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Composers and Choreographers
STANLEY ROSEMAN
Drawings
© Stanley Roseman and Ronald Davis - All Rights Reserved
Visual imagery and website content may not be reproduced in any form whatsoever.
     "The rehearsal halls and the wings of the stage of the Paris Opéra were my studio, and many of the greatest dancers today were the subjects of my drawings.
Even with the familiarity of repeated performances,
I could not contain the excitement I felt each time I resumed my work.
I was inspired by the music and the dance to draw.''

- Stanley Roseman
 
Stanley Roseman drawing the dance from the wings of the stage of the Paris Opéra
Music is a stimulating force for the choreographer and the dancer and was also for Roseman drawing dancers in Romantic and classical ballets and in works of modern dance.
Page 6 - Composers and Choreographers
Drawing by Stanley Roseman of Paris Opera star dancer Elisabeth Maurin, "The Nutcracker," 1996, Uffizi Gallery, Florence. © Stanley Roseman
     The music to which Roseman drew the Dance spans the centuries. Henry Purcell's suite Abdelazer, dating from 1695, was utilized by José Limon in 1949 for his ballet The Moor's Pavanne, based on Shakespeare's Othello (see "Biography,'' Page 2 - "World of Shakespeare''). Throughout the website are Roseman's drawings exemplifying a variety of styles of dance choreographed to an extensive range of music by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Adam, Wagner, Verdi, Delibes, Tchaikovsky, Massenet, Mahler, Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Hindemith, Thomson, and Copland (to mention a representative selection), as well as the ragtime rhythms of Joseph Lamb, the pulsating beat of synthesizer and percussion in a score by Thom Willems, and traditional spiritual and gospel music of Afro-American culture.
Composing Music for the Dance
Drawing by Stanley Roseman of Paris Opera star dancer Carole Arbo, "Giselle," 1995, Pencil on paper, Bibliothèque Nationale de France. © Stanley Roseman
2. Carole Arbo, 1995
Paris Opéra Ballet
Giselle
Pencil on paper,  38 x 28 cm
Bibliothèque Nationale de France,
Paris
3. Elisabeth Maurin, 1996
Paris Opéra Ballet
The Nutcracker
Pencil on paper, 38 x 28 cm
Uffizi, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe,
Florence
Drawing by Stanley Roseman of Paris Opéra star dancer Marie-Claude Pietragalla, "The Rite of Spring," 1994, Bibliothèque Nationale de France. © Stanley Roseman
4. Marie-Claude Pietragalla, 1994
Paris Opéra Ballet
The Rite of Spring
Pencil on paper, 37.5 x 27.5 cm
Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris
Music and Dance
6. Laurent Hilaire, 1996
Paris Opéra Ballet
Ninth Symphony of Beethoven
Pencil on paper, 38 x 28 cm
Private collection, Maine
5. Nicolas Le Riche, 1996
Paris Opéra Ballet
Ninth Symphony of Beethoven
Pencil on paper, 38 x 28 cm
Private collection, Michigan
     Romantic ballet in the nineteenth century produced such acclaimed ballet scores as Adolphe Adam's Giselle, choreographed by Jean Corelli and Jules Perrot; and Léo Delibes' Coppélia, choreographed by Arthur Saint-Léon. Both ballets had their world premieres at the Paris Opéra, in 1841 and 1870, respectively. In a text to accompany his drawings, Roseman writes: "The marvelous score for Giselle by Adolphe Adam employs an early use of leitmotifs in music to establish character and further the story.'' Bringing to a close the era of Romantic ballet was Coppélia by Léo Delibes. "His symphonic ballet score influenced a following generation of composers, including Tchaikovsky, who acknowledged his debt to the French composer.''[1]
     In the last decade of the twentieth century, Paris Opéra Ballet Masters Eugene Polyakov and Patrice Bart remounted Giselle after the original choreography. At a performance in 1995, Roseman drew from the wings of the stage Carole Arbo as the tragic heroine who is summoned from the grave to dance in a moonlit forest with the nocturnal spirits of other young maidens. The artist has depicted with a fluency of pencil lines the ethereal femininity of the star dancer as Giselle, who seemingly glides across the special dimension of the paper in the beautiful drawing Carole Arbo, (fig. 2, below), conserved in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.
     The great tradition of classical ballet developed in the second half of the nineteenth century and generated celebrated works that include Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, and The Nutcracker; Minkus' Don Quixote and La Bayadère; and Glazunov's Raymonda, all of which are represented in Roseman's drawings on the dance at the Paris Opéra.
     At the Christmas Eve 1996 performance of The Nutcracker, choreographed by Rudolf Nureyev, Roseman drew Elizabeth Maurin in her acclaimed role as young Clara who dreams that her gift of a nutcracker in the form of a toy soldier transports her to a fantastic world where even snowflakes waltz to Tchaikovsky's enchanting music. The Uffizi, Florence, conserves the superb drawing Elisabeth Maurin, (fig. 3, above), rendered with a purity of pencil lines in depicting the star dancer gracefully dancing to the silvery tones of a celesta, the musical instrument that Tchaikovsky introduced in this famous score.
"Stanley Roseman's drawings show the many facets of his great talents as a draughtsman."[4]
Ballets Russes
     The music of Tchaikovsky's younger compatriot Igor Stravinsky contributed to the early success of the Ballets Russes. In his Autobiography, Stravinsky acknowledges Tchaikovsky and expresses, "my great admiration for the composer'' as well as "my profound admiration for classical ballet.''[2]
     The impresario Serge Diaghilev commissioned ballet scores for the Ballets Russes, which flourished between 1910 and 1929, when The Prodigal Son, with a score by Prokofiev, was given its world premiere in Paris some three months before Diaghilev passed away. Productions in the early years of the Ballets Russes included the music of Debussy, Ravel, and Stravinsky, who composed two of his most celebrated works: Petrouchka, the saga of a clown puppet with a soul, and The Rite of Spring, which evokes primitive Russia and its tribal rituals.
   The Paris Opéra Ballet has remounted and maintained in its repertory productions of the Ballets Russes. Roseman drew at a number of those productions, including The Prodigal Son, Petrouchka, and The Rite of Spring.  The present work (fig. 4),  from The Rite of Spring, choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky, depicts Paris Opéra star dancer Marie-Claude Pietragalla as "the Chosen One,'' the tribe's sacrificial maiden.
     Energetic pencil strokes evoke a visual sensation of Stravinsky's pounding rhythms and capture the kinetic energy and emotion of the dancer in the terrifying climax of the ballet. The maiden leaps in a frenzy, legs bent under her tunic, arms flung forward, until exhausted, she collapse and dies.
     Roseman drew dancers in ballets and works of modern dance choreographed to symphonies; concertos; music from operas, notably those by Gluck, Rossini, Wagner, Verdi, Bizet, and Massenet; and orchestral works, such as Debussy's Prélude à l'Après-midi d'un Faune and Ravel's Rhapsody for Violin and Orchestra. Musical compositions for solo instrument include piano pieces by Mozart, Chopin, Schönberg, and Virgil Thomson, with his Etudes. Paris Opéra Ballet Master Eugene Polyakov choreographed the pas de deux Comme on respire to John Field's Nocturne no.4 in A Major for piano; Jacques Garnier choreographed Aunis for three male dancers to the contemporary accordion music of Maurice Pacher; and Jerome Robbins set A Suite of Dances to Bach's Suites for Solo Cello.
     In the present work, Nicolas Le Riche is depicted advancing quickly forward, his right shoulder flexed as he stretches his arm out in front of him. The dancer's head is lowered; his left leg bent at the knee, with a curvilinear pencil stroke defining the taut, calf muscle. The thrust of the dancer's right leg propels him in pictorial space.
     From Roseman's series of excellent drawings created at performances of the Ninth Symphony of Beethoven are two exemplary works: Nicolas Le Riche and Laurent Hilaire, (figs. 5 and 6, below). With swift, vigorous strokes of the graphite pencil on paper, Roseman captures the dynamic dance movements of both star dancers.
Stanley Roseman drawing in the wings of the stage of the Paris Opera. Photo © Ronald Davis
     The strong, diagonal composition emphasizes the expression of force and forward movement in this superb drawing of the male dancer.
Drawing by Stanley Roseman of Paris Opéra star dancer Laurent Hilaire, "Ninth Symphony of Beethoven," 1996, Private collection, Maine. © Stanley Roseman
     Dancing to Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, Laurent Hilaire takes a joyful leap in Roseman's drawing. The artist describes the dancer's high kick, raised arms, and inclined head and torso with calligraphic pencil lines charged with energy. The dancer's left leg, in the center of the composition, supports the leaping figure and divides equally the picture plane.
     Roseman combines description and abstraction in this equally superb and spirited image of the male dancer in performance at the Paris Opéra.
     The Bibliothèque Nationale de France in a biographical essay on Roseman and his work commends the artist for his "innate artistic talent" and states:
- Bibliothèque Nationale de France
1. John Warrack, Tchaikovsky, (London: Hamish Hamilton Ltd, 1989). p. 92, 93.
2. Igor Stravinsky, An Autobiography, (London: Calder & Boyers Ldt, 1975), pp. 26, 96, 98.
3. IXe Symphonie de Beethoven, Choreography by Maurice Béjart, (Paris: L'Opéra de Paris, 1996), p. 11.
4. Stanley Roseman - Dessins sur la Danse à l'Opéra de Paris - Drawings on the Dance at the Paris Opéra
    (text in French and English), (Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale de France, 1996), p. 12.
Drawing by Stanley Roseman of Paris Opéra star dancer Nicolas Le Riche, "Ninth Symphony of Beethoven," 1996, Private collection, Michigan. © Stanley Roseman
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     Beethoven's Ninth Symphony is a work of great power and emotion. "At the Paris Opéra in the spring of 1996,'' recounts Roseman in his journal, "I had the wonderful opportunity to draw the Company in Maurice Béjart's ballet Ninth Symphony of Beethoven, choreographed to the composer's celebrated composition for orchestra and chorus. The Paris Opéra program states: 'Several of Ludwig van Beethoven's writings attest to the fact that he had thought of dance while composing his last symphony (finished in 1824). Preliminary outlines for the Finale prescribe voices to sing Schiller's poem Ode to Joy and bear the mention 'mit Chor und Tanz' ('with Chorus and Dance').' ''[3]
Collaboration between Composers and Choreographers
     Throughout the website are presented Roseman's drawings created at performances of modern dance pieces that resulted from collaborations between composers and choreographers. Seen above, (fig. 4), is a drawing of Marie-Claude Pietragalla in Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky.
     From the Martha Graham Dance Company's guest appearance at the Paris Opéra in 1991 is the beautiful drawing, (fig. 7, below), of Joyce Herring in El Penitente.
     El Penitente is set in the American southwest where a troupe of traveling players of a religious sect enact rituals of penitence and purification. Joyce Herring, principle dancer of the Graham Company, admirably portrayed the three-fold personage of the Virgin, Mary Magdalene, and the Mother.
     In the present work, rendered with a continuous flow of line and a compelling mise en page, Roseman expresses the contained movement and intensity of the dancer, wrapped in a long cape, her face in profile, her body bent forward as she is seen advancing across the picture plane. The artist writes of his drawings on the dance, ''I sought to express not only a dancer's movements that led up to and completed the grand steps and gestures but also intermediate and complementary dance movements that for me spoke personally of the individual dancer.''
7. Joyce Herring, 1991
Martha Graham Dance Company
El Penitente
Pencil on paper, 37.5 x 27.5 cm
Private collection, France
     Graham choreographed the work to an evocative score composed by Louis Horst, who was the Musical Director for the Company and a leading musical figure in modern dance. The American composer and choreographer began their close association when Horst accompanied Graham in her solo debut in New York City in 1926. El Penitente premiered in 1940 and remains a standard work in the Graham repertory.
This page will present a further selection of drawings: Hervé Dirmann as the Merchant in Les Mirages, music by Henri Sauguet and choreography by Serge Lifar; Lionel Delanoë as the Wolf in Le Loup, music by Henri Dutilleux and choreography by Roland Petit; and Kader Belarbi as Petrouchka and Laure Muret as Columbine in Petrouchka, music by Igor Stravinsky and choreography by Michel Fokine.
From the invited companies making guest appearances at the Paris Opéra are drawings of Danilo Radojevic in American Ballet Theatre's production of Drink to me only with Thine Eyes, music by Virgil Thomson and choreography by Mark Morris; and the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater's Revelations, choreographed by Alvin Ailey to traditional spiritual and gospel music.
Please return again.