Music for the Dance: Reflections on a Collaborative Art

By Katherine Teck | Go to book overview
Save to active project

La Bayadère: From Rehearsals to Curtain Calls


As one waits at the security desk of the Metropolitan Opera House, a hall door opens to reveal several people intently studying posted rehearsal schedules. Martha Johnson, ABT's pianist of long standing, finds out what she is supposed to play in a few minutes--having had no advance warning--and leads the way to a large subterranean studio.

The pianist is greeted in a friendly manner on all sides. Natalia Makarova walks in wearing one of her legendary bandanas, and the rehearsal for the "Shades" section of La Bayadère begins. 1

This is the prima ballerina assoluta's own staging, and so she seems to care deeply that the corps do everything right. Her comments to the pianist mostly have to do with tempo and where to begin. "Not so slow," she requests. The musician must have a fine sensitivity to tempo: exactly what is a little faster than "so" slow?

The music is by Ludwig Minkus, a French composer who worked with the choreographer Petipa in the Czar's court. Martha Johnson mentions that she tried to do research on Minkus and could find out relatively little. Unfortunately for the ballet world in the West, most of the more than twenty full-length works he composed are apparently lost.

Conductor Alan Barker offered this view of the composer: "It's popular in musicological circles to denigrate Minkus as being a bit circusy or rumty-tum and so on. I suppose that is understandable when one considers that he was just about contemporaneous with Tchaikovsky, who was working in such a different extreme, writing such wonderful big symphonic scores (which incidentally were often criticized by the choreographers of the day as being 'un


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Music for the Dance: Reflections on a Collaborative Art


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 234

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?