Jump to content


This site uses cookies. By using this site, you agree to accept cookies, unless you've opted out. (US government web page with instructions to opt out: http://www.usa.gov/optout-instructions.shtml)

Gelsey Kirkland


  • Please log in to reply
76 replies to this topic

#16 nijinsky1979

nijinsky1979

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 31 posts

Posted 13 September 2008 - 01:05 AM

You're welcome, Drew. I'm glad you enjoyed it. That clip is my favorite one I've ever seen of her, and I haven't seen too many, only The Nutcracker; the pas de deux from Don Q and Coppélia; and Theme and Variations. For better or for worse, she's dancing with Baryshnikov in all of these. While they're stunning, of course, but I suspect she was probably triply self-conscious because 1. she was dancing with him and 2. because she knew she was being filmed.

Drew, your comments on what Kirkland accomplished onstage are intriguing, and I only wish I could have seen her dance more. Unfortunately, I was only a small child when she was still performing.

I can say that the experience I had watching her as Carabosse was one of the highlights of my life. It sounds hyperbolic, but it's true. Watching her on stage, I was in a trance. It was like the scene in the gym in the film version of West Side Story, when Tony and Maria see one another for the first time, and everything in the background blurs. At first, I thought I'd better look at other things happening onstage, but then I thought, why?! She was indeed "dancing in an entirely different dimension from everyone else on stage."

She was so good, it was unreal. One aspect of her dancing that really stood out in that performance was the mime. Everything that she was expressing was just so crystal-clear. You can imagine my disappointment when the announcement came that she was injured and wouldn't be returning for the second half.

I don't think that experience spooked her from performing forever, do you, Drew? Does anyone? Maybe there will be more opportunities for her to dance additional character roles.

#17 Mme. Hermine

Mme. Hermine

    Emeralds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,796 posts

Posted 13 September 2008 - 01:47 AM

the clip is from a 1986 gala televised for the queen's 60th birthday. it had different opera and ballet excerpts. that year she danced romeo and juliet and later sleeping beauty at covent garden.

#18 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,320 posts

Posted 13 September 2008 - 05:28 AM

As with Drew, this clip yanked me back to the visceral experience of seeing Kirkland on stage, something which has tended to fade from my memory over the years.

Kirkland was indeed a magnetic performer in the right role and with the right partner. I love the unusual chemistry with Dowell. Although he is clearly older, Dowell -- in his 40s at this time -- seems to work very well for her. He was never one of those bursting-out-of-his-skin Romeos, even when spinning out those amazing tours.

Here, it's Kirkland who seems to yearn for and stretch out towards abandonment. I love the way she runs; I love the way she uses the beautiful, perfectly controlled wildness of her arms. Dowell is the mature and sober partner, seeming to want to protect her from everything including herself, and to keep her from going too far.

Thanks, nijinsky1979, for finding and posting this video.

I would almost say that when she danced, it was if she were dancing in an entirely different dimension from everyone else on stage, but part of her genius was that she often managed to bring the whole stage picture along with her, communicating her quality to everything around her. I do not mean that others danced better when she was dancing (though that may have happened and certainly I saw partners become inspired by her) but that she radiated a world around her, a world so seemingly real that everything became a part of it.



#19 papeetepatrick

papeetepatrick

    Sapphire Circle

  • Inactive Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,486 posts

Posted 13 September 2008 - 07:05 AM

I am truly sorry I somehow never saw Kirkland live. This bloody R & J YouTube keeps starting and stopping, although the 3 seconds I get do look exquisite, reminds me a bit of Alessandra Ferri, but I could only get so far with the stopping and starting. I may look up some of the others, but was distinctly not enraptured by her Coppelia Variation (although that YouTube worked fine). It hasn't any spark of happiness that I can see, and looks dispirited and with little energy. Much different from Cojocaru's clip which I watched just afterward. Although neither reminded me of what I remember Patricia McBride to have brought to this role. Did Balanchine make this ballet for McBride?

#20 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,320 posts

Posted 13 September 2008 - 07:33 AM

Did Balanchine make this ballet for McBride?

Yes, although (according to Nancy Reynolds) McBride and Villella prepared part of it for a concert prior to Balanchine's involvement. At Balanchine's suggestion, they consulted Danilova on how to present it.

I found the Kirkland and Cojocaru Coppelia variations astonishingly different. Cojocaru has speed and sweetness. (McBride had the sweetness, but also something darker and deeper.) Kirkland's variation, with clear tempo variations, drew my eye to the parts rather than to a seamless and fairly homogenized whole. It was strange, but highly individual ... and mesmerising.

I especially love the passage where she repeatedly raises one foot to retire and then slides it down (rather seductively, it seems to me) to coup de pied. The music slows down for this, as it is not for Cojocaru's version. Cojjocaru makes the movement seem, somehow, perkier and less significant.

#21 carbro

carbro

    Late Board Registrar

  • Rest in Peace
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,361 posts

Posted 13 September 2008 - 09:50 AM

The YouTube clip of Kirkland dancing Swanilda's variation is taken from the Baryshnikov at Wolf Trap, which was recorded when she was quite ill with anorexia. It misrepresents what she was capable of in better condition.

Patrick, try letting the video run through and clicking Replay. It should be better the second time through.

I am thrilled that I finally got to see this R&J segment. A friend and coworker was lent a vhs of the broadcast, and we went to run it through at work, but it jammed the vcr. I had to take the machine to a repair shop to disengage the cassette and I told the repairman that if it came down to ruining the tape or ruining the machine, to spare the tape :) . Fortunately, it didn't come to that.


PS: Of course, we didn't dare try to replay the tape on that vcr again.

Edited by carbro, 13 September 2008 - 10:21 AM.
Adding the PS.


#22 papeetepatrick

papeetepatrick

    Sapphire Circle

  • Inactive Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,486 posts

Posted 13 September 2008 - 10:59 AM

Oh, she's powerful. This time it ran better, only stopping about 8 times, but that left plenty of time to experience it anyway. There were two times I actually got tears in my eyes, and I just wanted to go outside by now :) and not watch anything at all. And this happened without my even trying to pay much attention. And part of it is their perfectly-matched bodies, not only their artistry but the look it gets because their limbs are so much alike that visually it is a very special thing. As much as I love Corella and Ferri, I love Corella a bit better as the ultimate Romeo, and perhaps admire the lyricism of Ferri's dancing. My favourite Juliet I've seen live is Susan Jaffe, but--I can't remember who the Romeo was... But Dowell and Kirkland are like the bodies a painter (can you think of some painters they remind you of? I think I can) might have chosen for a particular look--they are almost like twin brother and sister almost. Oh, this is just so beautiful.

And thanks for all that info, carbro, and also about the anorexia when she did the Swanilda. I knew there had to be something wrong even from just the little seconds I'd seen from the R & J this morning. It looks more like the kind of thing one associates with determination after retirement, you don't see much that we think of with someone known to be prodigious technically, as Kirkland so truly is.

#23 Hans

Hans

    Sapphire Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,104 posts

Posted 13 September 2008 - 07:39 PM

That brings up a question I've had about Kirkland's dancing for some time, as besides the R&J clip, I have only seen the Wolf Trap DVD--what was her jump like? She seems almost totally unable to get off the ground at Wolf Trap, although many other aspects of her technique are surprisingly good given her condition at the time.

#24 carbro

carbro

    Late Board Registrar

  • Rest in Peace
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,361 posts

Posted 13 September 2008 - 09:21 PM

What was her jump like? Let me put it this way:

Among the amateurs in my class -- which was labeled "Adult Beginner-Intermediate" but attracted a lot of pros, as it started at 6:00 and was a block from Lincoln Center -- was a then recent member of Joffrey II who was herself a formidable jumper. One day, in the grands jetes combination she was momentarily puzzled by the hard thing that hit her shoulder at the apex of her jete*. Turns out, it was Gelsey's pointe shoe. No harm done, and Gelsey apologized once she realized what she'd done.

One of my indelible memories is of Gelsey's jetes across the stage in Act I of La Sylphide. She barely touched ground, almost seeming to shoot from one wing to the other in a full split.

Edited by carbro, 14 September 2008 - 01:18 PM.
To add the italicized and *ed insert


#25 Mel Johnson

Mel Johnson

    Diamonds Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,311 posts

Posted 14 September 2008 - 03:39 AM

She had that from the start.

Remember how Midsummer Night's Dream begins? At about 11, Gelsey was the first little bug that breaks out of the opening tableau doing pas de bourrées courrus and finishes with a pas de chat jeté. That was when I first noticed her. The jeté was that good, and that high even when she was a kid.

#26 rg

rg

    Emeralds Circle

  • Editorial Advisor
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,462 posts

Posted 14 September 2008 - 04:43 AM

a subsequent, early role with impressive display of her elevation was Dew Drop in NUTCRACKER.
GK made fleet and high-flying work of its challenges.
if mem. serves Robbins capitalized on her strong jump in SCHERZO FANTASTIQUE.

#27 EAW

EAW

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 77 posts

Posted 14 September 2008 - 04:48 AM

a subsequent, early role with impressive display of her elevation was Dew Drop in NUTCRACKER.
GK made fleet and high-flying work of its challenges.
if mem. serves Robbins capitalized on her strong jump in SCHERZO FANTASTIQUE
.


RG, you type faster than I do. I was about to cite those same roles - Dew Drop and the Stravinsky - that showcased her brilliant jump. The loss of that jump was among the several tragedies of her career, in my opinion.

#28 richard53dog

richard53dog

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,401 posts

Posted 14 September 2008 - 06:48 AM

I was about to cite those same roles - Dew Drop and the Stravinsky - that showcased her brilliant jump. The loss of that jump was among the several tragedies of her career, in my opinion.



A "me too" post.
As a newbie, young ballet goer, the role that Gelsey first caught my eye and made me a fan was the Dewdrop. I thought she was simply sensational in this and then started following her career

#29 zerbinetta

zerbinetta

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 680 posts

Posted 14 September 2008 - 09:18 AM

One of my indelible memories is of Gelsey's jetes across the stage in Act I of La Sylphide. She barely touched ground, almost seeming to shoot from one wing to the other in a full split.


Yes oh yes omg yes!!!

Indelible to me as well.

#30 carbro

carbro

    Late Board Registrar

  • Rest in Peace
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,361 posts

Posted 07 April 2010 - 02:30 PM

Looks like Gelsey Kirkland and her husband, Michael Chernov, have opened their own studio in New York.
http://www.gelseykir...e_to_GKACB.html

Note: Website still under construction as of this posting.


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):