i was never in raptures over “le spectre de la rose” until…….


Okay, i suppose i liked spectre well enough, and i appreciated the history and all that, but to be honest i never quite loved this ballet as much as i thought i was supposed to, given it’s legendary status. i must confess i have never seen it live, but have seen many videos and studied it in dance history class and as much as i tried to love it, i just didn’t.

In case you may be unfamiliar with le spectre de la rose, it is a short ballet created about 100 years ago  for vaslav nijinsky. choreographed by fokine, the ballet was inspired by a poem by theophile gautier and is  about a young girl who falls asleep and dreams of dancing with the essence of a rose she acquired at a ball. most of the dancing in this ballet is done by the male lead, who plays the spirit of the rose, and i have to give enormous credit to any guy who dances this role because it is nearly all jumping and he really doesn’t get to rest much. personally, i would die after the first minute.

of course i have never seen nijinsky dance the rose, and maybe he was insanely awesome and i would have loved it had i seen his interpretation, but i guess that’s something we’ll never know. as it stands, i think my problem with this ballet was that the choreography for the rose is just too damn……. flowery. and yes, i do realize that the  rose is indeed a flower, and that the role is supposed to be androgynous, but to me it tends to come off as too effeminate. i don’t care much for foufy, girly port de bras in general- i don’t like it on girls, and i appreciate it even less on men. if i was the debutante having this spirit of the rose dream, i’m afraid i would want my rose guy to man up a little and to stop being so self indulgent.

then one day i saw this video of herman cornejo (here with xiomara reyes) in spectre and OMG! it was possibly the most beautiful thing i’ve ever seen in my life. and i thought “oh, now i get it – this is how it should be danced”. i watched the video over and over, marveling at the beauty and masculinity of his port de bras and the generosity of his dancing – his artistry so prevalent that somehow even his astonishing, impeccable technique became secondary. i was completely floored and this performance certainly played a role in my falling madly in love with herman’s dancing : )   (okay, to be honest i was pretty much a goner for herman even before seeing this but still…)

~herman cornejo as the spirit of the rose ♥~

i particularly love when herman awakens his debutante (about 2:45) because you really get the sense he arouses her with the scent of the rose and then gives her such care and attention when she begins sleepwalking. (or sleep-bouree-ing, i should say). previously, this moment in spectre had always put me off because it’s so often the super-girly-fluffy-swan-arms moment that i can’t quite digest. not to say the more feminine interpretation is wrong or bad- many people adore the fluff- (and it’s probably closer to the original nijinsky version) but i think  it’s just a matter of personal taste.

so anyway, i have obviously not come close to seeing every interpretation of this ballet and i imagine there are other guys besides herman who give the rose a bit more masculinity, but this video gave me a different perception of “le spectre de la rose”, making me finally love this ballet, and for that i will always be grateful : )

and one last thing…… herman’s final jump out the window! glorious!!!

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3 Responses to i was never in raptures over “le spectre de la rose” until…….

  1. RO says:

    I must be honest, I’ve never heard about or seen this ballet before! So this variation is the first one I’ve ever seen. I must agree with you on the arms, they’re kind of all over the place and really feminine. But you are right in regards to the dancer, he somehow makes things more manly than maybe other dancers will.
    I’m not immediately a big fan of this ballet, but I wouldn’t oppose to seeing it live sometimes!
    Oh and yes, that last jump is indeed glorious!!!

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