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Important Women in Ballet


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#31 vipa

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 03:49 PM

Allegra Kent, a true artist. 

Allegra Kent in that, in my opinion, she had tremendous influence on the Balanchine look and style (for want of a better word).  Her port de bras and way of moving, I believe had impact on the school and company.

 

I would also add to the list Rebecca Harkness.  She poured a tremendous amount of money into her school and company.  Whatever one's opinion is of the quality and outcome,many influential teachers taught at her school, and many great dancers were developed in her company.



#32 bart

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 03:53 PM

Yes, Harkness has become almost a forgotten name.  It would be fascinating to construct a detailed outine of the influence of her school, company, and extended patronage.  I suspect that the late, lamented Ballet Florida would probably not have existed and flourished for so long without the Harkness connection.  Someone should really document this story for the country as a whole.



#33 GeorgeB fan

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 03:59 PM

Martha Swope - photographer - when it comes to captivating dance in a single moment whether it's on stage during a live performance, behind the scenes during rehearsal, or at a photo studio no one has ever had a more profound influence on dance photography quite like Swope. IMO she made it an art form.

 

Arlene Croce - critic - founder of Ballet Review, longtime dance critic of the New Yorker Magazine and author of several books about dance, Ms. Croce is one of the towering figures in the art of dance reviews. I think her influence is HUGE. 

 

Joan Acocella - critic - yet another gifted and superb writer of dance.

 

Isodora Duncan - dancer - yes she's a legend in modern dance but from the things I've read about her, she left an important imprint on several legendary giants in 20th century ballet. Her freedom of movement, her passion and her style of dancing in which she made it appeared the music was coming directly within herself, and that dance didn't have to beholden to strict storytelling, had a huge influence over choreographers like the Russia's Mikhail Fokine and Britian's Frederick Ashton.



#34 bart

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 04:42 PM

About Daniel's nomination of Allegra Kent ("a true artist"):   I don't think many remember just what an extraodinary and original dancer Kent was, or the impact she made on stage especially in the late 50s and early 60s..  Coincidentally, I'm just reading Robert Gottlieb's  review (in NY Review of Books) of Elena Tchernichova's memoirs.  Tchernichova, then a young dancer at the Kirov, saw Kent dance the Sleepwalker in Balanchine's La Sonnambula when NYCB came to Leningrad in 1962:

 

I saw every performance she gave; I wanted to somehow impress irrevocably on my brain every single step of hers.

 

Tchernichova's experience of Balanchine's company changed her life.  "By the time Balanchine was gone, 'I was ready to follow him to New York.'"  Eventuallyi, she was able to get an exit permit and arrived in NYC in 1976.  This is where the connection with Harkness comes in.  Among her first jobs in NYC was to work privately with her old friend and schoolmate Natalia Makarova, often in the Harkness studies.  After that, she went to ABT.

 

The book, Elena Tchernichova with Joel Lobenthal, Dancing on Water:  a Life in Ballet, from the Kirov to the ABT, is available from  Northeastern University Press.



#35 kfw

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 05:29 PM

The book, Elena Tchernichova with Joel Lobenthal, Dancing on Water:  a Life in Ballet, from the Kirov to the ABT, is available from  Northeastern University Press.

 

It's available in a Kindle edition as well. For any newcomers reading, I'll mention that both paper and electronic editions can be ordered through the Amazon box at the bottom of each Ballet Alert page. So doing helps fund BA.



#36 bart

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 06:05 PM

Clicking that box is the way I ordered it -- as well as the new Markova biography. Every little bit helps keep Ballet Alert on line and technologically up to date. Thanks, kfw, for reminding us.

#37 Jayne

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 10:41 PM

Marcia Haydee is a woman for all seasons (dancer, stager, choreographer, artistic director)

Twyla Tharp for her crossover choreography 

Alexandra Danilova - for everything.  

Jennifer Tipton has lighted some of the best ballets of the 20th and 21st century.  

Claude Bessy (the little dictatress of the POBS) for keeping the French style going.
Violet Verdy for her dancing, staging, and PR friendly personality, what a great ambassador for the artform 

Sulemith Messerer in Japan for her work to develop the artform.  

Nina Ananiashvili will be on this list eventually.  She was a wonderful dancer, beloved by her ABT family, and is keeping the flame alive in Tblisi.   

Virginia Johnson of DToH, for her dancing, and willingness to revive the company in difficult economic times, I hope she succeeds!

 

I think we English speakers will never know the contributions made by former Soviet ballerinas who go on to coach future generations in Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia.  Many of them kept their companies going by hook and by crook through the stormy times after the collapse in 1989 - 91.   God bless them all.

 

 

 

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#38 dirac

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Posted 28 September 2013 - 11:50 PM

 I don't think many remember just what an extraodinary and original dancer Kent was, or the impact she made on stage especially in the late 50s and early 60s.. 

 

 

I think Kent's influence is generally acknowledged (?) It would probably be more widely acknowledged if she'd committed herself to Balanchine and dance more intensely than she did. She also has a larger place in cultural memory than many of the other Balanchine girls. There is her book, her appearance in Six Balanchine Ballerinas, the photographs of Bert Stern which are regularly reproduced, and she gets mentioned in Vogue and Vanity Fair. Not bad.



#39 DanielBenton

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 04:50 AM

Having developed an interest in ballet only 3 years ago I of course missed Ms. Kent's live performances.  But I have seen video of her in the 2nd movement of Symphony in C (from the infamous Berlin 1973 filming), and part of the pas de deux from Agon with Arthur Mitchell (with a german announcer's voice-over!).  I thought her autobiography was also very interesting (and fun) to read.



#40 Marcmomus

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 08:07 AM

Peggy van Praag, Artistic Director of the Australian Ballet, and choreographer. Author of the The Choreographic Art 

 

Writers Katherine Sorley Walker, Lynn Garafola and Mary Clarke.

 

Tamara Karsavina, Mathilde Kschessinska, Olga Preobajenska for their inspiration and their teaching in Paris and London.



#41 sandik

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 10:39 PM

If we're including critics, I'd want to add Deborah Jowitt and Marcia Siegel.  And Parmenia Migel.



#42 cgc

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 07:25 PM

I would add:

 

Karole Armitage 

 

Rosina Galli, who ran the Metropolitan Opera Ballet through the 1920s - this was essentially the only resident ballet company in the US at the time

 

Gisella Caccialanza and Ruby Asquith, important ballerinas and teachers in San Francisco

 

Has anyone mentioned Agnes de Mille already? 



#43 leonid17

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 01:20 AM

The wider influence upon ballet across the world in modern times has to begin with Anna Pavlova.



#44 California

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 05:25 AM

If we're including critics, I'd want to add Deborah Jowitt and Marcia Siegel.  And Parmenia Migel.

Please don't forget the many excellent female critics and dance historians. A few of my favorites (along with those already mentioned): Arlene Croce, Anna Kisselgoff, Selma Jeanne Cohen. And several female philosophers are publishing important work on dance (e.g., Barbara Montero at CUNY, Anna Pakes at Roehampton in the UK). Anna Hutchinson Guest (theory and notation) should also be noted.



#45 leonid17

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 07:11 AM

I would like to refer back to the first post and tighten the title to a somewhat more detached view in the following.

 

Internationally speaking I would only include most significantly of all Anna Pavlova, Lucia Chase(Co-Founder of American Ballet Theatre), Ninette de Valois and the Russian Agrippina Vaganova as having had a truly wide world affect upon the 21st  century performances of Academic Classical Ballet.   The other women mostly did sterling work but, if you are talking about the world stage of ballet even Marie Rambert(mostly in dance) or Mary Day (ballet) both of whom I have spent some short time discussing the art who I admired, do not reach the influence of the above named artists.   There are of course some very distinguished women dancers from the world of 'Dance' and that would certainly begin for me with Martha Graham and Bronislava Nijinska but they are outside the world of Academic Classical Ballet.   Perhaps a greater influence upon “Important women in ballet” has been the legendary list of academic classical ballerinas and of course the great influence of academic classical male dancers who have attracted enormous audience around the world defying Balanchine's dictum that “Ballet is woman.”   Arlene Croce wrote,” His pet peeve in the theatre was the kind of emotionalism that aims at exciting false empathy in the spectator—the opposite of classical art. Mentions Hegel and Coleridge. For Balanchine, art was not something created de novo but a refashioning of hand-me-down material in such a way that it becomes new. He subscribed to the Hegelian view of history as a spiral: everything recurs, but in a different form. For this reason, he saw no harm in appropriating: he stole and was stolen from—that was the way of art. One of the great Balanchine statements is a definition of what tradition means to the artist: “You must go through tradition, absorb it, and become in a way a reincarnation of all the artistic periods that have come before you.”


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