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Does Gelsey Kirkland still dance?


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#1 SOUSA KID

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Posted 04 July 2006 - 05:04 AM

I really enjoy Gelsey Kirkland's dancing. Does she still dance ballet? (SOUSA KID)

#2 Hans

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Posted 04 July 2006 - 08:39 AM

No, Gelsey Kirkland is long retired. However, she does teach.

#3 DanceTherapist

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Posted 26 July 2006 - 08:54 AM

Gelsey Kirkland lives in Australia were she teaches and Coaches. She periodically has returned to the States were she has taught at ABT and Broadway Dance Center. I would love to see her move back to the States to take on a more active role with a professional company maybe as an Artistic Director or Ballet Mistress. I rank her as one of the finest ballerinas in which this country has ever produced.

#4 Yvonne

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 05:45 PM

I think it would be great if she would come out with some instructional coaching DVD's. I bet they would fly off of the shelf! I've always wished that there were more performance videos of her available. :)

#5 whitelight

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Posted 06 October 2006 - 07:07 AM

I read in Time Out a few weeks ago that Kirkland was coaching some upcoming production in New York-- does anyone know what it is?

#6 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 06 October 2006 - 08:45 AM

Sleeping Beauty at ABT. I *think* it's MacKenzie's (new) production with Kirkland coaching.

#7 carbro

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Posted 06 October 2006 - 10:00 AM

Since Aurora was not one of Kirkland's great roles during her years at ABT, I hope her services are used as well for some of those ballets in which she absolutely triumphed -- specifically, Giselle and LaSylphide (if there's a LaSylphide in ABT's near future :yahoo: ) and the Tudor rep.

In Dancing on My Grave, however, she writes of new insights gained when she danced Beauty with the Royal Ballet. New York audiences may have been deprived of seeing what her Aurora eventually became.

As I've written elsewhere on this board, she was -- for me, at any rate -- an extraordinarily effective teacher even early in her teaching career. I expect that her work with ABT's dancers will yield easily discernible results. :)

#8 Drew

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Posted 07 October 2006 - 02:55 PM

My memory is that Kirkland only danced Aurora once with ABT in New York. I remember a review by David Vaugn that said that in her 'present condition' (or some very similar phrase) she was not up to all the demands of the role but that the vision scene was "exquisite." When Baryshnikov directed ABT, he cast her in the Sleeping Beauty Act III pas de deux, programmed as an excerpt.

I missed reviews of the performances she gave in London, but read a John Percival review of another dancer that compared the dancer unfavorably to Kirkland, noting that Kirkland was able to tell a story through the choreography that progressed throughout the ballet. But I don't think at that point (very late in her dancing career) her technical prowess compared to what it had been at her height.

The what-ifs of Kirkland's career are so excruciatingly painful to me that I try to suppress them, but I'm inclined to think that had her health and spirit held together for the full career one wishes she had had, she would have developed an unforgetable Aurora.

I do strongly agree with Carbro that it would be great if Kirkland were to work with dancers on roles that she did have a chance to develop--Giselle, Leaves are Fading--which Tudor created on her-- and others. (Perhaps Raymonda too?? A Kirkland-Nureyev Raymonda received an absolute rave--a you-had-to-be-there-to-believe-it-rave--from Clive Barnes.)

I should add that I don't consider reviews to be gospel, but I saw enough of Kirkland's dancing myself to believe the rave reviews when I read them.

#9 dirac

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 02:11 PM

I missed reviews of the performances she gave in London, but read a John Percival review of another dancer that compared the dancer unfavorably to Kirkland, noting that Kirkland was able to tell a story through the choreography that progressed throughout the ballet. But I don't think at that point (very late in her dancing career) her technical prowess compared to what it had been at her height.


My recollection, which could be wrong, was that she received great reviews. Even if that weren't the case, I'm sure she'll have much of value to pass on to her pupils.

#10 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 02:52 PM

I'm not given to superlatives generally, but I saw her Aurora in London and it was really transcendent. One of the most beautiful performances of any ballet I have ever seen.

#11 Drew

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 06:49 PM

Mme. Hermine -- From what I saw of Kirkland throughout her career, I can well believe she danced a transcendent Aurora in London. If you have the time (and inclination) to discuss your memories of it...well, that would be lovely.

#12 dirac

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Posted 10 October 2006 - 09:47 AM

Yes, Mme. Hermine, please do. :)

#13 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 11 October 2006 - 02:35 AM

It was relatively late in her career, but remember, she was only about 34 years old! :)


It's been 20 years now (!), that's incredible. Well you have to understand it was a kind of occasion. It seemed like everyone was there. Nureyev and Makarova were there; everywhere you looked there was someone else well known. I lived not far from Covent Garden and I had a lot of people asking me to get tickets for them. When I got into one of the two ticket lines (don't know if they have two lines anymore but they did then), I remember a man in the next line getting to the window and announcing to the ticket seller, "I'll have two tickets for (whatever night it was), IF you think she will be there", which I found rather amazing, but then some people are just that way. There had been absolutely no "talk" about any difficulties with her; a Royal Ballet corps member I knew told me that she was quite pleasant and worked very hard.

I had a Stalls Circle seat. I think John Percival (?) wrote later that one of the most amazing things to see was the large numbers of ballet students in the audience, "eyes out on stalks to catch everything", as I think he put it, and indeed there were. The whole company was wonderful, though I have to confess I don't recall who did what other than the 3 principals, don't even remember the Carabosse. Stephen Jeffries was the Prince and Rashna Homji the Lilac Fairy. Gelsey was wonderful from the very first minute to the very end. Technically she was sure and impressive but it wasn't just a performance that was beautifully danced, it was beautifully acted. When she made her first entrance there was such incredible anticipation, certainly because of the occasion, as I said, but you really had to believe that this was an innocent young princess, and her maturing and awakening were just as natural as could be. Like I said, I've never seen such a performance.

#14 carbro

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Posted 11 October 2006 - 07:11 AM

Thank you, Mme. Hermine.

What I really want now is a slow and thorough tour through your memory.

I was in London in 1987 and saw Merrill Ashley's (not unexpectedly) athletic Aurora with Sadlers Wells -- now BRB. During the interval I overheard a woman remark to her companion, "She's not at all like Gelsey Kirkland!" :)

#15 Drew

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Posted 11 October 2006 - 08:16 AM

I'll add my thanks Mme. Hermine--let's hope at least a little of that can be passed along to ABT's dancers...


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