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tempusfugit

Favorite Balanchine Dewdrops

29 posts in this topic

Makarova Fan's query about Sugar Plums, and a response to it mentioning Dewdrops, made me wonder about readers' favorites in this role as well?

I myself love Nichols in the part and have also enjoyed Marnee Morris, Darci Kistler, Samantha Allen, Monique Meunier, Jennie Somogyi, Alexandra Ansanelli-- to name some very different types of dancers...

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Maria Calegari was a fleet and gracious Dewdrop.

Colleen Neary was exciting in the role.

I wish I'd seen LeClerq!

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Maria Calegari was a fleet and gracious Dewdrop.

Colleen Neary was exciting in the role.

I wish I'd seen LeClerq!

I wish I'd seen LeClerq too.

Lourdez Lopez was a lovely Dewdrop.

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Kyra Nichols was the first dancer I saw in the role, and I'm not sure even she in later performances surpassed that performance, at least in my memory.

After years of watching dancers perform roles that Balanchine made for them, I noticed that roles seem to have an xray of that original dancer in them. I never had a sense of what Tanaquil LeClerq might have moved like until I saw Maria Calegari perform the role, and subsequent footage of LeClerq in the Balanchine special on PBS confirmed this. Not that they were clones, but I felt like in Calegari I saw more of the "bones" of the role as it was created.

Did anyone see LeClerq perform this live? (Or the televised version, if LeClerq was in it?) Is my impression of Calegari off the mark?

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No, the Dewdrop in the televised version was Allegra Kent. Who was wonderful!

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There are two who come to mind right away, both notable for their abandon and their musicality, and yet such different dancers: Suzanne Farrell and Melinda Roy. Farrell was the unattainable being who was more spirit than flesh, while Roy was the down-to-earth girl next door to the girl next door.

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I must say that Monique Meunier gave probably the most interesting interpretation of the role that I have seen. She came out, all gorgeous and glamourous, and began to dance in a calm, almost demure style. With each succeeding solo passage, she took things to a higher level so the piece just built and built...about the 3rd time Dewdrop sweeps into view, Meunier's smile began to blossom. The girls seemed to be infected by her grandeur and they all notched up an extra level...by this point her exits were getting waves of applause and bravas, and when she finished the piece there was a wonderfully warm reception as the audience seemed literally to have been carried away by her dancing.

I have seen many, many beautiful & thrilling Dewdrops but Monique's remains a very special treat. Both her Dewdrop & Lilac Fairy seemed about as perfect as things get.

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I always rather liked Heather Watt's ultra-glamorous Dewdrop. Although she wasn't among my very favorite NYCB ballerinas, I still have vivid (and fond) recollections of some of her performances from the late 70's and early 80's -- and Dewdrop is one of them. I liked her "Clara Is Having a Teen Mood" reading of the role she originated in Davidsbündlertänze, too. (Ansanelli's recent take was more in the "Younger than Springtime" vein, but that works equally well, I think.)

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Jenny Somoygi, who has everything technique, grandeur and musicality. Van Kipnis who danced with such unaffected joy and Bouder is on her way to being the epitome of her generation.

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I always preferred Suzanne Farrell as the Dewdrop; her Sugar Plum Fairy was fine, but the Dewdrop was always great.

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I would have loved to have seen Jillana as the first Dewdrop! She must have been gorgeous!

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Well, my choices are limited to about the past ten years... but I thoroughly enjoy Janie Taylor in the role. She manages to achieve a nice balance of willowy beauty, speed, and grace that epitomize the role for me. Kowroski is an interesting choice in casting. Her legs and general size are an odd match for the intricacies of the choreography, but when she's "on," I typically enjoy her interpretation. Also, Miranda Weese is quite special as Dew Drop- such musicality matched with technical assuredness.

I'll also add that I agree with other comments- LeClerq would have been amazing to see.

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I would have loved to have seen Jillana as the first Dewdrop! She must have been gorgeous!

The first Dewdrop was Tanaquil LeClerq. Jillana danced it later on.

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Glad that the Kyra Nichols Dewdrop is preserved on video. Wish I had seen Marnee Morris's Dewdrop.

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Amen about LeClercq, whom it would have been amazing to see in ANYTHING. in I Remember Balanchine, Pat McBride says..."as the Dewdrop in Nutcracker, she had worked with Balanchine and he had really taught her. she was like a little jewel..."

Morris was exquisite in this role, perky, and though I was quite young when I saw her the performance made an indelible impression. I did not see Kirkland in the part and understand hers was beautiful as well.

Weese does look good as Dewdrop, doesn't she?

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No, the Dewdrop in the televised version was Allegra Kent.  Who was wonderful!

Is there a videotape of this? Or any of Allegra Kent's performances?

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you can see it at the new york public library though alas it is not available commercially:

Telecast by CBS Television on Playhouse 90 on December 25, 1958. Produced by John Houseman and Jack Landau. Directed by Ralph Nelson. Narrated by June Lockhart.

Choreography: George Balanchine. Music: Peter Tchaikovsky. Scenery: Bob Markell. Costumes: Karinska. Properties: Horace Armistead.

Performed by members of the New York City Ballet and children from the School of American Ballet.

Cast: George Balanchine as Herr Drosselmeyer, Debbie Paine (Clara), Robert Maiorano (Nutcracker prince), Diana Adams (Sugar plum fairy), Allegra Kent (Dewdrop fairy), Arthur Mitchell as Coffee (Arabian dance), Barbara Walczak and Roy Tobias as Chocolate (Spanish dance), Deni Lamont as Tea (Chinese dance), Edward Villella (Candy cane), and Judith Green (Marzipan)

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Kent can be seen on video at the Performance Arts Library at Lincoln Center in the following performances (and others but I'm only listing these [other performance arts libraries might have these]):

-- editing to add that I must have been posting at the same time as Mme. Hermine --

The nutcracker (Videotape)

Imprint 1958.

LOCATION CALL # STATUS

*MGZIA 4-407

Descript 1 cassette. 90 min. : sd. b&w. NTSC. ; 1/2 in. (VHS)

Note Telecast by CBS Television on Playhouse 90 on December 25, 1958. Produced by John Houseman and Jack Landau. Directed by Ralph Nelson. Narrated by June Lockhart.

Choreography: George Balanchine. Music: Peter Tchaikovsky. Scenery: Bob Markell. Costumes: Karinska. Properties: Horace Armistead.

Performed by members of the New York City Ballet and children from the School of American Ballet.

Cast: George Balanchine as Herr Drosselmeyer, Debbie Paine (Clara), Robert Maiorano (Nutcracker prince), Diana Adams (Sugar plum fairy), Allegra Kent (Dewdrop fairy), Arthur Mitchell as Coffee (Arabian dance), Barbara Walczak and Roy Tobias as Chocolate (Spanish dance), Deni Lamont as Tea (Chinese dance), Edward Villella (Candy cane), and Judith Green (Marzipan)

A midsummer night's dream [videorecording] / directed by Dan Eriksen ; produced by Richard Davis ; choreography by George Balanchine ; music by Felix Mendelssohn.

Imprint c1967.

LOCATION CALL NO. STATUS

PerfArts-Dance *MGZIC 9-1405 AVAILABLE

Prod cntry U.S.

Descript 2 videocassettes (93 min.) : sd., col. NTSC ; 3/4 in. (U-matic)

Note Full-length motion picture.

Performer Performed by members of the New York City Ballet and students of The School of American Ballet.

Cast Suzanne Farrell (Titania), Edward Villella (Oberon), Arthur Mitchell (Puck), Mimi Paul (Helena), Nicholas Magallanes (Lysander), Patricia McBride (Hermia), Roland Vazquez (Demetrius), Francisco Moncion (Theseus), Gloria Govrin (Hippolyta), Richard Rapp (Bottom), Jacques d'Amboise (Court danseur), and Allegra Kent (Court danseuse).

Credits Released by Michael Taines ; director of photography, Arthur J. Ornitz ; production design, Howard Bay ; art direction, Albert Brenner ; costumes, Karinska.

Contents Cassette 1. Act I -- Cassette 2. Act II.

Summary Ballet based on the play of the same title by William Shakespeare.

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Who owns the rights to these videos? It would be wonderful to have them released commercially!! Or is that asking too much? So many things from various opera archives are coming out on DVD...there must be alot of balletic treasures buried in libraries and private collections.

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Sorry if this is slightly off-topic, but RE:1958 Nutcracker video -- the excerpt posted by Mme. Hermine shows Arthur Mitchell as the Arabian/Coffee dancer. Is this a typo or was the variation originally danced by a male? I wasn't aware that the version we see today was not in the original production. Did anyone see the male variation? When was it changed to a solo for a female?

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No typo, it is a dance for a man, with four children if I recall correctly, serving him coffee and minding a hookah? Haven't seen it in a while..

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Arabian is a dance for a single female in Balanchines Nutcracker.....or so I thought....

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Arabian is a dance for a single female in Balanchines Nutcracker.....or so I thought....

As he did in many of his ballets, Balanchine constantly tinkered with the Nutcracker. And indeed, the original Arabian was for a man. He later changed it for a woman. In the Playhouse video, there is no cavalier. Diana Adams' Sugarplum Fairy is partnered by the four men in the other variations.

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To sort of take this back to the original survey of "favorite Dewdrops"

mine was Gelsey Kirkland at about age 19 or 20. She was just lovely in the part.

I did see Ashley Bouder a few weeks ago and thought she was really terrific.

Last Sunday I saw Weese. who added lots of balances, which was very impressive.

I have to admit that I just love the Dewdrops different little segments

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