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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Story of Walpurgisnacht?


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At DD's suggestion, I recently watched several ballet videos. One of them, "Walpurgisnacht", featured Maya Plisetskaya as the female principal, and I wanted to find out more about the plot of the ballet and its history, but DD really doesn't know (we saw only parts of the ballet, not enough to piece it together.) Did Maya Plisetskaya originate the role? Does her character have a name? I looked up "Walpurgisnacht" and learned that it is a non-Christian holiday celebrated on the eve of May 1 (April 30) mostly in some European countries, and that May 1 coincides with the feast day of St. Walpurga. Are these facts reflected in the ballet's plot, and, if so, how? Thank you!

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Leonid Lavrovsky's ballet Walpurgisnacht uses, as far as I can tell, the same music as the Balanchine version. I don't think there is a plot; it seems mostly to be about various fauns and nymphs dancing in the forest. I cannot tell whether Plisetskaya originated the lead role, but it is possible.

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My daughter danced the pas de trois from Walpurgisnacht a number of times last year in Stuttgart and at the dance conference in Berlin. The choreography was by Leonid Lawrowsky and the music was by Gounod. :D

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The original ballet scenario in Faust was for Mephistopheles to take Faust into the Harz Mountains, and show him the famous beauties of days gone by, as a temptation for him to keep following him, and also to make him forget about Marguerite. Lais, Cleopatra and Helen of Troy are the three ballerina parts. Neither the Balanchine nor the Lavrovsky versions make use of this scenario. The latter has some by-names for the parts, for example the pas de trois is sometimes called "The Three Graces". Essentially, the Lavrovsky is just a free-form pagan frolic.

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From what I could "babelfish" from a newspaper review of one of the performances they were perceived to be elegant, graceful virgins with veils moved by their momentum. :P:D

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I believe CPYB performed this in their JUNE program this year, right before the start of their SI, as the very last piece. It was the Balanchine version--I am not really a HUGE ballet fan and I was just breath taken by the CPYB performance and the Walpurgisnacht piece itself. There was a very tall blonde girl who, in my humble opinion, just stole the show. Let me just say that once you see this piece performed, you remember it! :thumbsup::shrug:

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Thank you for your lovely post, dancingawaymylifesavings!


The talented young lady you mentioned is the daughter of one of our BT4D posters. I wished I had realized at the time of the performance that this was her last performance for CPYB. Over the summer she was offered a position at SAB. She truly was inspired in the Walpurisnacht! We will miss her beauty and grace! All the best to her, and may a broader audience enjoy her in the near future.

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One of these days, I've got to stage this music with its original scenario. For one thing, minimum men. It was a dressed-up beauty pageant or girly show. It was the penultimate scene in the opera, so all the rich "benefactors" of the dancers would be done with dinner and could see their sweeties dance.

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