Date Of Production
"La forza del destino" is a ballet choreographed by Ruth Page to the 1862 Giuseppe Verdi opera of the same name. It was premiered on November 8, 1956 by Ruth Page's Chicago Opera Ballet alongside the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
This film appears to represent an excerpt of a rehearsal of the ballet before its premiere.
The film opens with a shot of six female dancers in practice clothes standing in a row at a dance studio, where the mirrors behind them have been covered with sheets. All hold tambourines and incorporate them into their ensemble dance, which moves through various formations. The camera cuts to a closer shot the dancers; once they strike a final pose, it cuts again to a more pulled back view of their dance. It zooms in again while some of the dancers perform a long set of fouettés; when they strike another final poze the film cuts to a group of men entering stage.
The group of eight men dances a brief ensemble dance, after which they line the "stage" area and are joined by a group of different young women; all assemble into couples and pose. Then a central couple in (partial) costume enters and dances a pas de deux in front of the others. Those looking on move slightly while the two dance, and then break into full couples' dances of their own when the central couple reaches its coda; this seems to be the finale, as all then strike a dramatic final pose.
Next, the film cuts to what appears to be an earlier point in the ballet: the female dancers with tambourines are joined by male partners. All once again make way for the central couple (also armed with a tambourine), which becomes a central trio--another female dancer joins them. All energetically perform a rhythmic folk-like dance and then watch, shaking their tambourines, as a female soloist performs a very fast series of pirouettes. The film then cuts again to a segment in which the group of men dances as an ensemble in front of the women; afterward, the central male dancer from the couple and trio performs an impressive solo of his own (turns à la seconde and pirouettes) before the group. He then lifts both of his female companions at once and spins while the rest join hands and snake around behind them. All once again strike a final pose.
The camera then cuts to a portion of the ballet sans tambourines; the whole group performs an unusual marching dance, during which the women exit and leave the men to dance alone. The women return, and the men lift the two central female dancers while the rest of the women circle them, as if drumming. After the two central women are paraded around the stage and lowered back to the ground, all engage in a soldier-like dance with drumming and saluting. They then split into groups and engage in mock battle, some shooting while others fall to the ground. This once again morphs into couple dances and lifts while the rest circle around, followed by more soldier-like ensemble dancing.
Next, the film cuts to a quick pas de deux by a couple alone on "stage;" when they reach their final pose, it cuts again to a slower pas de deux by the same couple. The film cuts several times during this slower portion, and one pas de bourrée sequence is repeated several times. Once this rehearsal is complete, the film cuts once again.
The following segment of the film appears to be a dress rehearsal or performance in a theater; all dancers are in full costume and the camera is positioned in the audience. The ensemble dances with tambourines are being performed and the female soloists are being lifted while the rest look on and dance in the background. Also included is the female pirouette sequence, the male ensemble dance, and the male turns à la seconde. He then lifts his two female soloists again while turning; the soldier-like dance begins to follow it, but the film cuts again.
The final segment of the film appears to be recorded from an onstage vantage point, perhaps a downstage wing. A group of six women in tutus and hats (but sans tambourines) is performing an ensemble dance. The film cuts several times during their dance, once including brief footage of a solo but returning to the ensemble. The film ends while they are still dancing.
12 min 38 sec
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