Technique

Let us take the technique, the ballet technique beyond what might be termed ... normal

The story told to me by an old Diaghilev dancer about Nijinsky in Pavillom d’Armide where, in his solo he did a series of entrechat six, double tours, travelling across the stage, four times to the right, followed by four times to the left. We hear about his elevation, but not always things like that.

In my earlier days, the forties, I saw male dancers doing far more pirouettes than I see nowadays.

I have mentioned Alexandre Kalioujny doing his 24 pirouettes in Prince Igor. But then there was Dokoudovsky with the original Ballet Russe 1947, who at the end of Prince Igor, began his last pirouette as the curtain was coming down. It immediately came up, and he was still turning, or so it seemed. The curtain was not down for long.

That same season in Carnival, Dokoudovsky as Harlequin, came on in his solo, with a cabriolle then the jump with the legs drawn up under him, then took his preparation for a pirouette. He turned until the end of that first phrase, he had twelve counts to turn in, he filled them.

Andre Eglevsky became famous for the opening of Apollo, choreography by Balanchine. Apollo is bound up in two bandages. The girls pull on these as he turns, the bandages are long and he turns for a long time.

I saw my first triple tour en l’air in 1947 with Michel de Lutry of the International Ballet in Britain, in a performance of the pas de trois from Sleeping Beauty.

Triple tours became, thanks to the coaching of Maria Fay, a standard procedure for David Adams in the finale of the Nutcracker pas de deux in the sixties.

John Field of the Sadler’s Wells Ballet always did entrechat huit in his solo in Swan Lake act three.

Rabovsky, the Hungarian dancer, always finished his solo in the Don Quixote pas de deux, with eight alternating double tours right and left, the last one finishing on the knee.

Robert Ito tells me the story about Act three Swan Lake coda, where he could see the dancers full height under my legs as I did that series of grand jet%#233 around the stage.

I always did an entrechat huit in the wings before my coda in Swan Lake.

Rowena Jackson from Australia, of the Sadler’s Wells Ballet was famous for her pirouettes. In that post war period, Rowena did not finish a solo with a double turn, she did a triple. 32 fouettes without coming down on to flat foot between each turn, but staying on pointe.