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 Post subject: Interview with Dame Alicia Markova.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2002 3:45 am 
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Joined: Wed May 02, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 411
Location: Scotland.UK
I saw this interview advertised by chance , glad i listened to it though.
Dame Alicia Markova was a guest on Desert Island Discs yesterday , although the dear lady is getting on in years it was intresting to listen to.
She descibed how she got into ballet by accident , it was either that or spend the rest of her life in leg irons and later in a wheelchair.She was spotted by Diageliev and ended up being one of his prodigies .
She told a lovely story of how Stravinsky did the Nightingale for her and that she didn't understand exactly what was required of her , since there was no pianist she broke down in tears , Diageliev said he would bring a pianist in next day to help her....it was Stravinsky himself!!She called him "sergi pops"!!
The interview went on to talk about her time as director of the Meteropolitan Opera House , and her partner in ballet Sir Anton Dolin .He was very fond of her despite being homosexual he asked her at one time to marry her , she new that he would look after her and take care of her...but the marriage never happened.
Wish i could remember more , should have taken notes..sorry . Not all of the pieces of music were from the ballet , some polkas , opera..the book she wanted was speaking of Diageliev to remind her of times past.


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 Post subject: Re: Interview with Dame Alicia Markova.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2002 5:31 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 22, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 147
Location: UK
I heard this, and since I remember seeing Markova and Dolin dance I found it very interesting. She is over 90 - born 1910, I think.

The Polka was from Facade, so did count as ballet. The opera was an aria from Aida, and she also chose part of The Merry Widow, which she remembered her father (who died when she was 13) singing to her as a child. Her final choice was Softly Awakes my Heart sung by Marian Anderson. The other pieces were ballet, including a bit of Sleeping Beauty and the Sugar Plum Fairy variation.

For her luxury (to take to the mythical island) she chose perfume.


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 Post subject: Re: Interview with Dame Alicia Markova.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2002 6:59 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19616
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
As I'm out of the country I missed this so it was good to read your comments.

Of all the ballerinas from the past Markova is one I would really like to have seen, especially as her speciality was "Giselle", one of my favourites. She was clearly very adaptable and once danced with Ram Gopal who was impressed with her quick mastery of the basics of Indian dance.

Dame Alicia has a wonderful memory and when she was a teenager with Diaghilev, Danilova used to ask her help to remember her steps.


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 Post subject: Re: Interview with Dame Alicia Markova.
PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2002 4:09 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19616
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
<img src="http://www.abt.org/library/galleries/images/1.07giselle.jpg" alt="" />

American Ballet Theatre audiences were privileged to see the partnership of British stars Alicia Markova and Anton Dolin during the Company's early years. They are shown here in their renowned interpretations of Giselle and Albrecht.
Photo by Walter Garrison.



I’ve just watched one of the loveliest ballet films I have ever seen. It was “Markova, a Legend”, made this year and shown on the French Arts TV station Mezzo. It showed Dame Alicia at Paris Opera Ballet talking and teaching the dancers fragments of some of her most famous roles. To say that her memory is undimmed is an understatement. She was always friendly with the POB dancers, but showed them how what they had been taught was not what Balanchine, Fokine and others had showed her. She remembered when she first worked with Fokine in the 1940s, having already performed all the variations in “Les Sylphides”. He asked her to show him and at the end he said, “Is that “Les Sylphides”? Tomorrow we will start work.”

There were some lovely comments including the problems she had dancing for Balanchine in the afternoons and having classes in the morning with Ceccetti who hated Balanchine’s “distortions” of classical ballet. It made me think of the Balanchine devotees of today who hate Forsythe and accuse him of distorting ballet. Plus ca change…..

We also saw historic film footage of Markova in several of the pieces – “Giselle”, “Bluebird”, “Les Sylphides” and a few stills from “La Chant du Rossignol”. Old film is notorious for not doing justice to dance or dancers, but I gained a strong impression of beautiful and rapid footwork combined with excellent balance and much expressiveness. At one stage in a POB studio she slipped off her shoe to point out the crucial muscles and there were those tiny, undeformed feet. As a dancer she was so light that her shoes were never scuffed and clearly she did little damage to herself.

Throughout the programme she was demonstrating and giving clear indications to the dancers. Her fine musicality came across clearly and this was the aspect she was strictest about with the dancers. In “Les Sylphides” she worked with Laurent Hilaire (I think) and obviously loved being partnered again albeit walking the steps. It was very moving and I was close to tears at the end.

What a wonderful lady. I hope that a notator was there off camera to capture her memories of the original steps and positions.

<small>[ 10-01-2002, 06:11: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Interview with Dame Alicia Markova.
PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2002 8:16 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 11327
Location: San Diego, California, USA
I only have two excerpts on tape of her in Giselle, and that lightness and expressiveness just shines through her performance.

She is the last of that generation isn't she?


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 Post subject: Re: Interview with Dame Alicia Markova.
PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2002 8:40 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 1742
Location: London UK
As the youngest dancer of the Ballet Russe, I think Markova must be the last Diaghilev survivor. I would love to see the film that Stuart mentions. The references to Fokine and Les Sylphides illustrate just how dependent Ballet is upon a dancers memory and how unlikely it is today to get an accurate recreation of a choreographer's work.


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