"The Great American Ballerina" (or.... what's in a name, anyway?)
Posted 08 March 2001 - 01:20 PM
About Denard: haven't you seen the tape of "La Sylphide" filmed with Thesmar and Denard around 1971? (Paradoxially, it's unavailable in France, but I managed to get it thanks to a Japanese friend of mine). As far as I know, this is the only long video of him.
Why was it so difficult for Cynthia Gregory to find a suitable partner in her company? Was it just a question of height? (Denard was tall, but not exceptionally tall, I think).
Posted 08 March 2001 - 01:26 PM
Posted 08 March 2001 - 01:32 PM
Posted 08 March 2001 - 01:39 PM
I think Gregory really did need a tall partner. I saw her a few times offstage and she was model thin (rather looked like a fashion model, I thought) but on stage she was big, and she danced on a very grand scale. I don't mean that she was at all heavy, but she wasn't delicate, and if she was really six foot one on pointe (and I have no reason to doubt that) then she needed a man who was either six foot three (good luck) or at least had a very commanding presence.
I have never understood why some dancers look bigger or smaller on stage than they do off; I suppose it's partly body proportions and partly personal magetism or projection.
One of the magazine's fantasy pairings at that time was Gregory with Martins. In a way, it would have been wonderful -- all that power -- and in another, they were perhaps a bit too similar. I think they did dance together at galas or special occasions (perhaps only once; I don't recall the number).
Posted 08 March 2001 - 06:54 PM
I don't know how well they danced together, or how long they were a "partnership", but he left ABT, didn't he? Or did Baryshnikov or the other "powers that be" give him his walking papers?
Did Gregory ever dance with Patrick Bissell (quite tall), or was that a little before his time??
Posted 08 March 2001 - 07:28 PM
It was interesting to get so many takes on Gregory. I think she certainly did get lost in the shuffle of the Seventies and Eighties, as did Marianna Tcherkassky, another beautiful and gifted ABT ballerina.
I don't recall Gregory and Godunov together, but I did think he looked smashing with Martine van Hamel. While tidying up a closet, I found a program from an old gala at the Met which lists Gregory as dancing the Corsaire pas with Peter Martins. I must've been there, yet I remember nothing of it. Oh well.
Grizzled veterans of BA and aab will forgive me for bringing this up again, but since we're on the subject, I have to say I've never seen any other woman dance the killer solo from Grand Pas Classique while smoking a cigarette with quite the panache of Gregory.
Posted 08 March 2001 - 07:45 PM
Godunov was the right "height" for Gregory, and when he first appeared with ABT she gave interviews full of optimism about dancing with him. One rather gathered she was also looking forward to the attention dancing with one of the "defectors" would get as well. (N.B. I do NOT blame her for this.) However, they never became a special "partnership" though they did dance together. I saw them at one of the first performances (if not the very first) of Makarova's full length Bayadere. Gregory was dancing Gamzatti and in the sequences in which she and Godunov had to dance together they were entirely out of sync. At one point in the choreography Gamzatti and Solor are side by side facing the audience and then leap forward jointly towards the audience -- they did not once jump on the same beat. I'm pretty sure I saw them after that...I remember Gregory in Giselle and I remember Godunov in Giselle, so I'm guessing that I saw them dance it together. Certainly I never saw them dance together as awkwardly as that Bayadere which, to be fair, was their first pairing together.
Height was, of course, the main problem for Gregory in finding a partner -- but Gregory also didn't have what I would call a porous temperament onstage. That's what made me wonder occasionally (as mentioned above) if she was really open to the sheer "chemical" or "elective" affinity that seems part of what makes a great partnership.
[This message has been edited by Drew (edited March 08, 2001).]
Posted 15 March 2001 - 11:46 AM
Gregory's complaint about being overlooked because of Makarova is nonsense. As young ballerinas Alicia Alonso and Nora Kaye managed to have a devoted audience (and Press!) despite the guest appearances of Toumanova and Alicia Markova.
Posted 15 March 2001 - 05:19 PM
Posted 13 May 2001 - 11:04 PM
Posted 15 May 2001 - 08:00 PM
Posted 20 May 2001 - 12:08 PM
Posted 20 May 2001 - 03:12 PM
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.
Posted 20 May 2001 - 09:52 PM
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