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Trouser roles for women


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Found the Messerer reference which is not related to chasse entournant. He writes on page 338:


"Grandes pirouettes 'blintchicki' (in a number of poses) are executed at a very fast tempo, on the demi-plie of the supporting leg. The turn is worked out through the displacement of the heel toward the side of the turn; each move is accepted with a pressure of the heel onto the floor."


In the exercise described on 338 the "blintchiki" are done a la seconde, followed by Russian 3rd arabesque, followed by a la seconde, and ending in a pirouette en dehors.


I would call this grand pirouettes sautille, but I'm not sure what line of training "sautille" is from.


(sorry no accent marks, not savvy on that)

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I begin to find "sautille" in writings made about the Paris Opéra ballet pre-Franco-Prussian War, which devastated the school and the company. The Opéra of Coppélia (1868) was definitively not the Opéra of Sylvia (1876).

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If I am not mistaken, Messerer trained at the Bolshoi Academy and prior to Vaganova's pedagogical codification(in St. Petersburg/Leningrad) which was handed down through Kostrovitskaya.


My initial reference to this was that Messerer's definition/terminology was probably different from that of Vaganova because:

1) he trained at the Moscow Ballet Academy(school of the Bolshoi Ballet- sorry in a hurry to get somewhere so my "exact" name of the academy may not be exactly correct) whereas Vaganova was a product of the Imperial Ballet School in St. Petersburg

2) he was teaching before Vaganova's codification as set forth in both "Basic Principles of Classical Ballet" and later in Kostrovitskaya's "School of Classical Dance"


Also, if this step is a codified character step, I have to wonder whether Alexander Shiryaev had it classified under this name. Again, in a rush to get to a work-related event so I will try to check on this point later.

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I begin to find "sautille" in writings made about the Paris Opéra ballet pre-Franco-Prussian War, which devastated the school and the company. The Opéra of Coppélia (1868) was definitively not the Opéra of Sylvia (1876).


For instance, no men in Coppélia if I understand correctly.

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No male lead! There were several danseurs de caractére, but Eugénie Fiocre (Franz) was considered prettier than Giuseppina Bozzacchi(Swanilda).

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To expand a bit, there was an influential club of male audience members at the Paris Opéra, and they preferred to see women onstage in male attire rather than men, presumably because the men's costumes revealed more of the legs.

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Is this still about blinchiki? I am not following the trend. Sorry. :blushing:

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Sorry, we seem to have strayed from the topic a good deal! If anyone would like to continue the Coppélia/travesti discussion, we can start a new thread.

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Good idea. I just split it off.


To expand more on the travsesti phenomenon, the club was called "Le Jockey-Club de Paris", and they kept their influence until after WWII! No male Franz at the Opéra until 1947.

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There is a long tradition of cross dressing in theatrical productions. Many of Shakespeare's plays have women disguising themselves as men. This is further complicated by the fact that there were no female actors in his day so they had boys pretending to be girls pretending to be boys! Soon after women did become actors though. Moving on, in the 19th century several actresses were famous for their "breeches" roles, amongst them Sarah Bernhardt. Until fairly recently "principal boys" in British pantomimes, such as Dick Whittington and Peter Pan, were always played by girls. In Opera, when castrato singers gradually died out, the male roles written for high voices were taken by female singers. So it is not entirely surprising that this fashion happened in ballet too!

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There was another dynamic going there, too: Strauss really loathed tenors!

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