By Jack Anderson
Booklet by way of Anderson, Jack
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Extra info for Choreography Observed
But what about a full-scale duet for James and the Sylph? " But is what would be proper for Petipa or Balanchine also proper for Boumonville? The very lack-indeed, the impossibilityof physical contact between the principals is part of Boumonville's conception and contributes to the individuality of his ballet. To add a pas de deux might blunt that individuality. When Lander added such a duet for his Ballet Theatre production, some viewers thought the results, though tasteful, made the ballet ponderous.
At present, only the young lovers' pas de deux from the first act of The Kermesse is widely known in America. It is one of Bournonville's finest duets. But how different it looks when it is performed in its proper place in the ballet! One tiny fragment of a vast choreographic mural, it comes amid lusty boot and clog dances, on a stage filled with robust Flemish merrymakers. Consequently, the choreography seems unusually delicate; the lovers, unusually tender. Because it bustles so jauntily along, The Kermesse can be enjoyed as pure entertainment.
And what was exciting in the fall of 1986 was the way Turocy, Jacoby, and Astier used scholarship not to add footnotes to dance history, but to restore dance history to life. Their revivals were not the only recent rejuvenations of old theatrical practices. As an entertainer at the 1986 "Bessie" Awards ceremonies at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, a young performance artist named John Kelly stepped forward in twentieth-century male attire and sang, in an attractive falsetto, "Mon coeur s'ouvre it ta voix," Dalila's aria from Saint-Saens's Samson et Dalila.