About Gelsey Kirkland
Posted 08 March 1999 - 01:23 AM
I saw Kirkland quite a lot in her ABT career, although, to my regret, I came to ballet too late to have seen her at New York City Ballet. I admired her dancing very much, especially "Giselle," "Theme and Variations," and "The Leaves are Fading." Arlene Croce once wrote about her technique that it was "porcelain-coated steel," and she was an amazing combination of fragility and strength.
I'd like to hear from you Kirkland fans, new or old, about what you've seen her in -- and especially from those who've taken her summer intensive at Southern Ballet Theatre; what's she like as a teacher, etc.
Posted 08 March 1999 - 07:38 AM
Posted 08 March 1999 - 08:44 AM
Kirkland was due to return the following summer to guest in Ashton's "The Dream" with Dowell, but pulled out because of injury. I never saw her again in London.
Posted 08 March 1999 - 03:47 PM
[This message has been edited by pdance (edited 03-08-99).]
Posted 08 March 1999 - 06:37 PM
Kirkland was wonderful. She was one of the first ballerinas my husband ever saw and she was his favorite. Unfortunately we also saw her as her life was falling apart, and though the differences were obvious she remaimed something special. I never think of her without thinking of Patrick Bissell; he partnered Cynthia Harvey in the most beautiful "Giselle" I've seen. What a loss.
Posted 08 March 1999 - 07:21 PM
Posted 09 March 1999 - 12:19 AM
Posted 09 March 1999 - 02:15 AM
Posted 09 March 1999 - 07:19 AM
Posted 09 March 1999 - 11:24 AM
Posted 10 March 1999 - 07:43 AM
She was absolutely beautiful in many things but when she got so thin, it was hard to watch her. I read her biography and like others, I found it distasteful that she blamed others for her own actions. Allegra Kent's book was much better in this regard than Kirland's -- looking at her life unapologetically but with humor and without excuses. I'm afraid that when I think of Kirkland, I think of a person who destroyed a gift they had and then blamed everybody else when it was broken.
[This message has been edited by Dale (edited 03-10-99).]
Posted 12 March 1999 - 10:46 PM
One thing about the book that's always troubled me is that some of the young people who read it will think they should inject collagen in their lips or have their foot broken to change the arch, or any of the other scary things she did or wanted to do. There should be a Parental Discretion warning on those pages!
Posted 13 March 1999 - 11:34 AM
I thoroughly enjoyed her first book which I've now read close to a hundred times. I especially agreed with all the manipulation you go through as a dancer. The mirror issue is important as well. I think Baryshnikov betrayed her on many counts and is somewhat responsible for her breakdown. I'm sure none of you will agree with me on that one. Although I worship Baryshnikov as a dancer, I bet he is a bit of handful as a mere mortal.
I've only seen Kirkland dance on video, but I did see her in class. You can't even imagine how incredible she was. She did the center adage on demi-pointe! Everybody in that room was gawking and totally in awe. I prefer her to anyone, including Makarova.
She is also an elf of a person up close. She is absolutely beautiful - a fairy with a deep New York accented voice. I was in Freeds (pointe shoe store) in London trying on shoes next to her and I couldn't keep from staring.
I didn't enjoy her second book at all. Too preachy and detailed. I think her editor is a bit to blame. I'm surprised there aren't more videos available of her dancing. Her used pointe shoes are still the #1 requested of them all. Anybody have a pair up for sale?
Posted 13 March 1999 - 11:54 AM
None of that takes away from the beauty of her dancing. And I think she was one of those artists for whom the pressure of performing and of being perfect, of living up to her own ideal of being perfect, was too much (it's broken a lot of people). To give up performing must have been a terrible decision, but necessary for her survival.
Now, for something a little different -- there is another video. Did you catch her on "L.A. Law"? (Don't remember the date; I never watched that show and turned past it on the way to somewhere else, when I realized it was about dance and stopped and watched. Surreal.) Anyway, Kirkland played a ballerina suing her artistic director. (It was all his fault, of couse.) She got to testify, but she also got to dance. She's in the studio (his new ballet looks an awful lot like "Giselle") and she also dances at the end, over the titles. She was still a ballerina.
Posted 13 March 1999 - 12:31 PM
It made me blush, especially the courtroom scene when it all seemed a little too real!
Notice in the dance scenes, she wasn't on pointe. I thought she looked awful! Those lips just jumped out at you.
I also saw the interesting profile of her on 60 minutes. Great clips from Giselle. Those ghostly arms! I would love to have seen her as Giselle. I heard her mad scene was incredible.
Does she still teach at ABT? I know she has in the past. I know so many dancers with great Gelsey Kirkland stories. She's a legend already. I get a real thrill running into an old picture of her. And her rehearsal clothes were great! She wore leg warmers over leg warmers over rubber pants and still looked emaciated. What a riot!
We'll probably never see anyone like her again. Is she the female Nijinsky?
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