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Salome and Herod [1952]

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Film Identifier: F.2011-05-0042
Run Time
0h 11m 6s
Date Produced
"Salomé and Herod" is a short pas de deux ballet choreographed by Ruth Page and Bentley Stone based on Richard Strauss's 1905 opera "Salomé", which was in turn based on Oscar Wilde's 1891 play of the same name.  It was premiered by Page and Stone on June 22, 1952 at Meeker Memorial Ampitheater in Evansville, Indiana.  Costumes were designed by Nicholas Remishoff and Strauss's score was adpated by Isaac Van Grove.  Page later (in 1954) expanded this into a full-length ballet entitled "Daughter of Herodias."

This film appears to represent a dress rehearsal of the original 1952 pas de deux.
The film begins with a woman (presumably Salomé) in an elaborate costume perched high on a pedestal, surrounded by guards behind their shields and Kind Herod on a throne to her right.  One of the guards brings Salomé down and she proceeds to dance a solo en pointe.  King Herod, fascinated by her dance, reaches out to touch her hand when she comes near him.  Increasingly entranced, he then rises from his throne and follows her around the room, reaching toward her with both arms.  They then dance a sort of pas de deux, him lusting after her and often dancing with her from a kneeling position as she continues moving.  This eventually transforms into a slightly more traditional pas de deux in which King Herod lifts Salomé over his head while the soldiers rise to attention in the background.  The film cuts to repeats of a couple sections of the dance; eventually the soldiers place Salomé back up on the pedestal.  King Herod then collapses onto the support of two soldiers.  When they help Salomé down from the pedestal once again and present themselves at her service, Herod is held down by the pedestal and looks on, pained.  Salomé dances a pas de trois with the soldiers (with several sections repeated) and Herod makes it back to his throne as the soldiers lift Salomé over their heads.

Eventually, the soldiers all back away and Salomé brings a silver platter to Herod--she demands the head of John the Baptist in exchange for dancing before Herod.  Having handed it to him, she watches and hops in place as the King dances a solo with the platter.  Salomé then wrestles it back from him and hands it to the soldiers, who exit with it, meaning to follow her commands.  The King dances alone, enraged, and the soldiers soon return with the platter, now holding a large lump under a cloth.  Salomé excitedly accepts the platter and holds it above her head triumphantly while the soldiers worm toward her on the ground and Herod approaches from behind her.  She then places the platter on the ground and sits down to examine it.  The film ends here.
Additional Credit
Page, Ruth (is choreographer)
Stone, Bentley (is choreographer)
Actors, Performers and Participants
Page, Ruth (is performer)
Stone, Bentley (is performer)