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Yvonne

"The Great American Ballerina" (or.... what's in a name, anyway?)

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I have always felt that Alonso was the "Great American Ballerina"-- probably because her early career was in the US--she performed in musicals, and eventually joined the newly formed Ballet Theatre as a soloist and received her greatest acclaim here in the States.

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Probably going out on a limb here.. In my opinion, Maria Talchief probably inspired the largest portion of Balanchine's finest and most enduring work.

Rick

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That's really an interesting statement. To me, I always thought it was fascinating that much as Farrell was Balanchine's muse, I don't think she caused him to produce his best work. Even when he made a great role for her (Diamonds, and I would conjecture Dulcinea) it wasn't in a great ballet.

It isn't hard to check who originated what;

Tallchief's big created roles were the Firebird, Eurydice, Scotch Symphony, the Sugar Plum Fairy, Pas de Dix, Allegro Brillante and Gounod Symphony. Definitely not a bad lot, but I might cast a vote for Tanaquil LeClerq (Choleric, 2nd mvt Symphony in C - Tallchief did the first, La Valse, Dewdrop, the Rondo in Western Symphony) except for the fact her career was cut short, or Diana Adams for Agon alone, but there's lot more. Her career is most fascinating because even if she never got the BIG STAR roles, she was in everything, and for a long time.

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Wasn't 2nd Mvt. Symphony in C made for Toumonova?

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My error! Yes, Le Palais de Cristal was originally done in Paris and then Le Clercq acquired the role when it became Symphony in C. One defining moment in it, the penchee where the ballerina touches her head to her knee was added by Farrell, I believe.

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I saw Gregory dance 'Swan Lake' with Godunov at ABT shortly after he defected. I think in him she finally found the perfect partner both artistically and height-wise. He was about 6'2" and was proportionally just right for her. I remember it being a great performance; they were technically remarkable and Gregory clearly relished the part of Odile.

In my opinion, Merrill Ashley was one of the greatest American ballerinas. She was so thrilling to watch with her lightning speed and flawless technique. Farrell, Hayden and McBride were great too. It's really impossible to pick just one.

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