(33) Dance Historian Doug Fullington on ‘Le Baiser de la Fée’ or ‘The Fairy’s Kiss’

Posted by on 02.13.2017

This week happy to welcome back Doug Fullington, assistant to the artistic director at Pacific Northwest Ballet and the company’s education program’s manager. Mr. Fullington is a lauded dance historian, capable of reading Stepanov notation, a classical ballet notation system developed in Russia. He’s contributed to the reconstruction of many 19th century works, including ‘The Daughter of Pharaoh’, ‘Le Corsaire’, and recently, PNB’s ‘Giselle’. In 2000, he was named principal researcher for the George Balanchine Foundation’s  project entitled ’Popular Balanchine’.  A few weeks after the recording of this episode, Alexei Ratmansky, Lourdes Lopez, and a small group of Miami City Ballet Dancers joined Doug at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City for their Works and Process performing arts series.  Doug was the moderator for this event which delved deeper into Alexei Ratmansky’s World Premiere for Miami City Ballet, “The Fairy’s Kiss,”  set to the Stravinsky score, entitled “Le Baiser de la Fée.” Today we chat with Doug, who offers us a behind the scenes look into the Works and Process event and provides a fascinating examination of the history of this score that has challeneged choreographers since it’s inception.

For a link to the full video of the Works and Process event at the Guggenheim with Doug, Alexei, and Miami City Ballet, check out our Facebook page facebook.com/conversationsondance.


  1. F.Y.I. Nijinska’s staging of LE BAISER DE LA FEE, it was performed in So. American following the Rubinstien performances in Paris, toured there by Nijinska, where in 1934 the bride was danced by Nina Youshkevitch as reconstructed by here by her in 1990, a film of which is held in the Jerome Robbins Dance Division of the New York Public Library of the Performing arts, as given below:

    Le baiser de la fée: Bride’s solo [videorecording] 1990.
    39 min. : sd. color
    Notes: Videotaped for the Jerome Robbins Archive at the Bruno Walter Auditorium of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, New York, on November 10, 1990, by Penny Ward/Video, with the assistance of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and New York State Council on the Arts, during the seminar Bronislava Nijinska: Choreographer, dancer, teacher, presented by the Dance Critics Association and the Dance Collection of the New York Public Library.
    Choreography: Bronislava Nijinska, reconstructed by Irina Nijinska with Nina Youshkevitch. Music: Igor Stravinski.
    Performed by Jennie Somogyi, accompanied by pianist Michael McFrederick.
    SUMMARY: Lecture-demonstration about the bride’s solo from Bronislava Nijinska’s ballet Le baiser de la fée, first performed in 1928. Dance critic Jack Anderson opens the session with a historical overview of the ballet, then moderates a panel discussion with Nijinska’s daughter Irina Nijinska and Nina Youshkevitch, who danced the role of the bride in 1934. The solo is performed twice in the course of the lecture-demonstration.

    re: the mention of the segment of Stravinsky’s BAISER identified in the interview as from the score of Cranko’s ballet, ONEGIN, that ballet uses no music from Tchaikovsky’s opera EVGENY ONEGIN but has a score made up from other Tchaikovsky works, many of them piano pieces, which is what Stravinsky used in part to fashion his BAISER score and which struck one of your dancers as familiar from ONEGIN.

    • RG,
      Thanks for listening and for this wonderfully helpful comment! Glad you enjoyed the episode!


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