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Sleeping Beauty (Bluebird pas de deux), The Nutcracker (Sugar Plum pas de deux)

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Film Identifier: F.2011-05-0105
Run Time
0h 15m 12s
This film appears to be (part of) a telecast from the late 1940s/early 1950s. It includes two pas de deux: "The Bluebird" from "The Sleeping Beauty" and "Sugarplum Fairy & Cavalier" from "The Nutcracker," both ballets composed by Tchaikovsky in the early 1890s. According to onscreen credits, the former is danced by Melissa Hayden and Michael Lland; the latter by Mary Ellen Moylan and Oleg Tupine. All were associated with either The Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo or Ballet Theatre (later renamed American Ballet Theatre) at the time. The credits list the choreography as being "after Petipas [sic]" but fail to list the modifying choreographer(s). Each pas de deux occurs in front of a different set decoration; Bluebird's backdrop has a garden aesthetic whereas the Nutcracker excerpt has a more modernist/abstract set design.
The film opens with a series of onscreen credits written in white text, overlaid on top of a couple turning round and round to the tune of "The Garden Waltz" from Tchaikovsky's "The Sleeping Beauty." It then cuts to Melissa Hayden and Michael Lland dancing "The Blue Bird" pas de deux. After they complete their performance, an additional credit appears: it introduces Mary Ellen Moylan and Oleg Tupine, who then perform the "Sugarplum Fairy & Cavalier" pas de deux from "The Nutcracker." Both pieces appear to use the typical three-camera television setup, as evidenced by occasional cuts to different perspectives, but the primary perspective in both is the straight-on "audience" perspective, though the view of the dancers is much closer than it would be in ordinary stage circumstances. Occasionally limbs get 'cut off' due to this proximity to the camera. The film ends without further commentary or credits.
Main Credit
Koreff, Gregory (is co-producer)
Pollock, Gordon W. (is director)
Additional Credit
Caparros, Ernest (is cinematographer)
Secon, Norman (music)
Tchaikovsky, Pyotr Ilyich (is composer)
Actors, Performers and Participants
Moylan, Mary Ellen (is performer)
Tupine, Oleg (is performer)
Hayden, Melissa (is performer)
Lland, Michael (is performer)