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When did ballet become an obsession for you?


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#16 DancingPixie

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Posted 27 June 2005 - 01:53 PM

My mum enrolled me in classes when I was about five, and I've been hooked ever since :clapping:

btw, hi everyone, new here :beg:

#17 Cygnet

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Posted 27 June 2005 - 03:29 PM

I had my first lessons in pre-school. My mom introduced me to Chopin, Mozart and Tchaikovsky at that age too. Talk about music to grow by! Mom saw to it that I was exposed to everything ABT, and RB. I remember seeing Giselle, Swan Lake, and Sleeping Beauty etc all the way through to adulthood. At the same time she encouraged my study of classical music. (Moms are great aren't they? :clapping: ) I'll be forever grateful to her. Also I'll be forever grateful to PBS because its through that station that I was first exposed to NYCB, DTH etc., in the first broadcasts of Dance in America & Great Performances. I've been hooked ever since.

#18 nysusan

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Posted 28 June 2005 - 11:59 AM

I became obsessed the first time I saw Fonteyn & Nureyev in Swan Lake, though my love of ballet started earlier than that and the actual obsession didn't really take over till later. My grandmother started taking me to the ballet when I was very young, I have vague recollections of being only halfway interested, then I recall waking up (!) in the middle of the Black Swan pdd and paying attention. I don't know how old I was, or what company we were watching but I loved it.

I was 9 years old in 1964 when Lincoln Center opened - I know I went to many performances before then, but I don't really remember them. The State Theatre and Met Opera House are the places I remember, and I loved them both. My grandmother used to buy 5th ring tickets to ABT & NYCB at the State, which may be why I've always liked those side arm seats!. We went to the Met much less often, and for me it was a really beautiful & special place. I still get goose bumps sometimes looking down that grand staircase. It was there that I first saw the Royal Ballet, and Fonteyn & Nureyev in Swan Lake. I'm not sure if I saw them in Romeo & Juliet and Giselle the same season, or if those came later, but I was hooked after their Swan Lake.

I went fairly often with my grandmother, then when I was high school age I took some open classes at ABT's old studios and started going by myself - all the time. The State Theatre sold student rush tickets even then, and that's how I was able to go so often. Lucky me because those were the Fracci/Makarova/Kirkland/Gregory/ Baryshinov/Bujones/Nagy years at ABT. I also remember Balanchine's Stravinsky festival in 70 or 72, and Villela, D'Amboise, Hayden,von Aroldingen,Mazzo,Kent and McBride. Even got to see the incomparable Suzanne Farrell a few times after her return, and before I moved to California in 77. That turned out to be the start of a very long hiatus from ballet but now I'm back & going more often than ever. Unfortunately I don't qualify for those student rush tickets anymore...

#19 Helene

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Posted 28 June 2005 - 02:18 PM

I'm not exactly sure when it happened, but I do know the first time I recognized it as an obsession: when I was in graduate school, looking for quarters in sofa cushions so that I could raise $7.00: $2 * $1.25 for the bus, 2* $1.00 for the subway, and $2.50 to stand at the New York State Theater.

#20 bart

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Posted 28 June 2005 - 02:59 PM

So far there've been 18 replies to Alexandra's original question. Half (9) have referred directly to being exposed to ballet by family: mother, grandmother, "parents." Several others refer to early ballet lessons, which I assume required the support -- if not outright encouragement -- of family.

Just as there are theater families, there appear to be balletomane families. What an advantage we had! :thanks:

#21 carbro

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Posted 28 June 2005 - 04:17 PM

I took classes, as well as attending perfs as a guest of relatives. It was a very short time before the two experiences were clearly bifurcated in my mind, though. Even though, in my adult phase, I would sometimes take a 6:00 class then run to the theater and see onstage the pro who'd been warming up at the opposite barre, the two different ways of "doing ballet" were as clearly separated as the adjectives "active" and "passive." (Yes, I know :rolleyes:, attentive watching is hardly passive, but that's another issue.)

#22 amitava

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Posted 02 July 2005 - 04:41 PM

I am not sure it is quite an obsession, but a nice warm passion for the time being.

I had been to a few Ballet performances before 2003, but the purchase of a camera and the curiosity to photograph a performance started it for me. But little did I know about the aesthetics! I shot a tech rehearsal of a Ballet and being more familiar with Indian dance forms, focused a little too much on the upper part of the body (assuming mime was very very important). Well the Marketing Director educated me on that mistake - " You cut off their legs". Hmm, it was a very valuable lesson - something that I forgotten. Every art form has its own framework of aesthetics that a viewer should be come familiar with, to truly appreciate the subtleties.

That is what caused me to research and begin to appreciate ballet more. That led to modern/contemporary dance.. pop dance.. etc etc. It has been terrible. In 2005 I will probably see close to sixty to eighty dance performances. Ballet will be about 25% of them.

It is not an obsession. I am not in denial.

#23 bart

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Posted 03 July 2005 - 09:18 AM

I had been to a few Ballet performances before 2003, but the purchase of a camera and the curiosity to photograph a performance started it for me.  But little did I know about the aesthetics!  I shot a tech rehearsal of a Ballet and being more familiar with Indian dance forms, focused a little too much on the upper part of the body (assuming mime was very very important).  Well the Marketing Director educated me on that mistake - " You cut off their legs".  Hmm, it was a very valuable lesson - something that I forgotten.  Every art form has its own framework of aesthetics that a viewer should be come familiar with, to truly appreciate the subtleties.


Great story, great point. Thanks, amitava. I hope you'll keep us up to date on Ballet Austin, and other ballet in your area. There's been a give-and-take between Austin and our own local ballet company, Ballet Florida. Eric Midgely and Gina Patterson have moved in your direction. Charla Metzger, now retired, made the journey twice.

#24 carbro

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Posted 03 July 2005 - 09:30 AM

It is not an obsession. I am not in denial.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Not yet, anyway! :)

I recommend BT readers swing by amitava's website. Some beautiful photography there! For those who don't see his signature line: http://insightphotography.smugmug.com/

#25 oberon

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Posted 09 July 2005 - 11:50 AM

I grew up in a very small town. No one in my family was interested in ballet/opera/theatre etc. As a very unhappy misfit in school, I became hooked on opera while watching Renata Tebaldi on TV. Opera was my obsession (and still is).

When the new Met opened I was allowed to make trips to NYC on my own to go the opera; I got involved with a large group of young opera maniacs. A couple of them were also ballet fans, and it was with one of these that I fell in love. Having "played it straight" in high school, I adored this kid who was a few years younger than me. He worked during the summers for a small ballet company on Cape Cod and asked me to spend the summer with him there. I jumped at the chance.

But once we got there, he was so wrapped up in the ballet group (they were preparing a mounting of COPPELIA) that I felt left out. I had always hated ballet, grudgingly enduring dance sequences in various operas. But I realized that if I was to have a happy summer I would need to get involved in the production. The director, desperately short of boys, begged me to be in the show. She wanted to have a peasant couple do a dance in Act III (to the music Balanchine uses for the Jesterettes) and she told me she would make it easy for me. I agreed. Then she said I would have to take class! Whoa!!! Hilarious scenes commenced as I took beginners class with 8 & 9 year old girls. But I did it, tights and all...

Back in NYC my boyfriend took me to my first professional ballet performance (Joffrey) and shortly thereafter to NYCB where the first thing I saw was BAISER DE LA FEE with McBride & Tomasson, which I remember vividly. On my second visit to NYCB, Suzanne Farrell returned to the Company. That pretty much clinched it. I began going to ballet as often as to the opera; for a while ballet took over entirely.

Fast forward to 1998 when I moved back to NYC after a long hiatus (with frequent visits, however - and lots of ballet). First thing I did was join 4th Ring Society and that is when my obsessive phase began. I took my current partner and he became very interested in it as well.

Frosting on the cake: I meet the dancers (past & present), choreographers and others involved in dance at my job.

By the way, I continued taking class for 3 years after that COPPELIA and I still sometimes think of going back - do they have Senior Citizen discounts?


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