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Paquita

ballet in one act (Grand pas from the ballet «Paquita»)

Paquita ballet, photo Vasilij Majseyonok

Music: Ludwig Minkus
Choreography: Marius Petipa
Staging Version: Pavel Stalinsky, Conductors: Ivan Kostyakhin, Oleg Lessoun
Scenography: People’s Artist of the USSR Simon Virsaladze
Costumes: People’s Artist of the USSR Simon Virsaladze, Honored Artist of Russia, Laureate of the State Prize of the Republic of Belarus — Vyacheslav Okunev, Ekaterina Bulgakova

First night: January 27, 1881, Mariinsky Theatre, St.-Petersburg
Duration: 25 minutes

The nearest performance(s):

The Synopsis of the «Paquita» Ballet

A wedding-party of the beautiful Paquita and Lucien is on in the house of a well-known Spanish noble man. The children`s mazurka opens the magnificent ball. Paquita`s friends demonstrate virtuosity in their solo dances. The celebration Feast finishes with the dance of the main characters Paquita and Lucien.

Historical reference

«Paquita» is a short name today to call the Grand-pas of a ballet with the same name composed by Ludwig Minkus and staged by Marius Petipa. A ballet with such name was first staged in Paris in 1846. The authors of its music and choreography were Joseph Mazilier and Edouard Deldevez. The performance was a great success in Paris and in London and no wonder that «Paquita» became the first performance staged by the 29 years old Marius Petipa in Petersburg.

The character of the main heroine as well as the carcass of the plot are borrowed form the novel «La gitanilla (The Gypsy Girl)» by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra.

Paquita is a young beauty and a great dancer. She was born in a noble family; kidnapped as a child by the gypsies she roams with the Gypsy camp all over Spain. After a range of events Paquita comes to know the truth about her family, she finds her lost relatives and her bridegroom, Lucien, a young noble deeply fallen in love with her. The happy end of the knotty story is the splendid wedding of Paquita and Lucien.

The success of Paquita on Petersburg stage was beyond all expectations. Still after several years, this pantomime ballet yielded its place in the repertoire to the performances of the famous French choreographers Jules Perrot and Arthur Sent-Leon. Marius Petipa came back to his Paquita after thirty years, having staged such ballets as «The Daughter of the Pharaoh», «Don Quixote» and «La Bayadère». The good occasion to restage the «Paquita» was the benefit performance of the ballerina Ekaterina Vazem. By the request of Petipa, the composer Ludwig Minkus had composed the gala Grand Pas, which has become the culmination of the whole ballet. Thanks to the Grand Pas Classique the wedding ballet has turned into a brilliant choreographic composition.

In the Soviet years «Paquita» disappears from the repertoires of the theatres, but the final Grand Pas having retained just the name of the old ballet has started an independent life and embellishes the repertoires of many a theatre in the world. The form of the large scale dance scene, the Grand Pas, corresponds to the general canon of choreographic structures of a classical performance: entrée, adagio, variations, coda. The gala entries of the corps-de-ballet and the soloists are marked with bravura and synchronism. The female solo variations follow. Each of the variations is a small masterpiece with its own character and style. On top of all this splendour, the leading dancing couple demonstrates the academism and the beauty of the classical dance.

After seeing Paquita you will definitely understand the balletomanes of the passed centuries, who followed the carriage of the ballerina after the end of the performance or drank champagne from the point shoe of their goddess.

The stage director of Grand Pas from the ballet «Paquita» on the Byelorussian stage was the well-known pedagogue and ballet-master from Petersburg Pavel Stalinsky. Having graduated from the «Vaganova» Leningrad Academic Choreographic School, he has been performing over a period of years on the stage of the Leningrad Kirov State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet (at present Mariinsky Theatre) and Leningrad Academic Maly Theatre of Opera and Ballet (at present Mikhailovsky Theatre). By the invitation of the outstanding Russian dancer Constantine Sergueev he took part in the staging of «Corsair» at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.

 
 

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