Le Spectre de la Rose

Spectre was premiered by Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes on April 19, 1911 at the Theatre de Monte Carlo. The original roles were danced by Nijinsky and Karsavina (Do Read ‘Theatre Street’ by Karsavina).The choreographer was Michel Fokine to music “Invitation to the Dance’ by Carl Maria von Weber. The costumes were designed by Leon Bakst. It is a virtuoso piece for a male dancer. Of course, Nijinsky must have been stunning. Below, I will start by showing Nureyev and Barishnikov dancing the roles. I do not believe these are the best performances. Then I shall give you other performances that I consider excellent and explain why.

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In Spectre featuring Dmitri Gudanov and Anatassia Goryacheva, Gudanov is very light on his feet and graceful, almost feminine, with a precision in his movements. Note the turn ,as the different male dancers will use different choreography here, some starting with arabesque en tournant, some with attitude en tournant, etc. Anastassia is particulary expressive and beautiful in what is a secondary role.

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Ananiashvilli and Ruzimatov: Ananiashvilli creates a beautiful little cameo that almost stills the show. Ruzimatov is technically excellent, but less like a spirit because he seems a taller man and his movements are more vigorous.

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Mathias Heymann  and Isabelle Ciaravola from the Opera Gambier dance with a sensitivity toward and re-creation of the mannerisms and style of the Diaghilev performance. Heymann is a smaller and more airborn dancer. Ciaravola is beautiful. I did not know either of these dancers.

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Herman Cornejo is 5 feet 6″ tall and beautifully built for this role. I loved what I imagined to be the Nijinsky-esque mannerisms which may have been part of the original Fokine choreography and which can be gleaned from photogrlaphs of Nijinsky in this role. His technique and height of jumps is outstanding. Alas, I thought less of Reyes’ performance here and felt that she wasn’t so sensitive to the stylisation. The performances weren’t in harmony with each other.

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Igor Kolb is a principle dancer in the Mariinsky Ballet. He is tall and long which gives a less Nijinsky look to the choreography, but he is elegant and accomplished. Zhana Auipova is charming and beautiful, and they work well together. Igor Kolb is appearing at the Sadler’s Wells in London in an all male programme at the end of January.

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