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Eva Evdokimova


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#1 Jane Simpson

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 01:08 PM

German sources are reporting the sad news that Eva Evdokimova died in New York earlier today, aged only 59. She had been suffering from cancer.

More details will no doubt follow.

#2 leonid17

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 01:51 PM

German sources are reporting the sad news that Eva Evdokimova died in New York earlier today, aged only 59. She had been suffering from cancer.

More details will no doubt follow.


This saddens me greatly as I first got to know Evie and her mother quite closely over a two week period in 1968 at the Varna International Ballet Competition. This extraordinary shy and rather fey young girl was to become an outstanding technician and a wonderful Giselle and as La Sylphide. I ran into her and her mother all over Europe and loved the period that she spent with Festival Ballet in London where I saw her perform on many occasions. I am finding it difficult to believe she has passed from this life as I had heard many admiring remarks regarding her teaching in America where she settled after her sojourn in Europe. Evie danced with many famous partners and had a wide and successful repertoire. To me she never changed from that shy teenager I first met over 40 years ago. To sad and too soon to have think only of her in memories.

#3 vrsfanatic

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 03:06 PM

Very sad news indeed. Eva inspired many through her great artistry, kindness and gentle nature. Rest in peace Eva. May her husband find strength in knowing that Eva was loved worldwide and inspired many. Very, very sad indeed.

#4 Drew

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 04:01 PM

In addition to seeing her in a very fine Giselle, I saw her give a really rip-roaringly terrific performance in Miss Julie. A striking dancer -- I am sorry to read of her death especially so young.

#5 Nicole347

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Posted 04 April 2009 - 02:00 AM

German sources are reporting the sad news that Eva Evdokimova died in New York earlier today, aged only 59. She had been suffering from cancer.

More details will no doubt follow.



It is true that Eva Evdokimova passed away in New York in the morning of April 3. She was actually 60 years old. (Birthdate: December 1, 1948.)

As has already been said in these posts, Eva was a strikingly modest, gentle, sincere, thoughtful and generous person, in addition to being among the greatest ballerinas I have had the privilege to see perform.

It has often been said that others danced the role of the Sylphide but that Eva was the Sylphide. Like the sylph, she was playful, joyful, innocent, trusting, ethereal, and forgiving. I will never forget the image of her joyous clapping during a series of jetes--clapping out of childlike happiness and her pleasure at playing little jokes on James.

Her dancing was extraordinary--her interpretations were musical, intelligent, sensitive, and richly thought out. She told me that she adored developing a role, having time to mature in it, explore all of its possibilities and subtleties.

I was fortunate to have been able to study with Eva for seven years. Her demonstrations were in themselves a string of pearls: the beauty of her feet and legs as they worked through tendus and developpes at the barre, the delicacy and refinement of her epaulement, her extraordinary ballon, the pliancy and soft power of her sissones and other small jumps, even in her 50s. And then there was her commitment to a vision of ballet that was feminine, nuanced, refined, gracious, and well mannered. She was generous with her corrections, mild and soft-spoken in her manner, but she gave an uncompromising class. She had a will of steel and a voracious appetite for challenges and hard work, and her classes reflected the core of iron that underlay her elegant, mild, ladylike exterior.

She will be terribly, terribly missed by dancers, dancegoers, dance writers, and all the students who had the great good fortune to study with her and receive her coaching.

There are some clips of Eva in La Sylphide on YouTube. I urge readers who never got to see her dancing to watch these clips. They reveal a great deal about the person as well as the dancer.

#6 leonid17

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Posted 04 April 2009 - 04:34 AM

In Memory of Eva Evdokimova

Often in watching ballet, we can find resonance with a spiritual experience.

Great art can do this.

Spirituality exists not to simply bring comfort.

Spirituality provides the purpose for each step we have to take to build to our unified whole.

Great ballet dancers know this and accept the experience of struggle to take part in a higher artistic expression.

Leonid
04.04.2009
London

#7 Natalia

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Posted 04 April 2009 - 07:08 AM

May she rest in peace.

If I may ask -- What, exactly, was Ms. Evdokimova's main company during her career? I remember her as a fine guest with Festival Ballet in the early 1980s -- that televised Sylphide with Schaufuss as James -- but I do not seem to recall that she had a permanent home troupe.

As others have described, I also found her to be an exceptionally frail ballerina which worked to her favor in Sylphide and Giselle. I remember her as lovely but somewhat ill-looking even in her youth. Then again, the great Taglioni was often described as being exceptionally frail...the trait of an ideal Sylphide.

#8 Drew

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Posted 04 April 2009 - 07:27 AM

I saw her on tour with the Berlin Opera Ballet, but I don't know what troupe she considered 'home.'

#9 balletgirl22sk

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Posted 04 April 2009 - 07:55 AM

My daughters took classes from her at Ballet Arts. She was a lovely person.

#10 leonid17

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Posted 04 April 2009 - 08:52 AM

May she rest in peace.

If I may ask -- What, exactly, was Ms. Evdokimova's main company during her career? I remember her as a fine guest with Festival Ballet in the early 1980s -- that televised Sylphide with Schaufuss as James -- but I do not seem to recall that she had a permanent home troupe.

As others have described, I also found her to be an exceptionally frail ballerina which worked to her favor in Sylphide and Giselle. I remember her as lovely but somewhat ill-looking even in her youth. Then again, the great Taglioni was often described as being exceptionally frail...the trait of an ideal Sylphide.


She often looked exceptional pale and with dark circles under her eyes and was quite an introverted person dedicated to her art and when younger restricted by her mother in any social life. I very much like your bringing in in the descriptive analogy with Maria Taglioni who also travelled a great deal to dance with many companies.
I am taking the advantage of your questions to add a brief biography of Eva.

Eva Evdokimova was the first American to win an international ballet competition( Varna 1970) and the first American winner of the 2005 Ulanova Prize in Moscow for selfless dedication to the art of ballet.
Eva Evdokimova a US Citizen, was born in Switzerland on December 1, 1948 was of mixed American and Bulgarian parentage. Her mother worked for the U.N., and her father, a journalist, was a stateless refugee. Her early childhood was spent in Munich where she first studied ballet. She later come to London and studied at the Royal Ballet School. At the age of 17 she joined the Royal Danish Ballet (where she was a pupil of Vera Volkova to whom she gave great credit for her abilities) dancing in the corps de ballet then in 1969 she joined Berlin Ballet as a soloist and became a principal of that company with the title of Prima Ballerina during the period from 1973 - 1985. Despite her height, Rudolf Nureyev chose her to be his partner on many occasions for more than a decade. Over the years Eva acquired an enormous repertoire covering the Romantic and 19th century Russian classics and appeared in many 20th century classics. She appeared as a guest star with the Munich Ballet, both ABT and the National Ballet of Canada and many other companies. I remember an enthusiastic review by Jack Anderson in 1983, when she appeared in New York with Nureyev and the Boston Ballet as Kitri in Don Quixote. Eva retired from dancing in 1990 variously teaching and staging ballets thereafter. and was a judge at international ballet competitons.

#11 rg

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Posted 04 April 2009 - 09:35 AM

EE was also recorded on a once commercially available videocassette called THE ROMANTIC ERA. (the telecast of her in Schaufuss's LA SYLPHIDE was not, to the best of knowldege, released commercially.)

credits as follows:
The romantic era / directed by Merrill Brockway ; produced by Joseph Wishy ; originally conceived, produced and directed for the stage by Joseph Wishy. U.S. : ABC Video Enterprises, c1980. (90 min.) : sd., col.
Taped during the eighth annual International Cervantino Festival (Cervantes International Festival) at the Teatro Juarez, Guanajuato, Mexico, in spring 1980.
Musical direction, George Crum ; set design, Ed Wittstein ; lighting, Ralph Holmes ; written by Faubion Bowers.
Narrator: Erik Bruhn.
Danced by Eva Evdokimova with Peter Schaufuss, Ghislaine Thesmar with Michel Denard, Carla Fracci with James Urbain, and Alicia Alonso with Jorge Esquivel.
Music played by the Orchestra Sinfonic de Xalapa, conducted by George Crum.
Dance contents: Défilé / music, Chopin ; introducing the eight dancers: Eva Evdokimova with Peter Schaufuss, Ghislaine Thesmar with Michel Denard, Carla Fracci with James Urbain, and Alicia Alonso with Jorge Esquivel -- Pas de deux from Esmeralda / reconstruction and choreography, John Gilpin ; music, Cesare Pugni ; danced by Evdokimova and Schaufuss -- Pas de deux from Natalie (La laitière suisse) / reconstruction and choreography, Pierre Lacotte ; music, Adalbert Gyrowetz and Michele Enrico Carafa ; danced by Thesmar and Denard -- Pas de deux from La péri / reconstruction and choreography, Loris Gai ; music, Friedrich Burgmüller ; danced by Fracci and Urbain -- Pas de deux from the 3rd act of Giacomo Meyerbeer's opera Robert le diable / reconstruction and choreography, Alberto Méndez ; danced by Alonso and Esquivel ; introduced by Joseph Wishy. Adagio from Act II of Giselle / choreography, Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot, arranged by Anton Dolin ; music, Adolphe Adam ; danced in sequence by Evdokimova and Schaufuss, Thesmar and Denard, Fracci and Urbain, and Alonso and Esquivel -- Pas de quatre / reconstruction and choreography, Anton Dolin ; music, Cesare Pugni ; danced by Alonso as Taglioni, Evdokimova as Grahn, Fracci as Cerrito, and Thesmar as Grisi ; introduced by Anton Dolin.
:Alicia Alonso, Carla Fracci, Ghislaine Thesmar, and Eva Evdokimova are shown in various pas de deux from the Romantic era of 19th-century ballet, and in Anton Dolin's Pas de quatre. Interspersed is a discussion by the four ballerinas on the romantic style, and comments by Anton Dolin about his version of the Pas de quatre.

#12 Rosa

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Posted 04 April 2009 - 10:33 AM

Very sad news. The clips of Evdokimova in La Sylphide were beautiful.

#13 zerbinetta

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Posted 04 April 2009 - 11:37 AM

This is a lovely tribute, Barbarina. Sad news indeed.

Evdokimova's Act II Giselle is one of my favorite ballet memories. With her long neck and sloping shoulders she had the ideal Romantic line, from head to pointe.

It would have made a lovely lithograph.

#14 Marga

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Posted 04 April 2009 - 11:53 AM

Thank you, Barbarina, for your beautiful description of Eva Evdokimova.
I, too, mourn her passing.

#15 Natalia

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Posted 04 April 2009 - 03:44 PM

Thank you for the bio, Leonid. To answer my own earlier question, I consulted the Oxford Dictionary of Ballet, which states that Ms Evdokimova was a ballerina for 16 years -- prima since 1975 -- with the Berlin Opera Ballet - one of three companies that later merged to form the Berlin Ballet that is now headed by Malakhov. However, most of the world knew her as a free-lancer guesting with more famous companies or with Nureyev's independent touring groups. So here is another accolade: she was a true pioneer in forging a first-class career without affiliating herself permanently with one of the "Big 6" ballet companies (Kirov, Bolshoi, RB, POB, NYCB and ABT).

RG, beside The Romantic Ballet that you cite, Evdokimova can be seen rehearsing an extended excerpt from Act II of Giselle in the documentary Bujones Winning at Varna. Those seem to be the only two commercially-available (now or recently)films in the USA. The Festival Ballet Sylphide made the rounds on US television in the early 1980s (Nickelodeon, Bravo, etc.) but was not made available commercially. Neither were some Bournonville excerpts that were televised in Denmark in the late 1960s, when she was a corps member there and can be spotted in small clusters. I would venture a guess that at least one of the several Nureyev documentaries in existence shows Evdokimova in performance and/or speaking; I just can't pinpoint it now. Finally, I cannot imagine that West German television did not feature her in many telecasts during the 1970s/80s.


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