32tendu

Famous Ballet Goers

49 posts in this topic

Well, if you are at all interested in more "pop" culture of the more current Hollywood variety, I saw Jennifer Garner and not-yet-hubby Ben Afleck in the audience at L.A. Music Center when NYCB was there a couple of years ago. That was actually about a week before their first "official" siting at a Baseball game on the opposite coast. They either left or changed seats at intermission because there were a lot of fans that noticed them and were beginning to be a little bothersome, at least from where I was sitting.

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Joanne Woodward has been mentioned by others but it is a fact that she was the primary funder of Dennis Wayne's company Dancers that he started in 1976.

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And then, of course, there was Louis XIV. You couldn't keep him OFFstage.

And banished those from court who made imperfect gestures, so he was also OFFstage as an audience for his courtiers, disciplining them at whim. I always find the Hyacinth Rigaud portrait amusing, and one easily imagines his delicate prancing when listening to Lully.

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I have been given to understand the expression (and consequences of)"faux pas" started to have significance in Louis XIV's court

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Jaqueline K Onassis was actually editor for Francis Mason's wonderul book, "I Remember Balanchine."

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And King Ludwig I of Bavaria went to the ballet for all the WRONG reasons. His affair with Lola Montez helped force his abdication.

Ditto Cassius Marcellus Clay, no, not THAT Cassius Marcellus Clay, the one who was American Minister to Russia during the American Civil War. He had assignations going with a woman in the corps of the Bolshoi, eventually having a child with her. He also "adopted" her son by another man, and put him on the US payroll as secretary, even though he couldn't understand a word of English.

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Jaqueline K Onassis was actually editor for Francis Mason's wonderul book, "I Remember Balanchine."

And Gelsey Kirkland's "Dancing on my Grave."

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...Boris Godunov...

Only shortly before my time. Alexander Godunov, now him I remember. God only help the company Boris supported!

Yes, how right you are. I knew that "opera guy" would mix me up somehow. Should have remembered Sascha.

At that time, though, we were all concerned about the two "Shuras" Danilova, and MB's daughter just born.

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Bernadette Chirac, the wife of former French president Jacques Chirac, is said to be very interested in ballet (and she was involved in the organization of some ballet festivals).

She supposedly invited the gold medal winner(s) of the 1994 Concourse to dinner afterwards. I do not know if she attended the entire Concourse or only congratulated the winners at the end. But yes, her interest in ballet seems to be longstanding.

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A less popularly known ballet-goer is Richard Poirier, co-founder of the Library of America and Raritan, and former editor at the Partisan Review. And he's actually written about his NYCB infatuation (he's a very good writer) in various places, such as a chapter called "Balanchine in America" in Trying It Out in America: Literary and Other Performances (2003), and I know he's written about Suzanne Farrell too. So he's "supported" ballet by writing about it in his own sphere, which is American literature.

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A less popularly known ballet-goer is Richard Poirier, co-founder of the Library of America and Raritan, and former editor at the Partisan Review. And he's actually written about his NYCB infatuation (he's a very good writer) in various places, such as a chapter called "Balanchine in America" in Trying It Out in America: Literary and Other Performances (2003), and I know he's written about Suzanne Farrell too. So he's "supported" ballet by writing about it in his own sphere, which is American literature.

Wow, thanks, Ray! I'll ask for "Trying It It in America" via inter-library loan tomorrow.

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he's actually written about his NYCB infatuation (he's a very good writer) in various places, such as a chapter called "Balanchine in America" in Trying It Out in America: Literary and Other Performances (2003), and I know he's written about Suzanne Farrell too.
And Bette Midler. One of the things I like about this collection is the way that Poirier -- who came of age along with the rise of the NYCB -- is not afraid to link the his attraction to the work of Balanchine and even Midler to more standard Americal Lit subject matter like Whitman and Henry James.

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We sat directly behind Yves Saint-Laurent at a POB performance of La Sylphide a few years ago. My non-dancer daughter spent the entire time watching him and memorizing every detail of everything about him so she could search out photographs of him to convince herself it was really him! He was whisked out immediately after by the person who had accompanied him but she managed to make eye contact with him for an instant. :angel_not:

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To remain with the twentieth century: Joseph Cornell and Frank O'Hara; one can find traces of their love of ballet in their work (more in the case of Cornell than O'Hara).

In the 1970's (I think) I used to see Kissinger at the ballet and around the same time I read an interview with Farrell in which she talked about meeting him and says something along the lines of...'he really knows something about ballet.'

I saw Steve Martin at a matinee Coppelia years ago and since he was once married to Baronova's daughter, I vaguely assumed he must have some real interest and/or knowledge of ballet. But I don't really know.

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The relationship between ballet and celebrity -- whether its genuine admiration, mutual exploitation, artistic influence, or whatever -- woulld make quite an interesting story.

Bart, you mentioned Zelda Fitzgerald in your post. I hadn't realized she had loved dance so much....

Blog on Zelda Fitzgerald.

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From DC, I very seldom see political figures at the Kennedy Center these days, but in Olden Times (70s, 80s) quite a few Cabinet members, Senators, newsmen and Kennedys came regularly. Senator Fulbright's season tickets were right behind the Post's seats on Wednesday night. I remember after one "Les Sylphides" I heard him say to his wife, "That was real purty, honey."

Dan Rather used to come regularly when he was anchor in D.C. Joan Kennedy and family would often put in appearances -- John Kennedy Jr. also came when he was in town.

One FBI Director, whose name I forget (after J. Edgar), was also a regular attendee. I remember one performance when his administration was in disgrace for some reason or another, and no one would talk to him at intermissions. Brzezinski (sp) seemed to be a fan -- I remember seeing him often, once in a box with Beryl Grey, and they were obviously friends.

Ronald Reagan would attend his son's Joffrey performances. Both he and Bill Clinton (at separate times, obviously) were in the audience at Lisner Auditorium, and the Secret Service was obviously hating every minute -- not only the ballets, but the layout. It's a typical college auditorium, and even with guards stationed every 20 feet down both sides, heads pirouetting constantly, it was a very open space.

Elizabeth Taylor came to a few performances when she was appearing here in a play. AND Sandra J. O'Connor was an avid modern dance fan.

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Alexandra, was that William Sessions? His daughter was in San Franciso Ballet.

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Indeed, she was -- Sarah Sessions, the tallest girl in the corps and a wonderful dancer. She was a great "big swan," she was terrific in Agon, and she was really good in modern dance-y things like Othello and Company C.

She's also the poster girl for Ballet.co.

Alexandra, was that William Sessions? His daughter was in San Franciso Ballet.

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I've seen Caroline Kennedy a few times at ballet performances.

Maybe my best sighting was during the Romeo and Juliet this year. I all of a sudden heard a little commotion and turned towards the aisle and saw Allegra Kent walking down the aisle. People were randomly saying hi and she was smiling and blowing kisses to it seemed like everyone. She is as pretty as ever, and contrary to the image she presented of herself as a kind of bohemian who made her own purses from rags and stockings, she was very well-dressed and chic.

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Years ago Peter Falk came to see us at the Harkness Ballet in LA, he also came backstage, I was fortunate to meet him. With the Penna. Ballet, Christopher Reeve came to see us in Brooklyn NY when we would have a series there. Juliet Prowse also saw us in LA.

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Maybe my best sighting was during the Romeo and Juliet this year. I all of a sudden heard a little commotion and turned towards the aisle and saw Allegra Kent walking down the aisle. ... She is as pretty as ever ... .
I've often seen Allegra at ABT, and she is not "as pretty as ever." :smilie_mondieu: She's prettier! :)

A friend of mine was a greeter/bouncer (for lack of a better word) for ABT's donors' lounge for a few years and frequently admitted Jackie Onassis and Maurice Templesman. At Mrs. Onassis' passing she became a bit anxious -- would she recognize Mr. Templesman without her? I'm not sure that ever happened.

Susan Sontag was an NYCB regular during Balanchine's lifetime.

The first hint I had that there was something going on between Darci Kistler and Peter Martins was when I spotted her holding his arm at a Paul Taylor performance. They married a little more than a year later.

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Wasn't Madeleine L'Engle an NYCB regular? I know she contributed that piece to the the Tributes book. I saw Kent at one of the Kirov's Balanchine evenings in '99. Lovely indeed.

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