Todd Bolender has died
Posted 12 October 2006 - 05:33 PM
Here is the link:
.....and a short quote:
KC ballet icon dies
By PAUL HORSLEY
The Kansas City Star
"Todd Bolender, the legendary American dancer and choreographer who led the Kansas City Ballet to prominence from 1981 to 1996, died today in Kansas City of complications from a stroke. He was 92.
Born at the dawn of World War I, Bolender was one of the last surviving members of a generation of dancers who worked with George Balanchine during the pioneering Russian-born choreographer’s American work, considered the foundation of contemporary dance."
Posted 13 October 2006 - 12:08 PM
Posted 13 October 2006 - 07:46 PM
Posted 13 October 2006 - 08:00 PM
Amy, thank you for posting the link to the Kansas City obit. There are several heartfelt comments in the guestbook section from former dancers and students.
Posted 13 October 2006 - 08:42 PM
It's great to see the tributes to Bolender from the dance community he nurtured in a national news vacuum.
Posted 14 October 2006 - 10:22 AM
I also remember Bolender's "Souvenirs," but from NYCB's old City Center days. He also choreographed a funny, jazzy story to "Creation du Monde" which was a lot of fun and had a super role for Villella. Arthur Mitchell was a sly, sexy, seductive Serpent in the Garden. I still remember the huge and enthusiastic audience reaction to both.
But it was as a Balanchine dancer that he was revered in the dance world. Many observers commented on the similarity of Bolender's body and style of movement to Balanchine's. Historian Doris Hering in the International Dictionary of Ballet called Bolender "a superb comedian with a penchant for high camp."
"There was a facility in my body, a looseness, a rubbery quality," the 5-foot-8-inch dancer told The Star in 2003.
I think that "Still Point," in a more serious vein, should definitely be more widely revived. Melissa Hayden's comments on working with Bolender on that can be found in Nancy Reynolds' Repertory in Review. Here's a sample:
He was very detailed, very subtle. My whole body was to express my feelings -- if I was pained, it should be through my whole body in a physical sense, rather than just on my face, which I would say was physical but very superficial. He noticed shoulders, hands; he was very constructive."
Posted 14 October 2006 - 11:19 PM
Posted 15 October 2006 - 09:30 AM
Bolender's performance, with Janet Reed as "Rich Girl," is included in the new DVD "Jacques D'Amboise: Portrait of a Great American Dancer/Portrait d'un grand danseur américain."
The ballet in which he played the "Rich Boy" is Lew Christensen's (SFB) "Filling Station."
Posted 16 October 2006 - 09:50 AM
What a rich life he had!
Here's a juicy quote:
"Mr. Bolender became part of ballet history through his memorable performance in “The Four Temperaments,” the 1946 experimental ballet Balanchine choreographed to a commissioned Hindemith score. Kirstein summed up the physical image projected by Mr. Bolender’s dancing in his book “Thirty Years: The New York City Ballet” when he described his performance in the ballet’s “Phlegmatic” solo: “Todd Bolender, whose supple body and tubular limbs were remarkably serpentine, made a powerful impression as a fluidly sluggish acrobatic mendicant.”
Although Mr. Bolender’s dancing had a dramatic tinge that was felt in the 36 ballets he choreographed for City Ballet and elsewhere, Balanchine also used him early on in one of his purest plotless neo-Classical ballets, “Symphonie Concertante.” Balanchine created the work for his School of American Ballet and cast Mr. Bolender as the sole male and sole professional. When the work was transferred to Ballet Society, in 1947, Mr. Bolender continued in the role. "
The obit is credited to Anna Kisselgoff.
Posted 27 October 2006 - 08:07 PM
Another nice obit, this one by Deborah Jowitt in the Village Voice
There is a memorial gala with Kansas City Ballet scheduled for December 7.
Thanks, SandiK -- when I read Jowitt's piece, I realized that when I started this thread I thought that Bolender had choreographed Renard, when, in fact it was Mr. B.
(I knew that -- once!)
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