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Daphnis and Chloe [1978]

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Video Identifier: V.2011-05-0455
Run Time
0h 16m 47s
Date Produced
"Daphnis and Chloe" is a ballet choreographed by George Skibine to Maurice Ravel's composition of the same name (originally choreographed by Mikhail Fokine for a premiere by the Ballets Russes in Paris in 1912). Skibine's version was premiered in 1959 by the Paris Opera Ballet with scenery by Marc Chagall; originally, Skibine performed the role of Daphnis and Claude Bessy danced Chloe. The Chicago Ballet performed Skibine's version during its 1978 season.

This video represents a rehearsal in practice clothes of Skibine's ballet from February 21, 1978. A voiceover at the beginning indicates that it is danced by Gennadi Vostrikov and Nancy Onizuka (of the Chicago Ballet).
The video begins with a black screen and a voiceover indicating that the video contains a rehearsal of Skibine's "Daphnis and Chloe" on February 21, 1978 by Gennadi Vostrikov and Nancy Onizuka; the video then cuts to a shot of a rehearsal space where Vostrikov lies on the ground. After the music has played for some time, he slowly rises and begins dancing a fanciful, expressive solo. Someone else can be seen dancing across the stage behind him, but he does not seem to notice. Eventually, Chloe enters from the back. Daphnis turns to gaze upon her and approaches her, but she does not make eye contact. He begins to fawn over her and she finally engages with him; this acknowledgement soon becomes an intimiate pas de deux. Over the course of this long dance, the two seem to tease each other before becoming more passionate about their dance together. Eventually, after a loving embrace while seated on the ground, the two separate and others enter the stage and seem to mill about the edges. Daphnis drops to the ground and Chloe rushes over to him; they embrace again, he lifts her, and begins to exit while holding her. At this point the camera is covered with a hand or similar; the screen goes dark.

When the camera is uncovered again, the stage space is full of variously lounging dancers (Nymphs? Pirates?). Three dance briskly across the stage, after which the rest rise and, stretching out their bodies, begin a large ensemble dance. All but two then exit; these two dance a quick pas de deux. They are then rejoined by the others and all dance again as an ensemble. All then exit just as Daphnis and Chloe stroll onstage, hand in hand. They dance a pas de deux of their own before exiting again. Next, the previous couple reenters for a reprise; they are joined by two more couples. When all three couples exit, Daphnis and Chloe return and dance together. As they do so, others run across the stage, perhaps attempting to capture the couple. Once they exit, more and more other dancers (some in couples) dance allegro diagonals across the stage. When Daphnis and Chloe return again, they seem to enter the fray with their own diagonal dance, before then joining the whole group for a long snaking line with all members holding hands. But as the rest break apart to dance frenetically, the couple stands alone at center, perhaps a bit frightened. The rest rush toward and encircle the couple before exiting again, leaving the couple alone on the ground once again. This seems to be the end; the video falls out of focus and a voice is heard saying "Very good, very good" as a hand once again covers the camera lens. The video ends there.
Additional Credit
Ravel, Maurice (is composer)
Skibine, George (is choreographer)
Actors, Performers and Participants
Vostrikov, Gennadi (is performer)
Onizuka, Nancy (is performer)