Classical Intensivo Course: «La Bayadère»

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The teachers of the Classical Intensive will adapt Petipa’s work into a suite, always observing the anti-Covid protocol

Preserving and disseminating the vast academic repertoire is one of the cornerstones of the Classical Intensive. For this reason, the teaching staff of our international course is dedicated to working on different fragments of the great classical repertoire. And the union of all these fragments forms a suite that is shown at the closing gala of the corresponding edition of Valencia Endanza.

This year, and always under the strict observance of the anti-Covid protocol, our maestros are starting to work on the adaptation of different parts of La Bayadère (1877), with choreography by Marius Petipa and music by Ludwig Minkus. We understand group work as a fundamental element in the study of the classical repertoire and we would also like to emphasize that the participants of Classical I, Classical II and Classical III will work on an adaptation of the repertoire according to their technical level.

The play is about the love betrayal of the warrior Solor to the ‘Great Bayadère’, Nikiya, when he forgets his promise of love in order to marry the Rajah’s daughter Gamzatti. Love, betrayal, jealousy, spite and revenge come together in this nineteenth-century play set in exotic India.

A little history of La Bayadère

Rudolf Nureyev chose the role of the warrior Solor from La Bayadère for his Paris debut with the Kirov Ballet of Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) on 19 May 1961. This choice for its presentation in the birthplace of ballet is indicative of the importance of this work from the classical repertoire, created from two dramas by the Indian poet Kālidāsa.

The libretto by Sergei Khudekov and Marius Petipa was turned into a grand ballet by the Marseille choreographer and scored by Ludwig Minkus. The Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre in St. Petersburg hosted the premiere on 23 January 1877, with Ekaterina Vazem as Nikiya, Pavel Gerdt as Solor, Lev Ivanov as Rajah and Maria M. Petipa as Gamzatti.

Originally, La Bayadère had four acts, but nowadays it varies between two and three, depending on the company performing it. Probably the most iconic scene of the work is The Kingdom of Shadows: thirty-six dancers descending a ramp, one after the other, after the first arabesque penché in profile, parade in a hypnotic zigzag until they take over the stage.