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Fernando Bujones

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The following was forwarded to me via DanceMagazine:

For Immediate Release

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> Fernando Bujones

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> Fernando Bujones, one of the finest male dancers of the 20th century has passed on after a very brief and unexpected battle with malignant melanoma.

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> Born in Miami of Cuban parents, Bujones enjoyed an extraordinary performing career. With a meteoric rise, first as a gifted dance student at the Julliard School of Music's world famous School of American Ballet in New York City, then as Principal Dancer with American Ballet Theater, becoming the first American dancer to win the prestigious Gold Medal at the Varna International Ballet Competitions, and lastly as Artistic Director of the Orlando Ballet, Bujones became a living legend in Dance. His success and artistic achievements span over almost three decades and his charismatic presence and incredible technical prowess captivated audiences all over the world.

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> His name now and forever will be part of Dance history, joining other legendary figures like Vaslav Nijinsky, Rudolph Nureyev, Erik Bruhn and those rare others whose contributions to the world of Dance transcend the ordinary. His art brought so much joy to the millions of people who saw him dance. He has motivated and inspired young generations of dancers all over the world. His personal warmth and passionate spirit transcended the dance world and uplifted all those who had the opportunity to know the man.

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> He is survived by his wife Maria Bujones, daughter Alejandra K. Bujones, his mother Mary Calleiro, sister and long-time coach Zeida Cecilia Mendez, father Fernando Bujones Sr., half-brother Manny Bujones, half-sisters Susi and Annette Bujones. A funeral service will be held in Miami, Florida, the city where he was born.

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Somehow....I thought he'd beat it......

He gave us all so much.....

I am so sorry.

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Such a sad day for his family, friends and for those who's lives he touched with his kindness and his passion. May his light shine bright in heaven. Peace to you Fernando forever and always. For those who knew you, our hearts are broken today. Tango

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Very very sad news... My best to his family and friends. He was dancing in Boston when I was there as a student at the BBSchool. I am fortunate to have been in his presence during Don Q and Sleeping Beauty back in 1993. He is a definite inspiration for any aspiring male dancer.

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What a shock! Sympathies to his family. I saw him in his prime. His partnership with Cynthia Gregory was a marvel to behold; like dueling banjoes they brought out the best in each other, reveling in every moment, as did we.

Giannina

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It seems like only yesterday I was looking at pictures of Bujones and Cynthia Gregory in Dancemagazine in Black Swan. I only met him once, but I guess his name was ingrained in my mind, being an icon of classical ballet from my childhood. How fast it all seems to go...

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I put this on the other link but I am so saddened especially for Maria and his family I am repeating my post here. I was dancing with Boston Ballet when Fernando met Maria. Their relationship was truly a great love story. Two people meant for each other. My heart goes out to her-so soon and young to lose the love of your life. The same to his daughter that he loved dearly. Dad should be there to see you graduate, marry, have his grandchildren. Seems so unfair, tragic, and unexplainable. It is a huge loss to the dance world and a monumental one for his family. We as his dance family shall never forget all he has contributed.

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Fernando was my first ballet partner and my first beau, childhood sweetheart, while at SAB.

Those who knew him and/or ever had the pleasure of dancing with Fernando, will never forget how elegantly beautiful his style was. Fernando's regal, Cuban, princely, pride made his brilliant technique and lines of perfection so fascinating and heart wrenching to watch. Lines, lines, lines... Fernando could not make a bad one if he tried! His turns, beats, and jumps made your jaw drop to the floor. But we will most remember Fernando for his refinement and pure physical, classical beauty. He was born to be a ballet's cavalier!

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"Good night, sweet Prince, and flights of angels

sing thee to thy rest"

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So sad, so very sad.

I have so many memories of his performances here in San Francicso. One was the Third Act - Shades scene - from La Bayadere - in the days when only that act was done. He partnered Gelsey Kirkland that afternoon. Can you imagine? I don't recall him partnering her in anything else while they were here - we knew at the time how lucky we were. And I'm reminded again in this time of sadness.

My heart and prayers go out to his family.

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sz...Thank you for sharing your very personal connection with us. Everything that you said about Fernando is exactly how I perceived him...Mr. Bujones was one of the greatest dancers I have ever seen and one of the best dancers of ALL time...He will be so missed. May he rest in peace, and my heart goes out to his family in this time of transition and great sorrow.

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What a tragedy! I was absolutly SHOCKED when I heard the news! This really sucks.

I am very very very sad, I took class from him many times, and he taught me the Grand Pas from "La Bayadere". :(

My heart goes out to his family.

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When I was nine years old I took ballet classes at a marvelous open air theatre in Coral Gables, FL. The teacher was an old Russian man named George Millenoff. I was the only boy in class and Mr. Millenoff called me "Snow Vite" because on my first day of classes I showed up in a white leotard I had worn in a tap recital the year before.

Not long after my first day a young guy came to take class. I was excited to no longer be the only boy in class. The other boy was Fernando and because he was new he did not know that after barre all of the students did splits in the center of the floor. He also did not know that all students brought a hand towel to class. The open air theatre was very dirty, especially the flloor so we washed our hands after splits. On the day I met Fernando, I offered my towel to him when we washed our hands. After class I came out into the waiting area and I heard him telling my father how many hours he practiced ballet and piano each day. I'll never forget the look of delight on my father's face hearing this information. My father was so impressed.

Not long after that I saw Fernando at SAB when I was there for the summer and many years later at Kennedy Center where I was the horn boy in Act III of SWAN LAKE for ABT (Lucia Chase was the Queen), Fernando, already a star remembered me in the elevator. I was so proud to be remembered and spoken to by him in front of all the other people.

Besides being the most beautiful male classical dancer of his time, he was a bit more athletic than Dowell my other hero, Fernando was a good person. For that he was my hero and will always be.

R.I.P. dear Fernando.

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I am surprised there is nothing on the ABT website acknowledging the passing of one of its greatest dancers.

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During his pre-performance talk at a Miami City Ballet performance today, Edward Villella was asked by a member of the audience to comment on Bujones's passing. Villella reminisced about taking class in NYC with the 13-year-old Bujones. He remembered thinking how good he expected the still physically slight Bujones to be "when he grew into those big feet." Villella on Bujones the adult dancer: "He was a Stradivarius."

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Sorry for this belated but sincere reaction to Fernando Bujones' passing, as I've been offline for a while.

Those of us who saw Bujones perform live will never forget that incredible technique and presence! Thank goodness, he was filmed many times and he will continue to dance in our memories and screens for a long, long time (Varna 1974 competition, ABT at the Met, ABT in San Francisco, Chilean 'Sleeping Beauty,' Puerto Rican 'Coppelia,' documentary 'First Position,' Video Dictionary of Classical Ballet, etc, etc.). His Blue Skater in Ashton's 'Les Patineurs' was my special favorite; I'll always think of him spinning even faster than a real ice-skater, when I see that ballet.

May he rest in peace.

Natalia

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The January (2006) Dance Magazine has an excerpt from Bujones's unfinished autobiography, describing the events leading up to his winning the Gold Medal at Varna.

It includes a few interesting descriptions of his programming choices and variations, as well as some lovely photos.

Most touching is a smiling and playful photo of Bujones on demi-point in streetwear, shot in front of the Met at Lincoln Center last June.

There are also tributes/memories from several of his partners at ABT: Kirlland, Gregory, Tcherkasskky, von Hammel, and Makarova.

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Clive Barnes, in Dance Magazine for March 2006, has a wonderful and well-balanced tribute to Bujones, praising his dancing but not ignoring some of his professional difficulaties.

Here's his final paragraph:

QUOTE: "Bujones was a fantastic, unforgettable dancer, and he was also arguably the first of the major Latino dancers to play a key role in American ballet. Indeed, when all is said and done, Bujones deserves the reputation of one of the few truly significant classical dancers of the past half-century -- on a level with Babilee, Bruhn, Villella, Nureyev, Baryshnikov, and Bocca. But although he achieved their degree of artistry, a certain lack of focus on the part of the entrepreneurial, public, and critical spotlights during a major part of his career has meant that he is still not as widely perceived as he deserves to be as an iconic figure of classical ballet."

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If you have a broadband connection, there's some footage of the 15 year old Fernando Bujones in rehearsing Don Q here in William Richert's "A Dancers Life" ... it's a little before halfway through this segment

A Dancer's Life excerpt

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