme was fascinatiing. It's very interesting to hear that Bintley is planning to restage one of the early ballets; is it the one set in the Gorbels? Those wartime dancers really worked hard; they danced almost double the number of performances that the hardworking BRB dancers dance today.

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I said on another thread that I felt much of Fonteyn's legendary stamina might well have been due to the amount she danced during the war.

 

If you add on to the number of shows they did the amount of travelling, the poor rations and having 1 pair of shoes to cover 18 performances the whole achievement is utterly staggering.

 

We have Dante Sonata to look forward to in June but I am getting pretty excited to think we may have a chance to see Miracle in the Gorbals. I wouldn't mind another look at The Prospect Before Us again. I think I might appreciate a bit more now. Madam's work deserves further viewing while we still have dancers who worked with her.

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If it's not indelicate to mention it, I was amazed to read (it should have been obvious, I know) how old the dancers interviewed are now. Henry Danton is 93, apparently; one would have thought that he was at least a decade younger. All that hard work and all those wartime privations don't seem to have done them any harm. It's good that this programme has been made as it's important to record the experiences of those dancers who danced in the fledgling RB.

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