Flower Power: 6 Famous Flower Scenes in Ballet

April showers bring May flowers…What’s your favorite ballet flower scene? Here are some memorable ones:

Rose Adagio—The Sleeping Beauty

Are flowers the way the to the heart? Not in this case. Princess Aurora doesn’t find true love with any of her rose-bearing suitors, but her dance with them is one of the most famous in all of ballet.

Garland Waltz—The Sleeping Beauty

Flowers, flowers everywhere! Presumably the village people didn’t suffer from allergies. Or perhaps some good fairy freed them from that curse… (This clip doesn’t show the entire stage, but I do like the close-up view of the Mariinsky’s version.)

Lilac Fairy’s Variation—The Sleeping Beauty

What floral-inspired magical creature saves the day and rocks a purple wig at the same time? The Lilac Fairy, of course! But, before all of the drama—a dance.

“He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not…”—Giselle

Spoiler alert: the flower tells the truth.

Le Jardin Animé—Le Corsaire

If you didn’t get enough flowers in the “Garland Waltz,” this scene in Le Cosaire basically blossoms into balletic botanical garden.

Waltz of the Flowers—The Nutcracker

Beautiful any time of year… Besides, there’s a good chance this music dances through your head all year anyway.

 

Happy Tutu Tuesday!

“Aurora means “dawn.” When the princess enters, she comes like a sunburst — flooding the stage with beauty, charm and pre-adult energy.”

– Alastair Macaulay on the role of Aurora, Meet Aurora of ‘The Sleeping Beauty’: Her Native Language Is Classical Ballet, The New York Times, February 8, 2017

Happy Tutu Tuesday!

Jade Wood as the Fairy of Musicality in The Australian Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty:

Interesting thought…

Deborah Stone, editor of ArtsHub, says that the visual art of costume and set design brings out the grandeur of the music in the Australian Ballet’s new Sleeping Beauty…

“…costume and set designer Gabriela Tylesova stood out. Her lavish Rococo set and costumes had the delicious charm of a Fragonard painting. Each act delivered another beautiful colour palette, evoking the powdered wigs and courtly manners of 17th Century France. In the ​christening scene burgundy and gilt set a royal mood, in the hunt fairy glade greens evoked the natural setting. The garden pastoral dripped with bowers of pink and turquoise, a particularly stunning combination, and the apotheosis of the wedding scene bathed the stage in swathes of gold and crystal with a sumptuousness worthy of Versailles.

It was a setting which brought out the grandeur of Tschaikovsky’s score and set the scene for a majestic reinterpretation of – and additions to – Petipa’s famous choreography.” – Sleeping Beauty Review

What do you think? Can the visual art of costume and set design bring out or enhance certain qualities in music used for dance?

 

 

Sugar Plum Lilac Fairy?

sugar-plum-lilac-fairy-claras-coffee-break
Created with Wikimedia Commons Public Domain Image.

The Sugar Plum Fairy’s iconic variation music once was borrowed for another famous ballet character…

“The same tinkling celesta was interpolated for the Lilac Fairy in The Sleeping Princess, the 1921 Ballet Russes version of The Sleeping Beauty.”

Nutcracker Nation by Jennifer Fisher  p. 20

Tchaikovsky’s Cinderella?

tchaikovsky-cinderella-claras-coffee-break
Daydream of a poster created with Wikimedia Commons Public Domain image.

It could have been Tchaikovsky’s first ballet.

But, it wasn’t. It never came into being at all. Ann Nugent explains:

“In 1870 he had occupied himself with large-scale ideas about writing a four-act ballet Cinderella, though he seems to have abandoned them fairly quickly, leaving no trace of any music he may have written for it.”

Swan Lake, Barron’s Educational Series, Inc. 1985, p.14

Tchaikovsky, did, of course, later compose a mini version of the Cinderella story for the wedding scene in The Sleeping Beauty.

Here’s a clip of American Ballet Theatre‘s Courtney Lavine and Calvin Royal III performing to a piano arrangment of that piece in Alexei Ratmansky’s version of The Sleeping Beauty at Works & Process at the Guggenheim.

Do you wish Tchaikovsky had composed a full-length score for Cinderella?