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Does Gelsey Kirkland still dance?


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#16 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 11 October 2006 - 09:46 AM

The Times archive has a review but of course one must pay to get the full text. However it gives you a phrase or two at the beginning, and this is what it gave:

At last, an opportunity to see how the Royal Ballet's ballerinas used to dance The Sleeping Beauty. To find a comparison within the company for Gelsey Kirkland's performance at Covent Garden last night, you have to go back to the days of Fonteyn....



#17 4mrdncr

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Posted 29 November 2006 - 01:13 PM

Gelsey was at several performances of ABT at City Center this past month (Oct.2006). She sat several rows in front of me at two performances I attended, and once I actually met her in the lobby of a nearby hotel--I was dying to say hello, but didn't want to intrude. Some have suggested she was at City Center perhaps to (re-)view the dancers prior to casting Sleeping Beauty? I wonder how much her opinion counted with Kevin McKenzie? There are still some TBA's listed on ABT's website, and I do know one dancer who was interested and still waiting to see if ABT management agreed.

#18 Haglund's

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Posted 29 November 2006 - 03:42 PM

It’s just tremendous that the ABT dancers will have the benefit of Gelsey’s coaching this year for Sleeping Beauty. I recall many years ago, when she was just cutting her teeth as a teacher at David Howard’s old studio on West 61st Street. I took as many of her guest classes as possible, and to this day remember so many of her concepts, simply because of the unique and passionate way in which she presented them. Her emphasis on the “arc of the energy” in a grand battement; arms low, body high; opening up the face to the light - all common concepts, but articulated with such passion and insight into why these things are important to the overall. Gelsey was not good at time management in those days, and oh my, if she got stuck (enthralled, obsessed) communicating ronde jambe en l’air or developee, it could be excruciating. She would walk up to a student, lightly touch him or her on the arm, and plead with the student to try harder. Gelsey’s pleading to try harder is an experience in itself. She didn’t just inspire you to work hard; she inspired you to suicide. Obviously, she has so much to give as a teacher and coach. It might be her best performance yet.

#19 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 10:31 AM

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.


From Jeffery Taylor's review today of Black Swan:

Happily Aronofsky avoids the cheap option of glamorising Nina’s descent into madness. However, the film’s concept could have been based on the life of American dancer Gelsey Kirkland. Gelsey was a supremely gifted artist whose career was beset by problems with eating, alcohol and drugs, graphically outlined in her autobiography Dancing On My Grave.

I saw her dance The Sleeping Beauty with London’s Royal Ballet and I seethed with anger at the parody of a performance on the Royal Opera House stage. Self-inflicted damage made her wobbly and stick-thin and she merely inspired in me despair at the contempt in which she clearly held the art form I love.

:dry:


I really really really really really disagree. Really. So did John Percival (I think) whose review began:

At last, an opportunity to see how the Royal Ballet's ballerinas used to dance The Sleeping Beauty. To find a comparison within the company for Gelsey Kirkland's performance at Covent Garden last night, you have to go back to the days of Fonteyn....


As I quoted four years ago.

#20 Drew

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 01:13 PM

"Contempt in which she held the art form"--There are many things one could say about Kirkland, some of which I would agree with and some of which I would disagree with, but from her performances (those great and those troubled) and her writings, one can tell that she held and holds the art form up to a transcendent standard which can scarcely be achieved. (In fact, given what one can infer of her character, that may have been part of her difficulty). And her obsessiveness in rehearsal, which has been criticized, hardly suggests contempt. Nor does her decision to found a ballet academy and reports of her success (some in this thread) as coach and teacher.

That she was self-destructive and that this led to weak and cancelled performances, that she had the problems of an addict (though not, as far as is known, at the time of her performances for the Royal), that she has been conflicted about many aspects of the profession qua profession, even that it's likely that she sometimes deceived herself (few addicts don't)--yes, that's part of the record. But I find this particular comment to be outrageous and, to me, it is deeply offensive--whatever one's opinion of a particular performance.

#21 Simon G

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 01:30 PM

I really wouldn't be overly bothered by what Taylor writes, or wrote, he's a rather sanctimonious silly man who writes for the Express, one of the most reactionary newspapers in the UK. He also contributes to RoyalBallet.co.uk

What I dare say that was about, was that Dancing on my Grave came out at the same time as her SB performances and was the book everyone was talking about and Taylor may have felt his fragile sensibilities so traumatised that he felt honourbound to rubbish a series of performances which every other critic thought transcendent.

I'd also put her performances in historical context, this was 1986, the RB was in a deep deep mess at this point, Guillem was another couple of years away, Ferri had left, Brind was imploding it was not a well company at that point, for Taylor to have been so pompous about the "sanctity" of ballet, when was on stage was pretty grim is bathetic.

I quite like his deeply precious wording, like a maiden aunt who's about to suffer a conniption.

Ashton loved her performances of SB, saying "no one had done what she did with that ballet in years. Ashton or Taylor? I know whose opinion I'd credit with weight.

#22 papeetepatrick

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 02:51 PM

I quite like his deeply precious wording, like a maiden aunt who's about to suffer a conniption.


lol, it also had an echo of Edward VIII, didn't he say that business on the radio? Don't think that "the woman I love" didn't go over a lot better here in the U.S., where it was just like a bad movie of the period.

Ashton loved her performances of SB, saying "no one had done what she did with that ballet in years. Ashton or Taylor? I know whose opinion I'd credit with weight.


Glad you put that, I hadn't known it.

#23 Alymer

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 10:37 AM

Ashton loved her performances of SB

As did Makarova who was also in the audience.

#24 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 11:07 AM

I know, I couldn't help giggling to see Nureyev chatting up Makarova in the aisles! :lol:

#25 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 01:27 PM

Gelsey’s pleading to try harder is an experience in itself. She didn’t just inspire you to work hard; she inspired you to suicide.


:rofl:

#26 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 06:58 PM

http://s1195.photobu...Victoria_Paget/

I think this photo is by Leslie Spatt. (is this ok moderators?)


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