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In Performance at Wolf Trap: Galina and Valery Panov [November 17, 1975] - English Dances (Solitaire?)

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Video Identifier: V.2011-05-0437
Run Time
0h 56m 17s
Date Produced
This video contains two different performances: first, a black and white recording of a (color) episode of the television series In Performance at Wolf Trap, a multi-year series broadcast by New York's WNET/13-TV, and second, a rehearsal of a ballet set to Malcolm Arnold's 1951 composition English Dances (perhaps a version of Kenneth MacMillan's 1956 ballet Solitaire?). The latter seems to have been accidentally recorded over the original television program, which involved a series of excerpt performances by Galina and Valery Panov. The two dancers had only been allowed to leave Russia the year before, after being expelled from the Kirov Ballet and imprisoned for applying for exit visas. 

The dances included in the original November 17, 1975 broadcast of the Panovs In Performance at Wolf Trap were:
  1. Pas de deux from Don Quixote (Choreography: Marius Petipa; Music: Minkus)
  2. The Young Lady and the Hooligan (Choreography: Konstantin Boyarsky; Music: Dmitri Shostakovich)
  3. Grand adage from Act II pas de deux from The Nutcracker (Choreography: Vasily Vainonen; Music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky) 
  4. Excerpt from Petrouchka (Choreography: Mikhail Fokine; Music: Igor Stravinsky)
  5. Pas de deux from Harlequinade (Choreography: Marius Petipa; Music: Riccardo Drigo)
Because of the double recording, only a sliver of the first piece is included; the video returns to the performance halfway through The Young Lady and the Hooligan. Also missing is the introduction by the program hosts, Beverly Sills and Davis Prowitt.
The video begins roughly 3 minutes into the Panov's Don Quixote pas de deux. Both are in formal embroidered white costumes and perform on an otherwise empty stage.

After less than a minute, the video falls into static and switches to a different, darker stage with folding chairs visible before it. Only a few bodies are visible in the audience--one turns to ask the camera operator, "Am I in the way?" while a female dancer sits folded over at center stage. After a few minutes, a voice explains, "The lights are supposed to come up here" and a male dancer enters from stage left to approach the dancer at center. He passes by her, and is followed by a series of other dancers who do the same, only briefly noticing the person in their paths. Eventually, she rises, warms up, and performs a bright solo. Two more women then join her for a pas de trois. When they exit, she dances alone for a few more moments before exiting herself.

Next, another female dancer enters and is joined momentarily by a male partner; the two perform a pas de deux. After he eventually carries her offstage, two male dancers then enter and greet each other jovially. One exits immediately and leaves the other to begin a solo. He is soon joined by a female dancer behind him, who at first seems to serve as a mimick or even a partner but then fully surpasses the man, whose companion reenters and excorts him offstage. This leaves the female dancer to complete the solo herself. 

Next, a dancer near the back of the stage appears to begin an adagio (though it is difficult to make out). She is slowly joined by three others, who stand near the back and take over when she exits. One of them exits as well, leaving two (both men) to come forward. Another man enters as they remove a layer of pants and toss them on the ground before exiting. This remaining man, soon joined by another, puts on the discarded pants. After this, there is a shuffling of dancers off and onstage; a group of six coalesces to perform a brief ensemble dance together, but they soon scatter when two men enter and participate in either a dancing lesson or a dance-off together (it is unclear which). The section concludes with a brief solo by one of these dancers and an even briefer one by one of the six. All then scatter again, with six lining up along the back.

The six then perform an adagio ensemble dance together. When it ends and they exit, a female soloist takes the stage. As she performs, the six reenter at the back and dance simply behind her. Then, they move forward in a row and she runs toward the back, where she continues her solo when they kneel. Finally, she comes back to the front and leads them in a full ensemble dance. When it is complete, they exit and once again leave her alone; her subsequent solo contains some tap dance mixed in with its ballet and she lands triumphantly in the splits.

In the next scene, the soloist is lifted up and carried offstage as other dancers slowly stream in one and two at a time, much like they did at the beginning. After all have entered with a brief introductory variation, they come together as a circle of six and perform yet another ensemble dance. As they stand in their final row, a solo dancer is carried in before them and collapses at their feet. While they help this figure hobble off stage, other dancers set themselves up in final poses. After a moment, the dancers break character.

The video then hits static before returning to the In Performance at Wolf Trap program. The Panovs are a little over four minutes into The Young Lady and the Hooligan. She wears a full dress and he wears a hat and an overalls-like bodysuit; the stage is sparsely set with a park bench and a street lamp. The two perform a passionate but conflicted pas de deux; he throws himself at her but she pulls away at first, before giving in to reciprocate his passion. Still, when he kisses her she is overwhelmed and seems to faint, suffering from a headache when she rises again. As she comes to her senses, he declares his love for her and she simply shakes her head. Despite his persistence, she exits before long. He is left despondent and alone; he completes the dance by curling up beneath the park bench. The curtain closes and the camera pulls back to reveal the audience applauding; the curtain goes up again to allow for the Panovs' bow. As the curtain falls again, the video switches to a camera behing the curtain, which follows them offstage to prepare for the next ballet.

The hosts are then seen in the audience, discussing the next variation: an adagio from The Nutcracker. The stage camera shows the Panovs preparing behind the curtain, and as they walk onstage the video fades from the camera in the wings to the camera in the audience. For the next several minutes, the Panovs then perform the famous Sugar Plum Fairy + Cavalier pas de deux. At the end, the curtain once again drops but rises again for bows. When it drops, the video switches to a view of the hosts again. They dicuss the next ballet, Petrouchka, apparently a favorite of Valery Panov's: "a story of a puppet that has a human soul." 

The ballet consists of a solo by Valery, who is dressed as a jester puppet. He feels trapped both by his body and within a cage (represented by scenery). It is a fairly brief piece; afterwards, the hosts discuss Valery as a character dancer (with acting ability) and introduce the final piece: the pas de deux from Harlequinade, which also exhibits Valery's dramatic abilities. While they discuss it, the video switches to its stage camera, showing the preparation occurring behind the curtain.

The ballet's grand pas de deux begins with an entrance by Valery in a mask; he performs a solo and exits quietly just as Galina enters. She begins dancing across the floor and Valery watches her, leaning against a column in the background. He soon comes forward and joins her for an introductory pas de deux. After this first pas de deux ends, the couple bows and exits. Valery then returns to the stage and dances a grand allegro solo variation. After he bows and exits, Galina enters and performs her own solo variation. After each performs a turn-intensive reprise, they come back together and exit, only to reenter for another set of bows. At this point, Galina is handed several bouquets. She exits with them and Valery returns to his column. The two then reprise their reprises, as it were, performing the difficult turning variations once more before their final exit and final bows. During their final bows, the camera pulls back to include the audience and the credits run on top of this view. The video ends before the credits are complete.
Main Credit
Leon, Ruth (is producer)
Latham, Stan (is director)
Additional Credit
Filene Center Orchestra (music)
Lipkin, Seymour (music)
Actors, Performers and Participants
Sills, Beverly (is host)
Prowitt, David (is host)
Panov, Galina (is performer)
Panov, Valery (is performer)
Related Place
Vienna (production location of)