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  • Posted January 21, 2012

    Just When This Piece Began to Turn Into A Work of Bravura...

    Paquita, originally staged in Paris by Joseph Mazilier, was redone (only the second act) by Marius Petipa. Since then, Mazilier's first act has been long lost, and Petipa's grand pas (from the second act) has been more and more intwined with bravura tricks. As time went on, Petipa's grand pas contained more and more variations and technical tricks, gaining a very classical style and being looked as a test of the technique of a company. If one would like to see this work of technique at it's best, I would recommend the Mariinsky's version (with Makhalina and Zelensky).

    Pierre Lacotte has done what was previously though impossible - he's found Mazilier's first act, and Petipa's original second act. With this, he's made a stunning, classical, romantic ballet. It's still a test of technique, but now, it has heart and contains a real story (with plenty of mime), unlike all other versions found today. Of course, it's near impossible to find EVERY second of this old choreography, so he's filled in the gaps with choreography á la Petipa. This doesn't have the same effect as the original choreography, and it's evident in some weak spots of the ballet. However, the ballet is so perfectly performed that it's easy to overlook, what with the technical grandeur of the Paris Opera Ballet. José Martinez and Agnès Letestu are absolutely stunning, with perfect lines and excellent acting. Though he isn't mentioned in the program, another amazing dancer with a fantastic jump is the man in the pas de trois, which is unforgettable. This version of the children's mazurka is adorable, though for fans of this, I'd recommend the Russian version; it's done with more technical proficiency, and on a much grander scale.

    Luisa Spinatelli was very successful in the new costumes and sets of this classic ballet, adding even more to the ballet's beauty. The music (a combination of Delvedez and Minkus) is played beautifully, as well. The ballet is also filmed wonderfully, (unlike most ballet films) the director didn't hate ballet, and new precisely what he was doing. Also included in the DVD are a series of short interviews, which I recommend seeing; they're very informative. In short, I'd recommend this ballet to anyone who'd want to see the Paquita as it used to be seen, over 150 years ago. It's entertaining as a ballet, and as a very important historical timepiece, one of the most renowned romantic ballets of the past.

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