Hot Essays: March 2020

Petrouchka is a ballet choreographed by Mikhail Fokine and set to the music of Igor Stravinsky. First performed in 1911, it is said to be one of the most revolutionary ballets of all time. After watching the video, I was able to fully appreciate its imagination and originality. Traditionally, the art form of ballet is known for its gracefulness and beauty. Swan Lake is probably one of the most renowned examples of the romantic ballets in which a beautiful princess possessed by an evil force was transformed into a swan and finally rescued by a handsome prince. The most memorable scenes are perhaps those in which a corps of ballerinas dressed in flowing white tutus dance in unison. To me, the unity is mesmerizing. However, after watching just a few minutes of this video, I realized that Petrouchka was going to be decidedly different from the more traditional ballets. The first thing that I noticed to be unconventional was the costume worn by the dancers on stage. Rather than wearing the more typical costumes such as tutus, the dancers wear costumes that are distinctly Russian, and most of the female dancers do not wear pointe shoes.

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Though modified for stage purposes, the costumes could very well be something that one would find at a busy Russian carnival during the 19th century. Just purely based on seeing the costumes, I already felt that Petrouchka was going to have a more down-to-earth feel to it. Our Service Can Write a Custom Essay on Ballet for You! The thing that further solidified this feeling was the dancers’ movement. In the world of ballet, there is a very strict set of established movements. The movements are so standardized that each one has a name associated with it such as tendu, fondu, etc. Petrouchka is revolutionary in the sense that the choreographer was able to not only modify but introduce new movements in the dance. In the video, the one movement that immediately jumped out at me was one that was characteristic of Russian folk dancing. It is a movement in which a male dancer with his arms folded across his chests jumps from one leg to another in a squatting position.


In my opinion, by incorporating folk dancing elements into ballet, Fokine was able to make ballet a more popular art form. He reinvented ballet from an exclusive art form for the aristocracy or the upper class to an art form for the general public. In Petrouchka, Fokine judiciously used the style of movements to portray and define his characters. There are three main characters in the ballet, Petrouchka, the Ballerina, and the Moor. Petrouchka is a timid puppet who is in love with the Ballerina. To portray his shyness, Petrouchka’s movements are very slow and saggy. The dancer often falls to the ground or bends over to show the character’s spineless nature. I noticed that the dancer’s feet are almost always in a turned in position giving him a stiff, doll-like quality. To contrast Petrouchka’s somber and often pathetic appearance, the Ballerina is vivacious and often flirtatious, and to portray that, her movements are generally fast paced.


Fokine used a lot of sharp movements such as pique and frappe in her dance to exhibit her energetic nature. The Moor is the self-absorbed one of the trio. He is portrayed as a physically strong, yet mentally impaired puppet. His movements are very large and exaggerated. In click this link , the Moor simply sits on the floor and devotes his full attention to playing with a coconut. Upon shaking it, he realizes that there is something inside it and attempts to open it, to no avail. In the Moor’s mind, because the coconut cannot be opened, it must have greater power than he; therefore, he places it on the floor and worships it as if it were a god. The stage setting also helps to establish the different personalities of the characters. Petrouchka’s room is barren and dark. The set designer used cold tones such as blue and black to show the character’s lack of self-confidence. One prominent feature on the stage is a picture of the old wizard, which illustrates the level of control that the wizard has over Petrouchka.


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