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Emily Coates, former NYCB dancer

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While surfing around & Googling various former NYCB dancers, I came upon this very interesting story:

http://www.danceart.com/barreside/Emily_Coates.htm

Emily was a unique & intriguing presence at NYCB. She departed suddenly, and I missed her. I had a brief conversation with her a couple years after she left NYCB, while she was with White Oak. This interview tells what has happened since then, and why she left NYCB, etc.

I hope the link works!

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This interview tells what has happened since then, and why she left NYCB, etc.

Thanks for the link. Good to know there is (artistically very rewarding) life after NYCB!

Leaving after contrasting the humanity of working on Angelin Preljocaj's La Stravaganza with the emphasis on technical rigor in rehearsing Sleeping Beauty, it is interesting to read that the ballets she loved most included

Serenade, The Four Temperaments, Concerto Barocco, Square Dance, Jewels, to name a few. I love the kind of abstracted emotion these conjure up. And I love the characters and humanity in the Robbins' repertory - 2 & 3 Part Inventions and Dances at a Gathering are special favorites. Do you notice a theme?! An emphasis on humanity, individuality, a strong sense of person...

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I guess by now Ms. Coates has her Yale degree!

The last time I saw her was with Twyla Tharp on September 9, 2001, in the plaza at the World Trade Center. It was the first of two planned performances of the program, the second to be two nights later. It still chills me.

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That's a great interview!

When young dancers leave NYCB, one tends to fear the worst, but it's nice to know that Emily Coates left for the "right" reason - to further explore her passion for dance.

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Wow, carbro, I am getting the shivers just thinking about you seeing the Tharp performance on 9/9/01. That is uncanny.

In the interview, Coates seems to be saying her dancing days are not over.

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That's an interesting review indeed. What she said about the contrast between rehearsing Preljocaj's work and "The Sleeping Beauty" reminded me of what I had been told by a corps de ballet member of the POB about the contrast between rehearsing a modern work (unfortunately, I can't remember which one) and just after a Petipa classic (I think it was "Raymonda") and how difficult it was sometimes to come back to a somewhat "infantilizing" (does that word exist in English ?) atmosphere- however, in her case, she said that it was probably at least as much a question of personalities of the ballet masters and repetitors than a question of choreographic style itself...

Her switch from ballet to modern dance reminds me of a few cases of former POB dancers, e.g. Olivia Grandville who left the company in the mid-80s to join Dominique Bagouet's company and who now works as an independent choreographer, or more recently Raphaëlle Delaunay who danced for Pina Bausch's company for a while.

It's great that she was able to get into a prestigious university after several years of dance career. Unfortunately, I think that such a story would be probably impossible in France, as in general the most prestigious universities and schools take only "young" students just after high school (even taking a gap year could often be a problem), and also it generally is quite hard to get a good enough dance training while having good enough grades in school (for example a lot of POB dancers get into the company before finishing high school, and they have to continue their schooling by correspondence to get their "baccalauréat").

Edited to add: the following page lists Ms Coate about the prizewinners of the English language and literature department of Yale

http://www.cis.yale.edu/english/Undergradu...nners_04-05.htm

It says "Emily Coates ('06), I guess it means she'll graduate in 2006 ?

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Or, that she has just graduated, the fall semester having been her last, and the diploma dated January or February of this year.

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Thanks for posting the article. Emily and I trained in Pittsburgh together, and roomed at SAB for a couple summers. The last I heard she had been in the White Oak Project. I was happy to see the update. I always thought her to be such a beautiful dancer, and am glad that she not only has had a wonderful career in dance, but the opportunity to continue her education. :thanks:

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Thanks for piping in LLP, even in a delayed debut post! I hope you'll visit our Welcome Page and tell us a bit more about yourself.

Welcome -- a bit belatedly -- to BalletTalk! :thanks:

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She sounds like a remarkable person. I especially liked the way that each stage of her career has reaffirmed her belief that "I am a dancer." Even in the face of those who don't know or care much about dance.

QUOTE:

"I never quite realized how little people know about dance. One of my English professors commented, in trying to grasp the idea of dance as an art form, "It's kind of halfway between athletics and literature, isn't it?" He's seen one ballet in his life. A student who found out that I danced professionally was in disbelief that I've been able to support myself dancing for the last ten years. I find myself making analogies in my academic classes to dance. In my "Race and Ethnicity in American Politics": "Identity formation -- got personal experience there. First I was a ballet dancer, then I was a modern dancer...then I went back to being a ballet dancer..." And as a student I announce much more than is necessary, to anyone who will listen: "I'M A PROFESSIONAL DANCER." Most of the students think I'm their age, which makes it all the more confusing. It's been an interesting (sometimes embarrassing!) experiment in personal identity."

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I agree, she seems just SUCH an appealing person.

I wa also struck by the good sense of Finis jhung, who interviewed her -- i've bookmarked his site and will check back there now and then. He's a famously humane teacher, so I'm not surprised, but I just really liked their rapport and his maturity, as well as hers.

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You can see her live, beginning this Wednesday, dancing en pointe in Agon at Dance Theater Workshop! Well, not Balanchine's version, but a new version by (THE) Yvonne Rainer, titled "AG Indexical, with a little help from H. M.". Perhaps this didn't make today's Links since it is modern dance, but here is the Times article. When you click on the photo you get a terrific, large picture of Ms. Coates and her partners:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/15/arts/dan...r=1&oref=slogin

"She's using me as a sort of found object," Ms. Coates said. "My Balanchine technique is part of this postmodern collage. For me it makes me feel something more of a performance artist."

Though Ms. Coates is presented as an archetype, she no longer sees herself as a ballerina and never performed in the Balanchine ballet — not tall enough. Still, it's difficult to change people's snap categorizations, as Ms. Rainer well knows: when told that many young choreographers continue to cite her 1965 manifesto in which she rejected virtuosity, theater and spectacle, she burst into dismayed laughter.

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You can see her live, beginning this Wednesday, dancing en pointe in Agon at Dance Theater Workshop! Well, not Balanchine's version, but a new version by (THE) Yvonne Rainer, titled "AG Indexical, with a little help from H. M.". Perhaps this didn't make today's Links since it is modern dance, but here is the Times article. When you click on the photo you get a terrific, large picture of Ms. Coates and her partners:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/15/arts/dan...r=1&oref=slogin

Is there a thread about Rainer's AG Indexical? I did a search, and this was the most relevant thread I found. I saw it and absolutely adored it-- I keep trying to find people to talk to about it!

And, just so I can add something relevant, Emily Coates was a fabulous found object. I can hardly think of a more accurate way to describe her role.

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It sounds like she's doing some really exciting work with dance in a population that might otherwise not take those risks -- excellent!

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The link to the earlier interview did not work for me, which was disappointing because I respected the work of Emily Coates very much. I have heard or read about her sporadically over the years. An intelligent, lovely dancer.

By the way, I, like Carbro, was at the WTC that night to see Tharp. I also saw the Trocks that week, which had dance performances every night. Hard to even think about it.....

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