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MCB-related articles in Dance Magazine

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Two DANCE MAGAZINE articles (October 2005) discuss dancers from Miami City Ballet.

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"The Delgado Sisters," by Joseph Carman and Guillermo Perez, profiles Jeanette and Patricia Delgado, two young and relatively new members of the company. QUOTE: "In Spanish, 'delgado' can mean either slim or smart. Both connotations fit the Delgado sisters, Jeannette and Patricia, who dance with the Miami City Ballet. Trained in the MCB School, they represent a new breed of home-grown talent, able to move from classical to neoclassical to contemporary roles."

Jeannette's roles have ranged from Dewdrop to principal roles in Divertimento No. 15 and Paul Taylor's Piazzola Caldera. Patricia (of the BIG, infectious smile) has always struck me as a can-do soloist. Last season she impressed in Fancy Free, Coppelia (Dawn) and as the lead dancer of several ensembles.

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Allegra Kent has an article describing the experience of coaching Sonnambula to three MCB ballerinas and their partners for the 2004-05 season: Jennifer Kronenberg-Carlos Guerra, Deanna Seay-Mikhail Nikitine, and Haiyan Wu-Luis Serrano.

QUOTE: "Today, because of time and money pressures, ballets are taught as quickly and as efficiently as possible. Leisure to explore a role is a luxury. Yet stories and insights from interpreters of the past are valuable. Coaching is the transmission of ideas that bring ballet to loife, particularly when the choreographer is no longer available. Studying videotapes can help, but ideas and subtle details will be lost if bideo is the only source."

Kent had three days in Miami, working with each pair of principals. All the others dancers were permitted to attend the rehearsals as sschedules allowed.

I love the New York City aspect of the last paragraph: "Information and ideas can come from unexpected places. By chance, 45 years ago, I ran into Mme. Danilova at a bus stop where she demonstraed a movement from La Sonnambula for me. All at once, I understood the value of looking backward, forward, sideways, or in any direction for inspiration."

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Thank you for posting these, bart!

I wish that Miami City Ballet would tour the West Coast, so that I can see these dancers in person, and not in the abstract.

What a wonderful quote from Kent on Danilova.

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I forgot to mention one of the best things in this issue: a 2-page spread of Jennifer Kronenberg's thoughts on being coached by Kent. Everyone who loves this ballet should read this, especiallly if you consider Kent to have been the most beautiful, the edgiest, the most mysterious, and most other-worldly of Sleepwalkers.

There's a full-page photo showing Kronenberg holding her candle in front of her, with Kent seated against the wall to the right, stretching her arm towards Kronenberg and raising her rather majestic chin, while Edward Villella sits next to her, hands on thighs, and watches quietly.

What an icon of one generation passing its artistry on to the next.

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"...if you consider Kent to have been the most beautiful, the edgiest, the most mysterious, and most other-worldly of Sleepwalkers."

Sure do! Memories...

Martha Swope's great photo of her sleepwalking is still on view:

http://www.ballerinagallery.com/kent.htm

Wow!!! Also some of her with Eddie Villella as partner. Plus further proof that hyper-extensions predate Sylvie Guillem and her Mariinsky copiers.

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Thanks, drb, for the photos. In each of them I notice something very typical of Kent -- the eyes. They are alive, alert, acute, expressive. She is looking at something.

Not many ballerinas -- who often seem to affect blank stares as somehow necessary for true classical style -- have/had this mesmerising quality. What a great, unforgettable dancer she was.

And her partnership with Villella, an on and off thing as I recall, crackled with a genuine inner energy in a way not even Fonteyn-Nureyev achieved. IMO.

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Thanks, drb, for the photos. In each of them I notice something very typical of Kent -- the eyes. They are alive, alert, acute, expressive. She is looking at something.

Not many ballerinas -- who often seem to affect blank stares as somehow necessary for true classical style -- have/had this mesmerising quality. What a great, unforgettable dancer she was.

Part of a dancer's performance emanates from the eyes - the critical part IMO.

As Hans van Manen said in an interview "Dance is something you do with your eyes."

(It sounds better in Dutch.)

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As Hans van Manen said in an interview "Dance is something you do with your eyes."

(It sounds better in Dutch.)

What's the Dutch, Herman? (When I was 12 I could have done the translation myself).

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"Dansen doe je met je ogen."

Nice iambic rhythm.

The lay-out man put those words over a great photo of Van Manen.

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" -- the eyes. They are alive, alert, acute, expressive. She is looking at something. Not many ballerinas -- who often seem to affect blank stares as somehow necessary for true classical style -- have/had this mesmerising quality..."

Amazing how those rigid, only-the-steps, mechanical Balanchine dancers, dancing his purely technical choreography, were often so much more expressive than all that histrionic dancing in much of emotional modern "ballet" choreography... Has Mr. Balanchine been stereotyped? It is wonderful that dancers such as Suzanne Farrell, Violette Verdy, and Allegra Kent (and others, of course) are still generously passing on the REAL BALANCHINE! Thank you, Allegra Kent.

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Quoting Allegra Kent:

... "Information and ideas can come from unexpected places.  By chance, 45 years ago, I ran into Mme. Danilova at a bus stop where she demonstraed a movement from La Sonnambula for me.  All at once, I understood the value of looking backward, forward, sideways, or in any direction for inspiration."

Ms. Kent began studying ballet before she'd seen a performance. Finally at age 11 she was taken to a mixed bill. The first ballets did not live up to her "lofty" ideal of what ballet was, but the last one did: "Night Shadow," as Balanchine's La Sonnambula was called then, starring Mme. Danilova and Fred Franklin.

For the full story, a 23 minute audio interview with Ms. Kent on NPR:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1594107

She spends a lot of time on La Sonnambula, explains how the sleepwalker knows how to move through space without seeing. She also gets into Balanchine's work, saying that the subtext of music is played out in his choreography.

The NPR site also offers a two minute excerpt of Allegra Kent and Conrad Ludlow dancing the slow movement of Symphony in C. On the same page you will find a number of other Balanchine-related interviews.

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Thanks, drb, for those links to npr and beyond. I have not read Kent's autobiography and really did not know much about her story.

It's astounding how much of her personal story is in her dance -- and that she was able to achieve this without distorting to the slightest degree either the music or the choreography. How many artists have been able to do that, I wonder?

P.S. Maybe we need a new (Allegra Kent appreciation) thread?

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Thanks, drb, for those links to npr and beyond.  I have not read Kent's autobiography and really did not know much about her story.

The Kent book is wonderful; it's one of the few dancer memoirs that in its way is a work of art in itself. It's a great read. Her zany personality shines right through*. Another remarkable thing about Once a Dancer is it was AFAIK not written "with" a professional writer, like Villella's and Farrell's memoirs.

* As it does in the NPR interview:

Q: I have heard you have read tons and tons of books, and not just any books

AK: Now when you say "tons" - a ton is 2000 pounds. So I don't know. I have actually cut books into segments because I couldn't carry those books and practice clothes, toe shoes, you know what I mean...

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