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Maria Tallchief's autobiography


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#16 canbelto

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 11:05 AM

Kent is a special case – she always kept some distance from Balanchine ‘that way’ and it was not for lack of interest on his part. We do know that Balanchine had a number of affairs apart from the marriages and more well known muses. I'm sure that Balanchine was devoted heart and soul to each lady in turn, but if these had been only 'affairs of the heart' then it wouldn't have been necessary to bring such fierce pressure to bear upon the young Suzanne Farrell.


Well Mr. B was a man after all, but the portraits people have painted of him, from his wives to his "muses" to the corps de ballet girls is remarkably consistent: a reserved, polite, somewhat remote man, not the type to have torrid affairs. Even with Farrell, she kind of hints that despite his ardor something held both of them back, and "even if it had been bliss we would have lost something." I always interpreted it as her incredibly tactful manner of saying that she just didn't feel it for him "that way." Considering how many people have told their "Balanchine story," I think that in that department if there had been more to tell more would have been written.
And at this point I don't think it's lingering reverence for Balanchine that's holding anyone back.

#17 bart

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 11:09 AM

It would be interesting to hear more about that and how Balanchine dealt with personalities and problems.

This would be interesting. Especially in those early days when everyone in the company came with a prior history: their own training, careers, expectations.

#18 Helene

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 01:09 PM

Well Mr. B was a man after all, but the portraits people have painted of him, from his wives to his "muses" to the corps de ballet girls is remarkably consistent: a reserved, polite, somewhat remote man, not the type to have torrid affairs. Even with Farrell, she kind of hints that despite his ardor something held both of them back, and "even if it had been bliss we would have lost something." I always interpreted it as her incredibly tactful manner of saying that she just didn't feel it for him "that way." Considering how many people have told their "Balanchine story," I think that in that department if there had been more to tell more would have been written.
And at this point I don't think it's lingering reverence for Balanchine that's holding anyone back.

While that may have been true of his most of his working life, I think both Taper, in his descriptions of Balanchine pursuing Zorina (and her own description) and his infatuation with Holly Howard (?), tells a different story in his personal life. Ruthana Boris, in "Balanchine's Ballerinas", wrote how they saw Balanchine and Howard (?) driving down the street in his open car and all of the young dancers dying with envy. While he was reserved and polite enough to have shocked Tallchief with a marriage proposal, her description of how once a couple, he chose and presented her with L'heure Bleue perfume wasn't swashbuckling, but it was ardent. She also describes how she realized that he was interested in Leclerq when she walked behind them, and recognized his flirtatious behavior from their relationship. Farrell may not have felt for him "that way", but what she describes as his courtship behavior in "Holding onto the Air" is far from reserved, polite, or remote, apart from his strategy of sucking up to her mother. Throwing jewelry across the room is quite melodramatic.

If anything, it sounds to me like he was quite intense during courtship, with the ability to focus entirely on the object of his affection. The pattern I see is that when he was fully engaged with ballet, soon after he got the girl, he set her aside, but during the periods where he did ballet intermittently or not at all, his lovers got more of his attention longer.

#19 dirac

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 02:22 PM

I think both Taper, in his descriptions of Balanchine pursuing Zorina (and her own description) and his infatuation with Holly Howard (?), tells a different story in his personal life. Ruthana Boris, in "Balanchine's Ballerinas", wrote how they saw Balanchine and Howard (?)...


Yes, that was Holly Howard. She was never interviewed, as far as I know. Too bad.

Balanchine seems to have been absolutely mad about Zorina. She was special, I think.

I loved the pictures in Tallchief's book of the two of them on holiday in Oklahoma. Balanchine must have felt he was really seeing America!


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