Karin von Aroldingen
Posted 01 September 2003 - 02:17 PM
What was it about her that people did'nt like? She seems to have had a different body type than what was popular at City Ballet at that time, but it had to have been more than that.
I've only ever seen her dance on video. She seemed to have a sort of glamorous oddball presense to her. I love her in the Davidsbundlertanze. Such a moving and bittersweet performance. She must have meant a great deal to Balanchine to have inspired such a heartbreakingly beautiful role.
Posted 01 September 2003 - 03:32 PM
Like you, I've only seen her on video, and in the little I've seen of her I really enjoyed. She didn't seem to fit the role in Emeralds, but she was spectacular in Stravinsky Violin Concerto, especially the first pas de deux, and was lovely in Elégie. She also makes a fiery Siren.
Posted 01 September 2003 - 03:40 PM
Von Aroldingen did not have the typical Balanchine body and mind you there were some great beauties in the company in those years. One could easily mistake the souvenir program for a book of models.
Karin had great musicality, sophistication and could also jazz it up. She didn't seem afraid of not dancing pretty.
Posted 01 September 2003 - 04:01 PM
Posted 01 September 2003 - 04:09 PM
Posted 01 September 2003 - 04:47 PM
She and Balanchine were close personal friends, and he appeared to use her to express a vision of mature womanliness that he couldn't with other ballerinas. But it was hard for me to watch her onstage.
Posted 02 September 2003 - 05:09 AM
Posted 02 September 2003 - 07:44 AM
Posted 02 September 2003 - 08:29 AM
I gained the most respect for her about a decade ago when I read her account in I Remember Balanchine.
I wish that, as the young dancer I was, I could have gotten past her physical image. It wasn't only the shape of her body that wasn't pleasing for me to watch in action, it was the way she held and moved her head and how she didn't smile, ever, giving her countenance a chiseled hardness.
As her warm personality radiated from her story in the book, I felt terrible for having disliked watching her onstage. I saw her so often and really tried to like her, but just couldn't, and that made me cross with myself. When I see dance photos of her now, I find her striking to look at!
In her section of I Remember Balanchine she recalls:
"Balanchine was so at ease with me. I never threatened him.....As a child, he had a German nursemaid named Barbara....When Balanchine left Russia, the first country he and his dancers stayed in was Germany. He said that going down the Rhine was the greatest thing because they had been starving in Russia....I think he admired the civilized disciplines of the German people......I'm a "mother" to everyone, even my husband. I have that in me, Mother Nature. Balanchine had that quality, too, always trying to help."
I like that image -- von Aroldingen as Mother Nature. It seems perfect. I wish I had known to think of her that way in the 60s when I watched her dance so often.
She has nothing but warm words for Balanchine and she and her husband were two of his closest friends at the end of his life. It is refreshing to know that she is yet another Balanchine dancer who had no "issues" with him and has only fond memories of their relationship.
Posted 02 September 2003 - 09:14 AM
I've only seen her on the Dance in America tapes, and she does seem to look best in the roles that were custom-built for her. I was disappointed with the "Emeralds" pas de deux with Sean Lavery (and Mimi Paul looks so beautiful in the photographs). I also remember wondering, when I first saw the "Prodigal Son," why Balanchine had cast Giselle's mom as the Siren. She was certainly chilling, but again, she just doesn't look right; the choreography and the costume need a lady with very long stems. I did like her in Davidsbundlertanze very much; there are other important roles in that one, but Balanchine gave her a little extra to carry, and she does it beautifully.
Posted 02 September 2003 - 10:10 AM
I think another reason for Balanchine's attraction for her was his attraction to German expressionism -- there's a strain of that in his work. Perhaps that's why he wanted her in Prodigal Son. (The "goons" in that ballet are very similar to a group of men from a Mary Wigman piece of that period, judged by a few photos I've seen of it; and the "bridge" the Siren has to make needs someone with short legs so that the body looks like a flat table, not a slanted one.)
But I think there were many ballet fans who would agree with what Ari and Marga have written.
Posted 02 September 2003 - 10:12 AM
Posted 02 September 2003 - 04:56 PM
Posted 28 September 2011 - 10:51 AM
Posted 28 September 2011 - 07:07 PM
I saw Karin von Aroldingen on a panel about 12 (?) years ago (I have a very bad sense of time for almost everything that happened after I left high school ) She said she and Balanchine became friends after she invited him for dinner shortly after she joined NYCB. He liked her cooking, and as an accomplished cook himself, the two bonded over their kitchen skills.
You never knew which dancers would show up in the Empire Coffee Shop, just around the corner from New York State Theater. I never had the pleasure of running into Balanchine there, but I saw many lesser lights. It was quite an institution, as was Charlie, the waiter. Sadly, nothing has replaced it. Those were different times.
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