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Tribute - Coppélia (Act III Grand Pas de Deux) [1977]

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Video Identifier: V.2011-05-0450
Run Time
0h 25m 29s
Date Produced
"Tribute" is a ballet choreographed in 1961 by Frederic Franklin, set to César Franck's composition Symphonic Variations (the same music Frederick Ashton used for his ballet "Symphonic Variations"). It was premiered on July 20, 1961 by the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo as the Boston Arts Center. 

"Coppélia" is a ballet in three acts, originally choreographed by Arthur Saint-Léon, which premiered in 1870 at the Théâtre Impérial de l'Opéra in Paris, France. It was restaged by Marius Petipa in the late 19th century for the Imperial Ballet of St. Petersburg, and has since been similarly restaged by many choreographers (such as George Balanchine in 1974).

This video appears to represent a rehearsal of "Tribute" by the Chicago Ballet in 1977, presumably in the weeks leading up to their performance of it in March of that year at the Drury Lane Theatre in Chicago's Water Tower Place. It also contains a rehearsal of segments of the grand pas de deux from Act III of "Coppélia," though it is unclear which version.
The video begins with a bit of static, followed by a shot of a rehearsal space where three couples stand posed in a diagonal line. Each couple in turn performs a momentary solo once the music begins. Then, they all join together for an ensemble couples' dance. Afterwards, two of the couples exit to allow the remaining one to perform a pas de deux. When they complete their dance, the other two couples return and join together for a second ensemble dance. As they near its completion, the couples separate by gender: the men form a line along the back and the women form a circle. 

Next, all but one of the female dancers exit and leave her to perform a solo. She is soon joined by the other two women and the trio dances together. When they exit together, one of the male dancers enters and follows with a solo of his own. Once he exits, two of the female dancers return and perform briefly; one then exits and leaves the other to perform another solo. As she dances, two of the male dancers arrive to partner her. After they have lifted her several times, the third male dancer enters and takes his turn partnering her as well. The three form a diagonal line and take turns dancing with her until all four exit in unison. 

The other two female dancers then scurry onstage and perform a fast-paced duet. They pose in the downstage corners and are joined by two of the male dancers, who complete a duet of their own and join the women in posing. Then, the third female dancer enters and performs her own solo. The posed couples follow by criss-crossing the stage and return to their positions as the third male dancer enters and performs a solo as well. Finally, he and the other four dancers onstage arrange themselves into a familiar diagonal and the female soloist makes her way from man to man down the row. All then break into couples for an ensemble partnering dance. Throughout the sequence, the group sometimes separates by gender briefly but always returns to the couples-formation. Finally, they reach the finale: male dancers jump, female dancers turn, and all come together for final poses. The video then cuts to static.

Several minutes later, the video returns to the same rehearsal space, where a portion of "Coppélia" (the grand pas de deux in Act III) begins to be rehearsed. It begins with the entrance of a couple, who performs a pas de deux. When they reach their final pose and complete it, they pause for a moment, as if to indicate a bow, and break character, walking offstage. The man then reenters to begin the next scene: a solo by him. When he completes it, breaks character, and walks offstage, the female dancer follows with a solo variation of her own. After she completes it, she, too, breaks character and begins walking away.

The video then cuts to another solo variation by the male dancer, after which the female dancer reenters and joins him for another partnering portion of their pas de deux. Then, both dancers each perform a coda in turn before completing the turn-heavy finale of their pas de deux. Just as they reach their final pose, the video ends. 
Additional Credit
Delibes, Léo (is composer)
Franck, César (is composer)
Franklin, Frederic (is choreographer)
Actors, Performers and Participants
Segarra, Ramon (is participant)