Talisman Pas De Deux…

Talisman? It seems that this is the year that everyone and their mom is competing and or working on the variation from The Talisman. But, the reality is, and I hate to be the one to pop the bubble, no one is doing the variation the variation from the Talisman. Originally the Talisman 1889, and was presented as a 4 act ballet. Thank goodness that it didn’t survive. In 1895 Petipa revived the the Talisman as a 3 act ballet and had two male principal roles, one of which was created by Enrico Cecchetti. Then in 1909 it was revived by Legat, who asked Drigo to add new orchestrations to the original score, and the role that was once Cecchetti’s was danced by Nijinsky.

Anyways, this goes back to what I was saying in the beginning, Talisman Pas De Deux has nothing to do with the Talisman. in 1955, Pyotr Gusev constructed together a  pas de deux. The musical score to the pas de deux is broken up into the following:

  • Entrée- the Valse des spirits from the Prologue of The Talisman
  • Adage- an adagio from the final act of the Talisman
  • Male Variation – Variation of Ta-Hor from Act 2 of the Pas d’action from the Pharaoh’s Daughter (And if you ask me… the Pharaoh’s daughter’s variation is much harder than the jazzerina tricks used today… but that’s neither here nor there)
  • Female Variation – the Pizzicato of the Black Pearls from the Pearl
  • Coda – a waltz coda from the first act of The Talisman

Then more recently, Kremlin Ballet condensed the The Talisman with Talisman Pas De Deux to create Vasily Madvedev’s The Talisman Grand Pas D’ensemble.



Okay, so what is this post really about? Okay, truthfully it is about the costuming and the choreography.

Cropped photographic postcard of the danseur Vaslav Nijinsky (1889-1950) costumed as the God Vayou in the dancer/choreographer/teacher Nikolai Legat’s (1869-1937) revival of the choreographer Marius Petipa (1818-1910) and the composer Riccardo Drigo’s (1846-1930) ballet Le Talisman.

But wait… The male variation’s costume actually comes from the Legat staging from the Principal’s Character is titled Hurricane… And then some how we have taken Indian Maharajah and turned it into some sexy little greek number… And then instead of doing his actualy variation, we are going to borrow the Pharoah’s daughter (another “ethnic” ballet) and still white wash it?

Originally the costuming for the female in The Talisman was harem pants and then for the pas de fleurs: a tutu; which transferred from shorter romantic to platter. Some still use this idea for the costuming.


So somehow, we decided to strip the Talisman of all it’s Indian culture and just turn it into a “less ethnic” ballet and make it Greek or Roman?

Buuuuuut…. So, the choreography/music we see today is actually from Petipa/Drigo’s the Pearl and because that’s the case, the variation should be performed in an oyster shell? White Perle is done in a white tutu, black pearls are not done in black tutus…



Just some food for thought…


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