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Mary Day


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#1 glebb

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 05:33 AM

Please join me in paying respect to Mary Day.
Mary was a great lady of the dance whom I met in 1973.
I had the honor of being a student in her school and I thank her for teaching me.
I'll never forget the day she called the boys dorm and told me to get dressed and get myself to Kennedy Center. It was forty five minutes before curtain but I made it and with tickets from her I saw Sibley and Dowell in Shades and Nureyev and Park in Fille. Not a bad night at the ballet!
I saw Miss Day this past April and she looked and seemed very well. I'm glad to know that she lived well her entire life.
I already Miss you "Miss Day".
Rest in peace.

#2 drb

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 06:07 AM

I never met Miss Day but a cousin did take class from her. I really want to thank her for Amanda McKerrow, my favorite dancer at ABT for many years. One senses that that apple did not fall far from the tree.
Tricks come and go. AD's create havoc with their creativity. Legs change where they are going to. But the really great teachers are always there to keep hope and continuity and art alive. One is gone.
But I'm sure not forgotten:
"Most of us end up with no more than five or six people who remember us. Teachers have thousands of people who remember them for the rest of their lives."--Andy Rooney (!)

#3 sz

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 06:17 AM

Mary Day was a beloved friend to me and to many of my families of dancers.

Yesterday, there was a beautifully written tribute in the Washington Post, written by Virginia Johnson, a former ballerina and student of Miss Day's. Worth a read... Miss Day will always remain in our hearts as one of the finest people in addition to being a devoted partner in ballet's history.

http://www.washingto...6071101369.html

"Imparted along with the tendus and ports de bras was a sense of reverence for the art of ballet. Those who passed through the doors at 3515 Wisconsin Ave., NW were marked by Day's discernment of what was proper and good....

Day was a hands-on teacher, molding bodies, redirecting energy, extending lines. Each succeeding year under her tutelage was a refinement on the year before....

Behind all of the accomplishments was a very private person with a drive that few could equal. As a young woman in the late '30s and '40s, she recognized that ballet could spark the languishing cultural scene in the nation's capital. Although eventually her work as a teacher and director was celebrated internationally, I think she was proudest of her role in the cultivation of the arts in her home town."

#4 Hans

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 06:45 AM

Miss Day accepted me to my very first Summer Intensive at the Washington School of Ballet when I was 13, and she allowed me to continue taking classes and private men's coaching at WSB throughout the year for free. She also gave me the opportunity to perform several times in Washington Ballet productions, and I will always be grateful to her for the part she played in starting me down the road toward a professional-quality ballet education.

#5 zerbinetta

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 09:48 AM

Oh my, more hard times for Washington Ballet. Bad things do seem to come in bursts.

#6 sz

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 10:13 AM

Oh my, more hard times for Washington Ballet. Bad things do seem to come in bursts.


Per Kisselgoff in today's NYTimes: "Although guest stars passed through, the Washington Ballet until Ms. Day’s retirement as artistic director in 1999, was essentially a showcase for young talent.
....She retired as director of the school in 2003."

#7 zerbinetta

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 11:59 AM

She continued in an advisory capacity.

And she was their "soul".

#8 leonid17

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 01:04 PM

She continued in an advisory capacity.

And she was their "soul".


I met Mary Day at the Varna Ballet Competition in 1968. She was a calm and erudite person who listened and commented in a way that was warm, friendly, encouraging and distinctly distinguished. She was probably the first American I met socially who was associated with ballet and I was literally blown over by her charm, knowledge and her understanding of a youthful(well fairly) enthusiast of ballet that I was at that time. After Ulanova and Alonso she remains an abiding memory of my visit to Varna where there were many denizens of ballet attending. I was recently described by a colleague as old but another colleague said I was not old but had an accummulation of youth, which is what Mary Day exactly projected to me.

#9 Bill

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 04:44 PM

My sympathies to her friends, colleagues and students. May she rest in peace.

#10 RobinV1333

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 12:22 PM

I attended Miss Day's funeral Friday morning -- it was a lovely small gathering at the Oak Hill Cemetery Chapel in Georgetown. Warm and fitting tributes were given by Alice Braelove, Geoffrey Smith, and Kevin McKenzie, and we went back to Miss Day's house where her longtime assistant had arranged for the group to release 96 white balloons into the air -- they went up right over the school. Although it is sad to say goodbye, it is a comfort to know she spent her whole life doing what she loved. I last visited with her in March and she was full of stories and plans to write down some of her old ballets from the early days. Not only did Miss Day leave her mark on the world's great ballet companies, but many "Mary Day dancers" are successful doctors, architects, teachers, lawyers, physical therapists -- and parents too -- and she was very proud of that. I studied with Miss Day from 1971 to 1978. We did not just learn how to achieve a nicely pointed foot and pretty arabesque line -- we learned how to learn and how to fight for what we wanted. She may not have had her own children, but she certainly raised 1000s of children very well indeed.

#11 carbro

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 01:08 PM

Thank you, RobinV1333, for that lovely tribute.

I hope some of those stories were recorded. They would certainly add to the lore of American ballet.

It seems that all great teachers have the gift of imparting life lessons beyond their specific disciplines. And these are often the most important ones. As you note, Ms. Day shared this gift generously.


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