My little brave Petrushka…

By In Ballet, Dance 43 min

Scene One: Butter Week (Shrovetide) Carnival
Scene Two: Petrouchka's Cell
Scene Three: The Moor's Room
Scene Four: Butter Week Carnival (towards evening)

Original authorial version

During the Butter Week (Shrovetide) revelry an old Charlatan, of Eastern mien, displays his puppets who have come to life: Petrushka, the Ballerina and the Moor, who are performing a furious dance amidst an astonished crowd. Via his magic gift, the Charlatan has invested his puppets with the feelings and passions of real people. Petrushka has been given more feelings than the others, and he suffers more than the Ballerina and the Moor.

He is bitterly aware of the Charlatan's cruelty, his own lack of freedom, his isolation from the rest of the world, his ugly, comical appearance. He seeks consolation in the love of the Ballerina and it seems to him that she reciprocates his feelings when, in fact, she is only frightened of his eccentricities and she tries to avoid him.

The life of the stupid, bad-tempered, but well-turned out Moor is the total opposite of that of Petrushka. The Ballerina finds him attractive and goes out of her way to charm him. Eventually, of course, she succeeds but Petrushka, mad with jealousy, bursts into the room and puts an end to the love-making. The Moor loses his temper and turnsPetrushka out.

The Butter Week revelry reaches an all-time high. A merchant's son, making merry with some gypsy girls, throws stacks of notes to the crowd, courtcoachmen dance with nurses in holiday attire; a group of mummers involves everyone in a wild knees-up. When the carousing is at its height, sobs from the Charlatan's theatre are heard. Them is understanding between the Moor and Petrushka has taken a turn for the worse. The live dolls run out into the street. With a blow of his sabre, the Moor fells Petrushka to the ground, and poor Petrushka lies dying in the snow, surrounded by a crowd of drunken idlers. The Charlatan, escorted to the scene by the Policeman on duty, hastens to calm everyone down. In his hands, Petrushka regains his original doll-like appearance and the crowd, having seen that his shattered head is made of wood, and his body filled with sawdust, disperse. But there is a nasty surprise in store for the cunning Charlatan, who remains alone, with his puppet; to his horror Petrushka's ghost appears above the theatre: he threatens his tormentor and mocks all those who had believed in his death.

It is always an amazing experience to work on Stravinsky's score. Music of this composer requires a special approach. You know, it's one thing just to listen to Stravinsky, I don't need to explain what a great pleasure it is for a music lover. But the situation changes dramatically as you start creating a dance. To enjoy the pleasure of these dances and achieve the necessary freedom, you need a deep understanding of what you want to do, a cold math (and the score!) and rehearsals-rehearsals-rehearsals. I don't mean to literally embody the music in dance. It's about reaching the level at which you enter into a dialogue with both components of the ballet – the music itself and the story that it tells.