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Aïda [1955]

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Film Identifier: F.2011-05-0084a
Run Time
0h 2m 22s
Date Produced
"Aïda" is a ballet choreographed by Ruth Page to accompany the 1871 opera by Giuseppe Verdi. She seems to have choreographed three versions of it for three different opera companies.  The first, for Ravinia Opera, was premiered in 1926; the second, for Chicago City Opera, premiered a decade later in 1936; the third, for the Lyric Opera of Chicago, premiered on November 1, 1955.  

This film represents a rehearsal of the 1955 version.  Though records indicate that the cast of the premiere included Ronald Frazier, Kenneth Johnson, and Carol Lawrence, this rehearsal is danced by Kenneth Johnson and Barbara Steele.
The film opens with a shot of two dancers (one male, one female) standing in a dance studio, wearing practice clothes.  A sheet of plastic is hung over the mirrors behind them.  The two perform a pas de deux with stylized hand positions--in the place of ballet's traditional 'relaxed' palms, both generally keep their palms flexed throughout.  Many of their movements are sharp as well, contributing to its 'exotic' flavor as a ballet about Egyptians and Ethiopians.  Near the middle of the film, they appear to strike the final pose, which they hold for a few moments.  The film ends there.
Additional Credits
Page, Ruth (is choreographer)
Actors, Performers and Participants
Johnson, Kenneth (is performer)
Steele, Barbara (is performer)