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Herman Stevens

Sofiane Sylve interview

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Herman,

Thank you!

I think it would also be wonderfully interesting to interview Sofiane after this next NYCB Spring/Summer season.... She's danced so many new ballets in the last couple of years including most recently Bayadere with Marcelo Gomes and Balanchine's Diamonds with Chuck Askegard both at Dutch National, also dancing some of the most demanding of female roles at NYCB. I hope you'll soon have another interview with Sofiane.... I'd be so interested to read how much she has learned and grown since your last talk.

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Thank you so much

for the interview, it was really interesting. I think Sofiane Sylve

is a wonderful and very interesting ballerina!

:shake:

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Wonderful piece. I became aware of Sylve, as did many Americans outside the New York metropolitan area, when the video of her Sleeping Beauty with the Dutch National was released. I was captivated. One of my biggest regrets of not being having gotten back to NYC during the ballet season is that I have missed her there in a Balanchine rep.

Incidentally, the following was came to me as something of a shock.

The first program I was in, in Karlsruhe, was Who Cares?, The Four Temperaments, and Allegro Brilliante, and I was first cast in two of these pieces, so I was dancing three Balanchine ballets a night, and I was fourteen years old.
Fourteen!!! :shake:

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Thank you for your responses all.

I think it would also be wonderfully interesting to interview Sofiane after this next NYCB Spring/Summer season.... [...] .... I'd be so interested to read how much she has learned and grown since your last talk.

I feel the same way. Maybe I'll give it another shot next time S.S. is in Amsterdam, though getting through to her via the company takes (at my last try) about 25 times as long as the interview itself. :rofl:

Maybe I'll post an English version of the Hans van Manen interview next?

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Maybe I'll post an English version of the Hans van Manen interview next?
Please!! The videos I've seen of his work make me wish to see more. I have to admit to having been suprised (though delighted) to learn a number of years ago that the Dutch were a major player in international ballet. I suspect that many of us in the US know less about van Manen than we would about a French, English, or Russian ballet figure of comparable importance.

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SF Ballet fans are very pleased to have Sofiane Sylve in the company these days, and I think she is a good fit for SFB partly due to her unusual qualities (SFB likes them a bit non-typical).

Anyway, I stumbled acroos this interview of Sofiane Sylve (done when she was with NYCB) - the interviewer is non other than Allegra Kent. Sylve's dance history is quite interesting - certainly not the traditional POB French training that some might have assumed...

When you graduated from school, where did you go? I was asked to join the Paris Opéra Ballet School. It’s a big glass building and I just didn’t see myself there. Then I went to Monte Carlo and I saw those girls with Chanel bags and I did not feel I belonged there either. I was about 12. The director told me that girls my age usually do floor barre. I was on pointe already for four years.

It was like putting on the brakes. Yes, so I just found my own way. When I was 14 the director of Ballet Karlsruhe saw me at a competition and said, “I want you for a new piece.” My grandma said, “I can also move to Germany.” So I moved there with her and my dog.

I love your grandmother. She’s quite a lady. She would be in the studio 10 hours a day if I had to be. She took care of the house, and I did school by correspondence and worked for the company. We had 100, 110 shows a year.

Your grandmother gave up babysitting for the other six [brothers and sisters]… You know, I saw her this summer and she said. “I miss all those years we had together.” New York is a little too far for her to fly.

After that company you went to the Dutch National Ballet? Well, in Karlsruhe they did a Balanchine evening.

Pat Neary came along and said, “Honey, what are you doing here? You have to go to a bigger company, a different rep!” We were doing Allegro Brillante, The Four Temperaments and Who Cares?, and I was in three ballets a night because no one else could do them. Pat said, “Listen, I’m going to Amsterdam; why don’t you come and audition?” Wayne Eagling, the director, invited me to join. Then they found out in Germany and made a big fuss saying that I couldn’t leave. I called Wayne, and he said, “Your director is looking for you. He’s mad.” I said, “I know; I just quit.” He said, “Well, just come then. I’ll take you.” I was 16.

And your grandmother? That’s when I started to live by myself. I stayed in Amsterdam 10 years. The rep was very colorful—Balanchine, Forsythe, new choreographers, classics.

How did you feel about those Balanchine ballets? I have some kind of connection with those ballets. Every time I would go onstage I thought, “Maybe he’s watching.” I think Pat was into that because it’s like he’s still alive to her. I heard all the stories from Pat and now from Karin von Aroldingen. There is just something about this man that I think we would have gotten along. And here I am ending up in New York. It’s so funny.

http://www.dancemaga...CBs-rising-star

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How did you feel about those Balanchine ballets? I have some kind of connection with those ballets. Every time I would go onstage I thought, “Maybe he’s watching.”

http://www.dancemaga...CBs-rising-star

There are some performance memories that stay with you -- the details may be gone, but the feeling, the aura created by a truly superb performance, remain. Sylve is responsible for two of mine: an incandescent Diamonds, and a melting, beautiful, Symphony in C, second movement.

Like any performing artist, she has her ups and downs, but when she’s ‘on’, there’s really is nobody quite like her.

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There are some performance memories that stay with you -- the details may be gone, but the feeling, the aura created by a truly superb performance, remain. Sylve is responsible for two of mine: an incandescent Diamonds, and a melting, beautiful, Symphony in C, second movement.

Like any performing artist, she has her ups and downs, but when she’s ‘on’, there’s really is nobody quite like her.

Tomasson seems to prefer soloists that have that special spark that can flare up suddenly and memorably. I still remember being really impressed by Sylve in Zanella's Underskin, I think it was. I hadn't really seen her dance much before that and I remember going to some trouble to learn more after that performance. She obviously can dance in many different styles successfuly.

[Edit] This might even be her as the female soloist, all in blue-black, at the beginning of the video. And there's more of her later on:

Edited by pherank

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THe audience in SF really treasures Sylve. She received the Isadora Duncan Award in 2012, for outstanding individual performance, for her dancing in "Symphony in C" outdoors at the Stern Grove Festival

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THe audience in SF really treasures Sylve. She received the Isadora Duncan Award in 2012, for outstanding individual performance, for her dancing in "Symphony in C" outdoors at the Stern Grove Festival

Sylve doesn't receive the amount of press attention a number of the other principals receive, but I think most people do realize that she is an unusual and rare talent.

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agreed, Pherank. She does not not get enough press, but what she does get is always [to m knowledge] superlative. She also does not seem to dance as much as the younger ballerinas. She's sovereign in any role, though.

She loves to teach. She let me watch a class. It was beautifully balanced in terms of technique, musicality, pointe work and jumping. She was unfailingly kind and supportive -- but if a step was being done incorrectly,she stayed with it til the student had the proper action.

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