Andre Prokovsky1939 - 2009
Posted 18 August 2009 - 07:30 AM
OBITUARY: ANDRE PROKOVSKY
NEW YORK – French-born choreographer, Andre Prokovsky, died on August 15th, 2009 after a long battle with cancer.
Andre Prokovsky was born in Paris of Russian parents. He studied ballet with Madame Nora and other famous Russian émigré teachers. However, unusual for a dancer, he made his debut at the Comedie Francaise in a Moliere play. By the time he was 18, he had danced with various French companies, but the seal on his future success was set on his career when he went to Moscow for the Youth Dance Festival and won a silver medal.
In the summer of 1957 he was engaged as a soloist with London Festival Ballet and made his debut in Anton Dolin's Variations For Four at the Royal Festival Hall. The following Christmas he danced the Prince in The Nutcracker and was appointed a principal dancer of London Festival Ballet.
In 1960 he joined the Grand Ballet of the Marquis de Cuevas as a principal dancer. From 1963 to 1967 he danced with the New York City Ballet as a principal dancer and also appeared as guest artist with ballet companies in the United States and Europe, as well as appearing in television broadcasts. He rejoined London Festival Ballet in 1967 where he and Galina Samsova were the premiere partnership until 1972.
In 1972, Mr. Prokovsky and Galina Samsova formed their own company, The New London Ballet, which toured extensively through the United Kingdom, Europe, the Far and Middle East, South America, and the United States.
Mr. Prokovsky began his choreographic career while still directing and dancing for The New London Ballet. He created more than ten ballets, most of which have been taken into the repertoires of other ballet companies all over the world.
From 1977 to 1978 he was the Ballet Director of the Rome Opera House.
Since 1978, Mr. Prokovsky had pursued a successful career as a freelance choreographer. His ballets have been produced by London Festival Ballet, Northern Ballet Theatre, The Scottish Ballet, Rome Opera, the Australian Ballet, the Kirov Ballet, the Malmo Opera Ballet, Grand Theatre (Warsaw, Poland), The Royal Ballet, La Scala (Milan), the Royal New Zealand Ballet, Ballet de Santiago, Singapore Dance Theatre, the PACT, CAPAB, and NAPAC Ballets in South Africa, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and in the United States, Ballet West, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, the Cincinnati Ballet, Nevada Ballet Theatre, and the Tulsa Ballet Theatre.
Mr. Prokovsky created ten full-length ballets, Anna Karenina and The Three Musketeers (the Australian Ballet), Dr. Zhivago (CAPAB Ballet), Victoria (Norwegian National Ballet), La Traviata (London City Ballet), Macbeth (Ballet de Santiago), The Great Gatsby (Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre), Queen of Spades (Ballet West), Romeo and Juliet (Royal Ballet of Flanders), and Turandot (Guangzhou Guangdong Ballet of China). He has also staged his own versions of the classics, The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty, and Swan Lake.
Mr. Prokovsky also choreographed the ballet in the much-acclaimed Paris Opera production of Robert a Diable and the Washington Opera' The Tsar's Bride.
Mr. Prokovsky made his home in the south of France.
Mr. Prokovsky is survived by his wife, Elvire, and his son Alexandre.
Posted 18 August 2009 - 08:15 AM
the following just arrived as an email:
OBITUARY: ANDRE PROKOVSKY
What sad news. I saw Mr. Prokovsky dance with de Cuevas, Festival Ballet and the New London Ballet on very many occasions.
Mr. Prokovsky was a true star performer with a very strong virtuoso technique which he shared with his long time partner and wife Galina Samsova. Their performances were for Festival Ballet aficianados legendary.
I have strong memories of them in all the classics and other works, especially in the John Taras masterwork, "Le Piege de Lumiere."
Mr Prokovsky had a wonderful ability to stay in the air in cabrioles as if he was actually floating for a moment which he used to good effect in "Le Corsaire" pas de deux which he and Misss Samsova
for a long time made their own.
Mr Prokovsky was extremely personable and charming on and off stage and my condolences go to his wife and son.
Posted 18 August 2009 - 02:14 PM
My heartfelt condolences to his family.
Posted 24 August 2009 - 10:02 AM
The few U.S. obituaries have been rather brief. Here's a new one from the Telegraph (U.K.) which actually manages to say more about Prokovsky's stint at NYCB than Jack Anderson in the NY Times.
Prokovsky was then invited to New York by the master choreographer George Balanchine as a principal at New York City Ballet from 1963 to 1966.
Balanchine chose him to feature in his creations Pas de deux and Divertissement (1965) and Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet (1966). He also appeared in two Jacques d'Amboise ballets, The Chase (1963) and Irish Fantasy (1964).
Posted 31 August 2009 - 01:42 AM
Yet what was equally significant was the personal relationship Prokovsky established with companies like Louisville's, and artistic directors like Bruce Simpson. There is no substitute for a choreographer spending extended time setting his or her dances personally on a company. Prokovsky, despite at times looking and sounding rather frail, was able to transfer his particular vision to the artists would have to translate it into performances at the Kentucky Center's Whitney Hall.
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