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Who are the most (verbally) articulate dancers?


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#1 bart

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 10:09 AM

On another thread a while ago, Herman Stevens began an superb interview with Sofiane Sylve with the following statement:

Talking doesn't come naturally to all dancers, particularly when they are asked to talk about their dancing. Dancing comes from a non-verbal place, and few dancers are eager to spend their precious downtime discussing their art with outsiders.

Is this generally true? What about the exceptions?

Who are -- or who have been in the past -- the most verbal and articulate ballet dancers? (about the art of dancing, but also about the repertoire, the music, the great choreographers, tkhe profession of dancing, the audience, the future of the art, etc., etc.)

P.S. It was nice to see that Sylve, in her interview, showed herself to be quite articulate indeed. :)
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#2 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 10:20 AM

One springs right to mind: Violette Verdy. I wasn't even interviewing her, merely attending a coaching session and I had page after page of quotable material.

#3 Marga

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 10:42 AM

Veronica Tennant.
Former Principal with National Ballet of Canada, Tennant has continued to work in the public eye since her retirement 17 years ago. She is a well-known television producer, broadcaster, director, and even an author of children's books (On Stage, Please and The Nutcracker).

#4 papeetepatrick

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 10:51 AM

Melissa Hayden in the '6 Balanchine Ballerinas' was excellent in describing Balanchine in terms of the music and dance being one, and how her body was stretched/elongated after she began to work with him.

#5 kfw

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 11:01 AM

One springs right to mind: Violette Verdy. I wasn't even interviewing her, merely attending a coaching session and I had page after page of quotable material.

Robert Garis, in his memoir "Following Balanchine," describes her as "brilliantly intelligent, articulate, and self-aware as an artist and as a woman, and as charming, chic, open, and warm as her stage persona."

#6 papeetepatrick

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 11:09 AM

One springs right to mind: Violette Verdy. I wasn't even interviewing her, merely attending a coaching session and I had page after page of quotable material.

Robert Garis, in his memoir "Following Balanchine," describes her as "brilliantly intelligent, articulate, and self-aware as an artist and as a woman, and as charming, chic, open, and warm as her stage persona."


Oh yes, Violette hadn't immediately sprung to mind, but yes, she too was/is spectacularly articulate. Unfortunately, I only saw her dance once. It was a wonderfully expressive voice, too, full of energy.

#7 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 01:27 PM

My beloved Mme. Alicia Alonso :thanks: . I attended some of her magistral conferences back on the days, and she was ENCHANTING on her talking, aside from the fact that she's a living encyclopedia in terms of ballet history, choreography, music and the like..Also, it's worth to note that she always strongly emphazises on the fact that general knowledge and culture are a MUST and essential on a dancer's formation.
:)

#8 vrsfanatic

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 01:32 PM

David McAllister, Australian Ballet artistic director is very articulate.

#9 Figurante

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 07:59 PM

Edward Villella is rather vocal. He gives pre-performance talks before many of the ballet's performed by Miami City Ballet, where occasionally he reveals much about his past.. it is fascinating!

#10 Klavier

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 08:12 PM

Damien Woetzel should qualify, considering he's earning a degree at Harvard.

#11 carbro

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 08:52 PM

Damian may well be. I've never heard him speak more than a few words. But I'm not sure that a Harvard degree necessarily confers a silver tongue. I've known Ivy League grads and post-grads who are notably inarticulate.

In his recent interview with Charlie Rose, Mikhail Baryshnikov impressed me as downright eloquent, and in a second language, which is also the case with Verdy when she speaks in English.

The quotable, sometimes cryptic Balanchinisms are wonderfully apt. The one that comes to mind is his telling Peter Martins, as PM relayed in an interview, to hold Suzanne Farrell "like a teacup."

#12 Mel Johnson

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 09:02 PM

Another vote for Verdy! And you have to listen carefully; sometimes she "downloads" all at once, and you have three centuries of ballet right before you, all in under thirty seconds!

#13 Helene

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 09:03 PM

Otto Neubert.

When we have been lucky enough to have him in post-performance Q&A's at PNB where he is a Ballet Master, he's been delightful. Although English is not his first language, he speaks it as beautifully and thoughtfully as any native speaker I've heard. He is intelligent, insightful, and has a wondeful sense of humor and a winning way of drawing out the dancers on the panel.

#14 Ray

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Posted 17 August 2007 - 05:04 AM

First off, this quotation from Stevens--

"Dancing comes from a non-verbal place, and few dancers are eager to spend their precious downtime discussing their art with outsiders."

--is such a stale generalization that only promulgates the mythology of the mute, elite "athlete of god." Give me a break already.

Anyway, I would say that dancer's aren't generally articulate b/c they aren't called on to be, and the tradition of dance reinforces a dance-now-ask-questions-later ethos. This is true in "mainstream" modern dance as well as ballet. It's interesting that European dancers often seem more articulate about their work than Americans. So it could also be a cultural thing--i.e., better education for all in Europe, even dancers. Any ideas?

#15 vipa

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Posted 17 August 2007 - 05:26 AM

A former ABT soloist named Christine Spizzo was/is very articulate. ABT was always sending her to TV and radio shows to represent the company. I think she now teaches at North Carolina School of the Arts.


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