Unreal Nature

August 21, 2016

The Quiet Which She Moves In

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:47 am

… I don’t doubt that so great an artist will soon tire of the effects she now toys with.

This is from ‘Markova at Ballet Theatre’ [April, 1945] found in Edwin Denby: Dance Writings, edited by Robert Cornfield and William MacKay (1986):

Miss Markova’s delicacy in lightness, in rapidity; the quickness in the thighs, the arrowy flexibility of the instep; her responsiveness in the torso, the poise of the arms, the sweetness of the wrists, the grace of neck and head — all this is extraordinary. But her dancing is based on a rarer virtue. It is the quiet which she moves in, an instinct for the melody of movement as it deploys and subsides in the silence of time, that is the most refined of rhythmic delights. The sense of serenity in animation she creates is as touching as that of a Mozart melody.

She is a completely objective artist. Who Markova is, nobody knows. what you see on the stage is the piece she performs, the character she acts. She shows you, as only the greatest of actresses do, a completely fascinating impersonation, completely fascinating because you recognize a heroine of the imagination who finds out all about vanity and love and authority and death. You watch her discover them.

The following is from ‘Markova’s Failing’ [November, 1945]:

Ballet Theatre’s season, which closes tonight, has been very successful commercially, but artistically it leaves a disappointing impression, and one of its unexpected disappointments has been the lessening of Markova’s marvelous magic.

… One sees climaxes this season (in Nutcracker and Aurora) that are tricked out with flicks of the head in pirouettes, with flicks of the wrist in poses; one notices (in Giselle, too) the wrists beating time in sustained passages, and broad smiles held throughout a classic number. She seems, no doubt unconsciously, to indicate a discourteous aversion to dancing with Eglevsky and Kriza; and in dancing with Dolin she sometimes gives the effect of a private understanding between them — as is customary and proper in exhibition ballroom dancing but hardly in great classic roles.

… I don’t doubt that so great an artist will soon tire of the effects she now toys with.

Alicia Markova

My most recent previous post from Denby’s book is here.




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