If There Is Much In The Window There Should Be More In The Room

Monday, April 11, 2011

Kingdom of the Shades

La Bayadère (The Temple Dancer) (Russian: Баядерка - Bayaderka) is a ballet, originally staged in four acts and seven tableaux by the Ballet Master Marius Petipa to the music of Ludwig Minkus. It was first performed by the Imperial Ballet at the Imperial Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia, on February 4 [O.S. January 23] 1877.

A scene from the ballet, known as The Kingdom of the Shades, is one of the most celebrated excerpts in all of classical ballet, and it is often extracted from the full-length work to be performed independently.

La Bayadere is most famous for its "white act," commonly known as the Kingdom of the Shades. It is one of the most celebrated excerpts in all of classical ballet. The dance begins with 32 women in white, all making their way down a ramp in unison. The dance is exquisite, and often performed by itself.

As is the case for most of Marius Petipa’s ballets, La Bayadère remained unknown in the West because the 1950 s’ «Iron Curtain» put a halt to all cultural exchanges.
The revelation came about in 1961, when the Kirov Ballet was on tour in Paris and London..

It was at the Palais Garnier that Act III of La Bayadère (The Kingdom of the Shades) unfolded its hypnotic procession of 32 bayadères in white tutus and veils – turned into ghosts (Shades) - as they slowly descend - one by one in a series of arabesques penchées - a slope that symbolizes their appearance from the netherworld.
« The procession deploys its sinuous line across the stage before ending in four parallel rows, an impressive effect achieved with very little means. This scene marked the beginning of the symphonic ballet », wrote Vera Krassovskaya, a Russian Dance Historian.


Kingdom of the Shades
La Bayadere
Paris Opera Ballet
Choreography by Rudolph Nureyev after Marius Petipa

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