Whether you are twelve or twenty, this variation is one of the most recognizable variations for those who have danced. For a lot, this variation was the first variation they learned in variations class (that or Florine from Sleeping Beauty). This is the variation known as Cupid from Don Quixote. This extremely fast petit allegro variation actually doesn’t have that many petit allegro steps, but the music is extremely fast. From this God awful blonde wig, to the flowy tunic, everything about this variation says, “Hello, I’m Cute.”
Usually reserved for a short girl, this variation opens up with the a series of tombé relevés into attitude plié relevé effacé positions. You need to remember a couple things in this opening sequence:
- Turn out the supporting leg in the tombé.
- Don’t overshoot the corner, and stay square.
- Never whack your leg into the positions, place them nicely. If you are going to do a low effacé leg, lean over the leg to help the line. If you are going to do a high attitude back, don’t pinch your neck back to help make the line.
- Keep the arms exstremely soft, and keep the eyeline in all the positions.
Hold the attititude to be with the music, and change the head.
The next sequence of the variations requires a back diagonal of plié relevé pirouettes to the inside. When you are doing the chassé/tombé, TURNOUT… Hold the working knee back to give you the most turn out and longest line. Make sure you get that knee all the way straight.
The next sequence requires fast foot work, and involves you to be extremely turned out. Focus on hitting all of the positions before the music so you can hold the positions. This is important because you have to be MUSICAL.
Below is Evgenia Obraztsova doing cupid. Personally it is too slow for my taste… but the technique is spot on, and the performance is ideal. It is about being cheerful and constantly changing your facial expressions of happiness and excited. Her eyes play to the audience very well.
Mélanie Hurel of Paris Opera does another stunning version. The Nureyev version. It is more dainty, more french, faster, and done in a full tutu.
Below is Riverbank Dance Company’s young girl (2017) doing the variation on flat. While there are turn out issues, the technique is clean, and the young dancer is polished. She is probably 10? Notice in the upstage diagonal that she hits coup de pied, fifth and fourth.