dancer100

Looking for information on Maria Swoboda!!!!!

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Here is a link to Madame's New York Times YT obit, which gives some information: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0DE6DA143DF930A2575BC0A961948260

The curious part is, the last line says "There are no survivors."

The truth is, there are thousands of "survivors." She had hundreds of dancers she called "babies" - and hundreds of those "babies" grew up and started dance schools of their own (just google her name and see who comes up - beginning with Roni Mahler...). And now - several generations later, her "influence DNA" is ingrained in dancers everywhere - even if they never heard of her).

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Today while telling my students about this great woman, I googled her on my tablet and up came this tread. Although this topic has not been touched on in years, I feel compelled to add my experience with Madame. I was one among her last students. In a ballet world that in the seventies/eighties had few people of color, she built me up by telling me about Raven ( years later I would understand she meant Raven Wilkinson). One day while I was at the barre Madame stood beside me looking at me intensely, I started to sweat not knowing what I was doing wrong. As I waited for the correction , she spoke in a tone almost as if she was deciding my future "You will teach" she said. From that day on, with great pride she started to teach me to teach others.

I don't know if anyone is still out there but I want to thank you for the fond memories, and to gold comb, thanks after all these years you reminded me of why I do what I do and the way I do, from terms like ironing board , old ladies to "No chi, chi!". Even with my modifications through the years my style is still very much hers, and I as one of many survivors pass her legacy to my "babies".

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I was a young teenager growing up in Philadelphia. The mother of one of my best friends arranged for Madame to come into Philadelphia every saturday to teach us ballet. I think from possibly as early as 1953 through 1960, I loved it. I had studied with other teachers but none like Madame. I still remember the black dress and babushka she wore. She never got my name Cynthia or Cindy right and either called me Cynthie or Cindya. One thing I liked about our classes was that we never had recitals just pure ballet with a pianist.

But in 1959 (I think) The Philadelphia Orchestra asked us to perform with them for one of their children's concerts. And we also performed on the local PBS station. That meant trips to NYC for fittings and rehearsals. There were several of us in the advanced class who were all close to the same size and we were joined by one of the adult ballerinas from NYC. Since my mother didn't drive and was habitually late, I was late for one of the rehearsals at the Academy of Music with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Madame yelled at me and I started to cry. This very kind gentleman came over and started telling me jokes to make me smile again. My mother explained later that man was Victor Borge who I adored from that moment on.
That was my last year of ballet since I was 15 and terribly embarrassed when my 9th grade class all watched me on TV. There was a great deal of pressure on my mom and subsequently on me to continue since I was breaking up the group, but I refused so I look back now with regret. I still have my ballet dress that I wore for our performances. And my dad filmed the performance on TV which I might still have someplace. I will try to find it if anyone was in that group and would like to see it.

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