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Remembering Patricia McBride

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#61 Mark Dery

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Posted 21 September 2012 - 07:39 PM

I think it wasn't responsible, even if it was possible, to think about NYCB without reference to Farrell, while she was there. It's not exactly that Farrell set the standard, but if anything, she happened to exemplify Balanchine's... approach. (I was going to say his philosophy.)

You could say that Balanchine chose Farrell to set that standard and exemplify his approach. Which is not to take anything from McBride, but she didn't hold that kind of symbolic role in the company or the Balanchine repertory, as important as she was to both.

McBride was Edward Gorey's favorite ballerina.

I hope the question isn't impertinent, but do you know this from having spoken with Gorey, or do you have it from a member of his circle of devotees who sat with him during intermissions, or---? He *was* devoted to McBride, I'm sure, but in interviews gives the impression of being no less devoted to Allegra Kent. He also mentions Diana Adams, on occasion, and---less frequently---Jillana, Helgi Tomasson, and Maria Calegari. In any event, I only know this from interviews with McBride, Jillana, Villella, Peter Anastos, and others, and from burrowing deep into his interviews. Curious to know if he or someone told McBride was his favorite.

#62 dirac


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Posted 21 September 2012 - 10:21 PM

Not impertinent in the least. It's entirely secondhand information and from print. It's been so long I can't quite recall, but I either came across the information in an obituary, or possibly Ballet Review, or both. I am certain I read it at least once.

I can't speak for our friend rg but I believe he has written on this board that Diana Adams was a very great favorite of Gorey's, as much as McBride if not more, which assertion should be searchable using our engine. The relative position of both ladies in Gorey's hierarchy of ballerinas would be interesting to know. When I'm not near the girl I love, I love the girl I'm near, etc. :) Looking forward to your book.

#63 Mark Dery

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Posted 22 September 2012 - 07:17 AM

Thanks for jogging my memory regarding the RG quote, which does indeed appear on this site and certainly has an authoritative ring to it. (There's no arguing with firsthand knowledge of Gorey, acquired over 25---was it?---years of friendship!) Interestingly, while I gather from RG and published sources that Gorey esteemed Adams and McBride highly (highest?), he seems to have had something like an actual friendship with Kent. To be sure, he refers to her almost as frequently (if memory serves---and it may not!) in his interviews. Having just spent a delightful hour or so on the phone with McBride, I *can* say with some authority that she knew Gorey only as a worshipper from afar, although his fur-coated, tennis-shoed presence at performances and rehearsals was unmissable, if there is such a word. One thing that *is* certain is Gorey's status as conscientious objector to the cult of Suzanne Farrell. He was famously not a fan! (In the Gorey interview collection, _Ascending Peculiarity_, he does admit to having given her a chance, initially, but says she succumbed to "mannerisms.")

#64 ViolinConcerto


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Posted 22 September 2012 - 04:39 PM

I was thrilled to read that Robbins actually was inspired to begin imagining Dances by observing McBride and Villella working together, intimately and with great concentration, in a studio.

I think Bart is referring to Robbins seeing Villella and (I'm not sure it was McBride) in the studio inspiring "Afternoon of a Faun."

I also remember McBride dancing (I saw her from 1979 through her retirement), and she was always, aside from technically spot on, emotionally honest, warm, caring, and perfectly musical. My favorite role of hers was late in her career, the last pas de deux with Bart Cook in "Liebeslieder Waltzer."

#65 Amy Reusch

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Posted 22 September 2012 - 08:44 PM

I realize we're now on to Gorey, but going back o McBride, didn't Balanchine tell her something along the lines that it was a good thing he took her into the company because she would never have passed an audition? I have always been mystified as to what he could have meant by this....

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