Thursday, 4 April 2013

Vera Karalli - 'The Dying Swan' (1916-7)



Vera Karalli (1889-1972) was a Bolshoi ballerina who made excursions into film acting - her strength was dramatic stage presence rather classical technique.

Vera danced with the Ballets Russes in 1909 and then in 1919 and 1920.

She was the favourite ballerina of Gorsky, and often partnered Mikhail Mordkin.

She danced and taught in Kaunas, Lithuania, in the 1920's. Between 1930 and 1935 she was ballet mistress of the Romanian Opera in Bucharest. She had her own studio in Paris 1938-41, then taught in Vienna.

The first segment I've placed in this video is from a Russian movie - Karalli is seen in close-up, reacting to what she is reading in a letter.

The second sequence is her 'Dying Swan', captured in 1916 or 1917. It is silent film but I've added an audio of Camille Saint-Saëns's cello solo 'Le Cygne' from 'Le Carnaval des Animaux' to which Mikhail Fokine choreographed this ballet. The movement and music are not in sync - the music just gives the right 'atmosphere' to the work.

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