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Allegra Kent on Charlie Rose


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#46 dirac

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 10:59 AM

Unless I'm misremembering, Kent graduated from a selective private high school at 15. No matter how you gauge intelligence, I think that fact confirms that Kent has it.


I'm sure in Kent's case this is correct, but there are all kinds of ways and means for graduating early and skipping grades.

#47 bart

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 11:29 AM

If you have the chance, catch the last 5 minutes or so of the Dancing for Mr. B video. You'll find Kent coaching Kistler in Sonnambula. She's attentive, intelligent, intense, elegant, and ... as they used to say as a kind of ultimate tribute to a performing artist ... "Well worth the price of admission."

#48 dirac

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 06:27 PM

If you have the chance, catch the last 5 minutes or so of the Dancing for Mr. B video. You'll find Kent coaching Kistler in Sonnambula. She's attentive, intelligent, intense, elegant, and ... as they used to say as a kind of ultimate tribute to a performing artist ... "Well worth the price of admission."


It is an interesting scene. I understand it was staged for the movie and not an actual coaching session.

I remember Kirkland writing in her first book that she had wanted to bring in Kent to coach her for Sonnambula, but Baryshnikov said, "Oh, she's too crazy," or words to that effect.

#49 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 08:19 PM

Unless I'm misremembering, Kent graduated from a selective private high school at 15. No matter how you gauge intelligence, I think that fact confirms that Kent has it.


I'm sure in Kent's case this is correct, but there are all kinds of ways and means for graduating early and skipping grades.

Not to mention the fact that knowing about someone's studies in a private-(or not, for the matters)-school can give you probably an idea-(still incomplete and totally questionable)- of the person's "schooling", or to be more condescended, "educational level". I usually place "intelligence" in another dimension.
Note-Oh, and PLEASE... this comment has NOTHING to do with Kent. I know nothing about either her intelligence and/or her educational level.

#50 Ray

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 03:17 AM

It is an interesting scene. I understand it was staged for the movie and not an actual coaching session.


Ditto for the scene w/Tallchief; some of the people she was coaching never danced the roles before or after that video.

#51 SandyMcKean

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 09:57 AM

but Baryshnikov said, "Oh, she's too crazy," or words to that effect.

Last night I happened to see a truly superb production of "Streetcar Named Desire" by Seattle's Intiman Theater. While driving home, this thread on Allegra came to mind. Blanche in William's play has a destructive streak that I can't imagine Allegra has (except maybe a bit of self-destruction, and certainly like Blanche, a tinge of preferring fantasy over reality), but I was struck by an apparent simularity btwn Blanche and Allegra. Neither may be "normal", but you have to be awed by their artisty and, in the final analysis, love them both. I'd rather spend an evening with Blanche in spite of her eccentricities than almost any other character in literature I can think of. An evening with Allegra might prove nearly as interesting.

#52 papeetepatrick

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 10:03 AM

but Baryshnikov said, "Oh, she's too crazy," or words to that effect.

Last night I happened to see a truly superb production of "Streetcar Named Desire" by Seattle's Intiman Theater. While driving home, this thread on Allegra came to mind. Blanche in William's play has a destructive streak that I can't imagine Allegra has (except maybe a bit of self-destruction, and certainly like Blanche, a tinge of preferring fantasy over reality), but I was struck by an apparent simularity btwn Blanche and Allegra. Neither may be "normal", but you have to be awed by their artisty and, in the final analysis, love them both. I'd rather spend an evening with Blanche in spite of her eccentricities than almost any other character in literature I can think of. An evening with Allegra might prove nearly as interesting.


I agree with you on most things about Allegra, Sandy, but don't quite see her as especially self-destructive. She is more like Blanche with her water wings and camellias stapled to lily pad petals (Blanche's Japanese lanterns and, I guess, orange-waters, etc.). There is something totally lovable about Allegra, but she is too 'unsinkable' to be like Blanche in some of the heavy ways.

#53 SandyMcKean

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 10:47 AM

........but don't quite see her as especially self-destructive.

And neither do I. I chose the words "maybe a bit of self-destruction" very carefully. As I heard Allegra say in the subject Rose interview, Allegra seemed to say (in a quite Blanche like fashion) that her acquiescence to her mother's wishes to marry, and then her own insistence on having children while in the peak of her career, had a certain self-destructive quality. She said that one of the things she will always be grateful to Mr B for is allowing her to "come back" and dance after clearly disobeying his desire for her to devote herself more completely to her dance. It's not hard to imagine Blanche doing something similiar in the world of all powerful men they both inhabit.

#54 dirac

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 12:46 PM

I chose the words "maybe a bit of self-destruction" very carefully. As I heard Allegra say in the subject Rose interview, Allegra seemed to say (in a quite Blanche like fashion) that her acquiescence to her mother's wishes to marry, and then her own insistence on having children while in the peak of her career, had a certain self-destructive quality.


I had that impression from the book, too. Not that Kent isn’t clearly crazy about her kids and happy she had them, but I thought that the pregnancies were also a form of rebellion. She had three very dominating people, Balanchine, her mother, and her husband, pressuring her from all sides and each desiring to control her in one way or another. Motherhood is one choice she had complete control over – in fact, I think she even says something to that effect. It wouldn’t be surprising that she had mixed feelings over the effect on her career, which was a great one, but also had potentialities that went unfulfilled. (The early marriage was a terrible blunder, her mother’s responsibility of course.)

I particularly remember the anecdote in the book about a conversation she has with Balanchine after the Russian tour. She was a huge hit and Balanchine was delighted with her, but he also saw more work needed to be done, and he talks to her hopefully about future plans. She resolves inwardly to have another child as soon as possible.

#55 papeetepatrick

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 01:11 PM

........but don't quite see her as especially self-destructive.

And neither do I. I chose the words "maybe a bit of self-destruction" very carefully. As I heard Allegra say in the subject Rose interview, Allegra seemed to say (in a quite Blanche like fashion) that her acquiescence to her mother's wishes to marry, and then her own insistence on having children while in the peak of her career, had a certain self-destructive quality. She said that one of the things she will always be grateful to Mr B for is allowing her to "come back" and dance after clearly disobeying his desire for her to devote herself more completely to her dance. It's not hard to imagine Blanche doing something similiar in the world of all powerful men they both inhabit.


See what you mean, but it was only 'self-destructive' in terms of not adhering to Balanchine's wishes for further development of her career. The test is really how does the result look? Does she love the children that she may have had partially to thwart Balanchine? She is impressive because she will not 'mind Balanchine', for whatever reasons (she minded him enough, God knows), but she loves him and is grateful to him for allowing her to become both a great dancer and not condemn her rebelliousness. Also, even if that intense (I agree with that word for it) coaching that she does was made especially for the film, it's unlikely that it would be that different from what she actually does in her coaching. Impossible, actually. In any case, you can say both have 'artistry', but Blanche is not an artist in the literal sense as is Allegra; in fact, her profession usually does not suffer the income tax. The fact is, whether or not she's conscious of how she managed to make such a lot go such a long way, she actually made choices that gave her a real life that is not essentially tragic, however much suffering she's had in it (Blanche is tragic, and a victim to pre-sub-prime mortgages or whatever; of course, it's possible Allegra is too, but I'm not up on her now that she's about 70. Maybe somebody will tell us the news.) Which doesn't mean I don't see a lot of resemblances to Blanche in terms of taste and imagination, but we're all self-destructive to a certain degree when we have to choose what big decisions we have to make in order to make our lives, if only because we subtract one or more things every time we add one or more things. She might sometimes be wistful, I don't know, about maybe having followed Balanchine's edicts more literally, but that is the kind of regret we all have. There are some who would have thought she shouldn't have had the babies and obeyed Balanchine, but it was her business and 'motherhood as something she could have complete control over' sounds a little cynical, but it could also mean she was an especially good mother. We need more recent reports, again.

Anyway, we all perceive people differently, and this thread has been quite a revelation along those lines. Baryshnikov may have said 'she's too crazy', but that could easily be said about him, according to where you were positioned in relation to him. Nureyev could be said to be crazy, Farrell could be said to be crazy, Balanchine could be said to be crazy (quiggin recently quoted someone as saying it) , and Kent seems to be a bit zany and very effervescent. Of course, that may be neither here nor there.

#56 bart

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 04:24 PM

It is an interesting scene. I understand it was staged for the movie and not an actual coaching session.


Ditto for the scene w/Tallchief; some of the people she was coaching never danced the roles before or after that video.

I didn't know either of these stories. Thank you, dirac and Ray. I love the idea of rehearsing the rehearsal! :blink:

Whatever her psychology -- and I'm not qualified to comment on it -- Kent was a unique and beautiful artist, as Balanchine recognized fairly early on.

Unfortunately, there is relatively little commercially available video of Kent in performance. Does anyone have a favorite Kent video (or snippet)? Do you know of any other dancers who she has coached or ballets she has helped to set?

#57 perky

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Posted 26 July 2008 - 11:39 AM

Unfortunately, there is relatively little commercially available video of Kent in performance. Does anyone have a favorite Kent video (or snippet)? Do you know of any other dancers who she has coached or ballets she has helped to set?



I've only seen one clip of Allegra dancing. The Bizet 2nd movement pas de deux. It's not near enough! I want to see Allegra in Bukagu, Seven Deadly Sins, Diamonds, etc.

#58 Ray

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Posted 27 July 2008 - 01:45 PM

Unfortunately, there is relatively little commercially available video of Kent in performance. Does anyone have a favorite Kent video (or snippet)? Do you know of any other dancers who she has coached or ballets she has helped to set?


I've only seen one clip of Allegra dancing. The Bizet 2nd movement pas de deux. It's not near enough! I want to see Allegra in Bukagu, Seven Deadly Sins, Diamonds, etc.


Have you ever seen the somewhat funkily directed film version (Italian?) of Midsummer? Allegra and Jacques do the 2nd act pas--it's probably the best video of Allegro extant (and fascinating to watch next to the Merrill Ashley rendition, also on video). Talk about a film that needs to be remastered and issued on DVD! It stars much of the original cast, even including Mimi Paul. I have an old VHS tape of it, which someone taped from a local TV broadcast, that I'm afraid to play anymore!

#59 Quiggin

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Posted 27 July 2008 - 05:40 PM

Ray, is it this version, which snuck into the States and as quickly out in 2004? I've asked Pacific Film Archive to try to show it--which they probably could without rights problems--but they weren't terribly excited about it.

On October 24 [2004] the Film Society of Lincoln Center, with the cooperation of the George Balanchine Trust and the Cinemathèque de la Danse in Paris, will show A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM in its only existing version, on video, re-mastered and color-corrected by the British Film Institute. For a new generation of ballet lovers, this is an opportunity to see Suzanne Farrell as a nubile Titania, Edward Villella imperious as Oberon, Arthur Mitchell as a delightful Puck, and Allegra Kent and Jacques d'Amboise in a gorgeously danced second act pas de deux that is one of the film's highlights.



#60 bart

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Posted 27 July 2008 - 05:54 PM

On October 24 [2004] the Film Society of Lincoln Center, with the cooperation of the George Balanchine Trust and the Cinemathèque de la Danse in Paris, will show A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM in its only existing version, on video, re-mastered and color-corrected by the British Film Institute. For a new generation of ballet lovers, this is an opportunity to see Suzanne Farrell as a nubile Titania, Edward Villella imperious as Oberon, Arthur Mitchell as a delightful Puck, and Allegra Kent and Jacques d'Amboise in a gorgeously danced second act pas de deux that is one of the film's highlights.

:wub: :clapping: :beg:


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