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Robert Abrams

Choreograph Pushkin's Eugene Onegin, Chapter One, Stanza XX

by Robert Abrams
May 5, 2000

Choreograph Pushkin's Eugene Onegin, Chapter One, Stanza XX

Robert Abrams

There are many great Russian dancers. Russian literature is often quite powerful too. An acquaintance of mine asserted that Tchaikovsky's 'Eugene Onegin' is a perfect opera. This opera is based upon Aleksandr Pushkin's lyric poem 'Eugene Onegin'. As I was reading the poem, I came across a passage in Chapter One, Stanza XX which describes a section of a ballet.

The passage, in Vladimir Nabokov's translation, reads as follows:

    Resplendent, half ethereal,

    obedient to the magic bow,

    surrounded by a throng of nymphs,

    Ist¤mina stands: she,

    while touching with one foot the floor,

    gyrates the other slowly,

    and suddenly a leap, and suddenly she flies,

    she flies like fluff from Eol's lips

    now twines and now untwines her waist

    and beats one swift small foot against the other.

Here is the challenge. Choreograph the passage above.

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