Thursday, July 24, 2014

5 on Friday -- Set 233

Spinning Friday tunes since 2010...

For anyone who wants to join in, simply choose five pieces of music and post them for other bloggers to enjoy. Then check out the set posted by the other 5 on Friday blogger -- you can sign in over at Golch Central's Rambling Stuff.

I'm blogging at the Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada this Friday about a former day job -- or in my case, mainly an evenings-and-weekends job -- that reflects on romance writing in so many ways.

Of course, as a former usher of a performing arts theater, I was the observer of the ballet world and not a participant. However, there are popular misconceptions about both ballerinas and romance writers, and in my post I explore those as well as how both art forms mirror one another.

So what better set to post this week than a ballet set? Here are five of my favorite variations, or solo dance pieces.

1 - Dulcinea variation from Don Quixote -- Nina Ananiashvili

She dances this deceptively difficult piece with the grace and lightness that can only be achieved by strength and endurance.

2 - Philippe's variation from Flames of Paris -- Ivan Vasiliev

His strength and the height he achieves in his jumps are allowed to be on full display as a male dancer.

3 - Act I Pas de Deux (dance for two) from The Nutcracker -- Vladimir Shklyarov and Ksenia Zhiganshina

Okay -- not a variation, but a duet. This male dancer is one of my favorites -- ballet is essentially a moving sequence of geometric patterns created by bodies, and his body has exquisite line. He's also a consummate partner, anticipating her every move.

4 - The Death of Hilarion from Giselle -- Kazuo Kimura and the corps of the Tokyo Ballet

I'm always about dramatic power over technique, so this scene from Giselle has always been one of my favorite parts. The villager Hilarion must show exhaustion with his upper body while continuing to use strength during his jumps with his lower body. It's not an easy thing to let the audience in on how tiring it is to dance, when a dancer's entire career is focused on hiding the effort.

5 - Black Swan Coda, Act III variation from Swan Lake -- Viktoria Tereshkina and the Mariinsky Ballet

This is one of the most famous female pyrotechnic roles, culminating in 32 fouettees (the pirouettes with a kick.) This is one of the few against-type female roles that showcase the more aggressive side of female dancing. Odile, the Black Swan is an evil-twin character to the elegant, giving Odette, the White Swan. Here Odile tricks Prince Siegfried into declaring true love for her, when he thinks Odile is Odette, thereby cursing Odette to remain a swan forever.

Not only do I get all the tragic drama in this section of the ballet, but who can resist the thrill of those 32 fouettees?