Frederic Franklin To Tape Video Series For The George Balanchine Foundation
NEW YORK CITY--Frederic Franklin, leading dancer and rehearsal master of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, will teach and coach five classical female variations from the ballet Raymonda for the cameras of The George Balanchine Foundation's Archive of Lost Choreography. Taping will commence on September 13,1998, at the New York City Ballet studios at the Rose Building, Lincoln Center. Nancy Reynolds, director of research for the Foundation, who founded the video archive in 1994, will direct the project. Mindy Aloff, dance critic of The New Republic will interview Mr. Franklin.
Choreographed by Marius Petipa for the Maryinsky Theater, St. Petersburg, in 1898, the full-length Raymonda was restaged after the original in a somewhat abbreviated form by George Balanchine and Alexandra Danilova in 1946 for the Ballet Russe. Mr. Franklin was known for the "considerable dash" he bought to his role as the hero Jean de Brienne. In April, 1997, he taught the main male solo to New York City Ballet principal dancer Nikolaj Hubbe for The George Balanchine Foundation's video archives.
"Frederic Franklin's knowledge of ballet history is phenomenal, and it is a joy to help him rescue choreography that might otherwise be lost," commented Ms. Reynolds. "The Balanchine Raymonda variations are sparkling examples of inimitable Petipa-style classicism, with all the attributes that implies-chief among them, order, clarity, and elegance."
For the upcoming taping, Mr. Franklin will work with five emerging members of the New York City Ballet corps on the variations for four female soloists and the ballerina from the Pas Classique Hongrois. Consisting of several solos and a Grand Pas de Deux, this Divertissement formed the climax of Act III. New York Times critic John Martin found the female variations "brilliantly made to the tuneful and highly colorful music," a highlight of the evening.
Dancers Alexandra Ansanelli, Kristina Fernandez, Riolama Lorenzo, Jennie Somogyi, and Pascale van Kipnis will learn roles originated by Marie- Jeanne, Ruthanna Boris, Maria Tallchief, Yvonne Chouteau, and Mme. Danilova, the leading ballerina.
Ms. Somogyi learned another version of the ballerina solo, choreographed by Balanchine for Pas de Dix, from its originator, Maria Tallchief, who coached it on videotape in 1995 for The Balanchine Foundation. She will compare the Tallchief version with the Danilova solo. Balanchine was clearly attracted to the melodious Glazounov music, as he subsequently choreographed several short ballets to various excerpts from the Raymonda score, including Pas de Dix, Raymonda Variations, and Cortège Hongrois.
Of the upcoming interview, Ms. Aloff noted, "Frederic Franklin is one of the few living libraries of Balanchine dancing of a certain era. He is able to transmit his knowledge with fidelity, great humor, and understanding to generations that have never worked with Balanchine. The Balanchine Foundation's archival projects are unique, urgent, and punctiliously organized; the Foundation is one of the most magnanimous in the performing arts today."
FREDERIC FRANKLIN, born in Liverpool, danced in England with the Markova-Dolin company and in London music halls before joining the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in 1938. There he formed an important partnership with the beloved Alexandra Danilova and originated roles in ballets by Massine, Ashton, de Mille, and Balanchine, in addition to dancing leading parts in the entire repertoire. He was also rehearsal master for the Ballet Russe. From 1963 -1974, he was director of the National Ballet of Washington, D.C. In recent years, he has been highly active as teacher, coach and stager for companies around the world and has worked extensively with the Dance Theatre of Harlem and the Cincinnati Ballet. His staging of Coppélia for American Ballet Theatre had its New York premiere at the Metropolitan Opera House in May 1997. In addition to an earlier taping of the chief male variation from Raymonda with New York City Ballet principal Nikolaj Hiibbe, Mr. Franklin directed the retrieval of the original Mozartiana and staged two pas de deux from Le Baiser de la Fée for The George Balanchine Foundation video archives.
ALEXANDRA ANSANELLI appeared as one of the children in the film version of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker, which was released in the fall of 1993. Since joining the New York City Ballet corps in 1996, she has danced featured roles in Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream (" Butterfly"), The Nutcracker (" Dewdrop"), Raymonda Variations, Scotch Symphony, Symphony in C (3rd Movement), Symphony in Three Movements, Tschaikovsky Pas De Deux, and Who Cares?; Peter Martins' Fearful Symmetries, River of Light and The Sleeping Beauty; Jerome Robbins' Afternoon of A Faun, The Cage, Interplay and 2 &3 Part Inventions; Richard Tanner's Schoenberg Variations and Variations on a Nursery Song and Bournonville's Ballabile. She originated a role in Robbins' Les Notes for the NYCB premiere in 1998, as well as a role in Nichol Hlinka's Cheating;, Living Stealing for the 1998 NYCB Choreography Workshop.
KRISTINA FERNANDEZ, while still a student, danced a principal role in Jerome Robbins' world premiere of 2 & 3 Part Inventions at the School of American Ballet's 1994 Spring Workshop. Since joining the New York City Ballet corps in 1995, she has danced principal roles in George Balanchine's Cortége Hongrois and in Robbins' Interplay and appeared as a soloist in Balanchine's La Sonnambula. She originated roles in Robbins' West Side Story Suite and Brandenburg, and in Richard Tanner's Schoenberg/Wuorinen Variations. Ms. Fernandez reprised her role in Robbins'2 &3 Part Inventions when it entered the NYCB repertory in 1995.
RIOLAMA LORENZO was born in Cuba and entered the School of American Ballet in 1993, appearing in a series of lecture-demonstrations for the NYCB Education Department. While still a student, she also originated a role in Jerome Robbins' 2 &3 Part Inventions for the School's Spring Workshop. Since joining the NYCB corps in 1995, Ms. Lorenzo has danced principal roles in George Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream ("Titanic"), The Nutcracker ("Arabian"), and Union Jack, and in Robbins' The Concert and Fancy Free. In addition, she originated roles in Robbins' West Side Story Suite and Brandenberg, and in Peter Martins' Concerti Armonici and Reliquary.
JENNIE SOMOGYI was cast as "Marie" in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker at the age of 10. Since joining the NYCB corps in 1994, she has danced principal roles in George Balanchine's Ballo Della Regina, Divertimento No. 15, Jewels (" Emeralds"), The Nutcracker ("Dewdrop," "Marzipan," and "Hot Chocolate"), Scotch Symphony, Stars and Stripes, Symphony in C (4th Movement)and Who Cares?, in Jerome Robbins' Interplay, in Peter Martins' Tschaikovsky Pas de Quartet and The Waltz Project and in Richard Tanner's Episodes & Sarcasms. She originated roles in Robbins' Brandenberg, in Martins' Concerti Armonici, in Miriam Moldavian's Urban Dances, in Anna Markesan's In The Blue and in Christopher Wheeldon's Slavonic Dances. Ms. Somogyi was selected by Maria Tallchief to appear in three tapes produced by The George Balanchine Foundation, which were devoted to her interpretations of three of her great Balanchine roles: Symphony in C (1st Movement), Pas de Dix, and the Sugar Plum Fairy variation from The Nutcracker.
PASCALE VAN KIPNIS joined the NYCB corps in 1992, and has danced principal roles in George Balanchine's Apollo, Divertimento No. 15 and Who Cares?; in Jerome Robbins' Dances at a Gathering, Glass Pieces and The Goldberg Variations; and in Peter Martins' The Waltz Project. Ms. van Kipnis danced featured roles in Balanchine's Coppélia, Cortège Hongrois, The Four Temperaments, The Nutcracker, Symphony in C, Symphony in Three Movements, Serenade and Walpurpisnacht; in Robbins' Fancy Free, Interplay, Moves and 2 &3 Part Inventions and in Martins' The Sleeping Beauty. In addition, she originated a role in Robbins' West Side Story Suite and Martins' Jazz (Six Syncopated Movements).
MINDY ALOFF has been dance critic for The New Republic since 1993. She has written extensively on dance for The Nation (dance critic 1983-1993), Dunce Magazine (senior critic 1980-1991), The New Yorker, Encyclopedia Britannica, The Atlantic Monthly, and other publications. She trained in ballet with Pete Conlow, Barbara Fallis and Richard Thomas, Graham Smith, and Kathleen Crofton.
NANCY REYNOLDS danced with the New York City Ballet during the years that George Balanchine was choreographing some of his most important and popular works, including Agon, Episodes, Liebeslieder Walzer, and Stars and Stripes. Later, with a degree from Columbia University, she began a new career as an editor and author. Her first book, Repertory in Review: Forty Years of the New York City Ballet (1977), received the De la Torre Bueno prize. Dance Classics was cited by the New York Public Library as recommended reading for teenagers in 1992. Ms. Reynolds collaborated on several projects with Lincoln Kirstein, co-founder with Balanchine of the New York City Ballet. She is presently Director of Research for The George Balanchine Foundation and an editor of the multivolume lnternational Encyclopedia of Dance published by Oxford University Press this year. She is also writing a history of theatrical dance in the 20th century for Yale University Press.
THE GEORGE BALANCHINE FOUNDATION was established in 1983 as an educational foundation to further the work and aesthetic of George Balanchine. With the help of the Nancy Remick Reynolds Endowment, announced in October, 1994, the Foundation embarked on an ambitious program to create and disseminate Archives on videotape that would circulate to research facilities worldwide.
The aim of the Archives is two-fold: To gain new insight into Balanchine's choreography--and perhaps shed light on his creative process-through a close analysis of a specific work by those on whom the work was created or with whom he worked closely to prepare the role (The Interpreters Archive); and to retrieve Balanchine choreography no longer in current repertory (The Archive of Lost Choreography).
In February 1995, videotaping took place in London where English prima ballerina Dame Alicia Markova, then 84, recreated her solo from Balanchine's Song of the Nightingale on a young graduate of the Royal Ballet School. Maria Tallchief's contributions have included taped coaching sessions on: Firebird, Pas de Dix, Scotch Symphony, The Four Temperaments and The Nutcracker.
Marie-Jeanne has participated in coaching sessions devoted to Apollo, Ballet Imperial and the Russian Dance from Serenade. In 1996, Patricia Wilde coached and analyzed her virtuoso roles in Square Dance and Raymonda Variations.
Under the direction of Frederic Franklin, Robert Lindgren and Sonja Tyven, the Foundation has begun the recovery of an early version of Balanchine's Mozartiana. Mr. Franklin, assisted by Maria Tallchief and Vida Brown, has also restaged for camera two pas de deux from Balanchine's original Le Baiser de la Fee. In fall 1997, Todd Bolender discussed and demonstrated the seminal "Phlegmatic" variation from The Four Temperaments, and last winter, Alicia Alonso coached and analyzed Theme and Variations.
The Balanchine Foundation is producer of The Balanchine Essays, a nine-part video series examining Balanchine's approach to classical ballet technique. "Arabesque," "Passe and Attitude," and "Port de Bras and Epaulement" are now in commercial release (Nonesuch Dance Collection, "The Balanchine Library," distributed in the U.S. by WarnerVision Entertainment). In collaboration with the Dance Collection of the New York Public Library, the Foundation has added piano soundtracks to selected silent films. A recent effort, initiated this year, is the sponsorship of an educational lecture program, under the direction of critic Nancy Goldner, for companies performing Balanchine repertory.
In 1997, The George Balanchine Foundation Video Archive was inaugurated with a donation of edited master tapes to the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Copies of the collection are distributed to libraries by Dance Heritage Coalition.