Esmeralda - Carla Fracci and Stephen Jeffries

I've just discovered that many of the little clips of Fracci in period pieces were part of a television mini-series regarding the history of 19th and early 20th century ballerinas.  At the time it was filmed, Fracci was 51 years old.

Also I have to repeat how wonderful it is to see two dancers just dancing and celebrating the choreography.  They aren't turning the performance into vanity showcases.  They aren't slowing down the tempo to give themselves some leeway to pose like Barbie dolls.

The Esmeralda solo in particular is quick, sexy and witty.  Traits that are sorely missing in the piece as it is danced today.  As usual the Russians have slowed it down to Frankenstein monster tempo and it looks something like the monster tap dancing to "Putting on the Ritz" in Mel Brook's Young Frankenstein.  They also changed the choreography to that vulgar, gymnastic move where the ballet dancer hits the tamborine with her foot in a huge grand battement.  Just so we can get a crotch flash along with the showcase of unwanted flexibility.  And of course, everyone follows the Russian lead and now anyone seeing the piece today, thinks it is a drecky, vulgar, overly cutsey mess.


At time mark 17:07, watch how Esmeralda should NOT be danced but how everyone does it anyway...because Russians.

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