Mme. Hermine

Larry Long

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Larry Long, beloved Chicago teacher, passed away last night as a result of injuries sustained some weeks ago in an accident.

There will be a notice coming shortly from the Ruth Page Foundation which will give details of a service and memorial(s) to be held.

Larry is survived by his wife of 47 years, Dolores.

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Would someone please post this in the appropriate place on the BT4D board.

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Yes, I will take care of it there as I am sure quite a few members will be deeply saddened by the news but will appreciate knowing. Mr. Long contributed to many in their pursuit of a professional career.

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I'm very sorry to hear this... he was kind of a father figure for ballet in Chicago.. continuing Ruth Page's legacy running the huge Chicago Tribune Nutcracker. A great loss for Chicago.

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Oh this is sad news -- he was such a historical connection in the Chicago community.

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Silvino da Silva of The Ruth Page Center for the Arts has kindly sent us Mr. Long's obituary text and photo:

CHICAGO
– Larry E. Long (72), Founder and Director of the Ruth Page Foundation School of Dance and Co-Artistic Director of the Civic Ballet of Chicago, died Saturday, August 22, 2009 from injuries sustained from an automobile accident on July 15.

Services will be held on Friday, August 28, 2009 at Holy Trinity Church, 1118 North Noble Street, Chicago at 11:30 AM. A Memorial Reception will be held at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 North Dearborn Street, Chicago from 1:00 to 3:00 PM. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Larry

Long Master Teachers Fund, made payable to the Ruth Page Foundation. This Fund will help bring master teachers of the caliber of Mr. Long to the School of Dance to work with its students.

“The dance community and the Ruth Page Foundation School of Dance has lost a great teacher,” commented Venetia Stifler, Executive and Artistic Director of The Ruth Page Foundation. “Larry used to tell me that he taught who was in the room that day. He looked at each dancer and got a sense of what they needed and taught the class to help them gain that which was missing. He also believed in a ‘no frills’ pure Ballet dance technique that emphasized movement over artifice. His musicality, passion for ballet, focus and masterly technique are just a few of the things that distingished him among his peers.”

Mr. Long was born October 30, 1936 in Des Moines, Iowa, but spent his formative years in Los Angeles, California. Mr. Long was recognized as one of the

preeminent ballet teachers in America. Mikhail Baryshnikov in an article in the New York Times named Mr. Long as one of six ballet teachers in America who have distinguished themselves as the best in developing students into professional dancers.

Mr. Long began his training with Alexandra Baldina, an illustrious Leningrad ballerina. His first professional performance was with Alicia Alonso in a production of Coppelia. He came to Chicago in 1958 beginning his long association with Ruth Page’s Chicago Opera Ballet at the Lyric Opera, and later Ms. Page’s International Ballet Company. After becoming a principal dancer with Ms. Page's International Ballet Company, he was appointed Ballet Master, a position he later held with the National Ballet of Washington, D.C. and the Harkness Ballet of New York. In 1973, he was co-founder and director with

Ruth Page of the Chicago Ballet. Three years later, Mr. Long became Artistic Director of the Ballet International in London. Mr. Long was the long time (1965-1997) director of the Chicago Tribune Charities’ production of The Nutcracker ballet which ran in Chicago for 31 years. Mr. Long and his wife,

Dolores, co-founded the Civic Ballet of Chicago, the youth training company of the Ruth Page School of Dance, in 1998 in order to continue to develop serious young dancers with advanced training and performance experience as a prelude to a professional career in ballet. In 1989, he received the Ruth Page Award for "lifetime service to the field of dance." In 2006, the city of Chicago honored Larry and Dolores Long with a commendation for their contributions to the Arts in Chicago.

Larry Long will be remembered for his enthusiasm and tremendous energy; a motivational force in the lives of his family friends and dancers everywhere. An important calling for Mr. Long was also his loving devotion to his wife, Dolores, for 47 years, who was always beside him devoting their lives to the dance world. Besides his wife, Mr. Long leaves behind his nieces and nephews: Deborah and John Carroll; Marti-Jean Gross; Tracy Somers and Chris Long; grand nieces and nephews: Cassandra Carroll, Jenny and Jimmy Darukhanovala, Danni Maxson and Julian Jasiniski.

Rest in peace, Mr. Long.

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someone might alert the writers of this obit that while Baldina was trained in St. Petersburg and danced in the Maryinsky troupe, she made her career in Moscow from 1905 - 10. She left Russia around the end of her Moscow/Bolshoi stint, well before Leningrad was so-named.

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As a former dancer who was lucky enough to be part of Larry Long's orbit for a short time, I got to thinking about how many professional dancers he's trained over the decades: Here's an off-the-top-of-my-head list; others chime in:

Tom Gold (NYCB)

Kip Sturm (DTH)

Amy Rose (ABT)

David Krensig (PAB)

Ron De Jesus (Hubbard St.)

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Catherine Yoshimura (BalletMet)

Kai Davis (was in Boston?)

Donald Williams (DTH)

Ellen Krafft (ABT)

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The Chicago Tribune had an obituary yesterday:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-obi...0,4081479.story

While an accomplished dancer who trained with Russian ballerina Alexandra Baldina, it was as a teacher that Mr. Long left his lasting mark on ballet.

"He could teach ideas that others could not even put into words," Stifler said.

In classes on North Dearborn Street, Mr. Long stood amid students on the mirror-lined dance floor, tapping out the rhythm with an ever-present cane.

"Larry Long, you just mention his name and dancers would smile and say he's such a nurturing but disciplined teacher," said Lucia Mauro, a dance critic and educator who has written for the Tribune. "He paid attention to individual dancers and their needs. It wasn't a herd of dancers at the barre."

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someone might alert the writers of this obit that while Baldina was trained in St. Petersburg and danced in the Maryinsky troupe, she made her career in Moscow from 1905 - 10. She left Russia around the end of her Moscow/Bolshoi stint, well before Leningrad was so-named.

Alexandra Baldina was never a ballerina only a soloist. She was engaged with her husband Theodore Kosloff and Vera Karalli all from the Bolshoi to appear with the Saison Russe at the ChateletTheatre Paris

where on the 2 June1 1909, she appreared in the re-worked Les Sylphides/Chopiniana premier with Pavlova, Karsavina and Nijinski.

Baldina and Kosloff left the Bolshoi to come west in 1910 and rg quite rightly states Leningrad that alone Lenin had no status in 1910.

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If her repertoire included Aurora, wouldn't that qualify her as a ballerina? (Honest question).

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another seemingly prominent role for Baldina was the Tsar Maiden from THE LITTLE HUMPBACKED HORSE - documented in this undated photocard.

as for virtual vs. literal rank within in the ballet troupe of the Bolshoi Theater, i can't say where Baldina's fell namewise. certainly the roles given in Zarubin and shown in this card are leading ones, whether or not the roster-rank for Baladina was 'ballerina' or not, i cannot say.

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If her repertoire included Aurora, wouldn't that qualify her as a ballerina? (Honest question).

It is an interesting question you pose.

There can be quite a difference between dancers who perform ballerina roles and actual ballerinas for Baldina with her St. Petersburg training she would probably have stood out as having

a more refined style compared with her colleagues at the Bolshoi in those years she spent there which along with her highly talented husband's status ensured her getting leading roles.

It does depend who is measuring the status and the criteria being observed. If we talk about the ecole classique delineation of Danseuse Noble as equating with ballerina, many so called ballerinas of the past would perhaps, be excluded.

Today the title is generally obsolete except in the press. It was perhaps the power of the ballerina, especially the Prima Ballerina Assoluta, that brought about the title of Principal Dancer as an inclusive term for dancers who regularly perform leading roles which I think reflected an inclusivity of status within a company rather than the exclusivity of status of a ballerina or Prima Ballerina.

For those seriously interest in Academic Classical Ballet, who feel they know the criteria for a dancer being called a ballerina rather than a Principal Dancer also as matter of course perpetuate the term, but not everybody would set the same criteria for such a nomenclature.

I do not believe Alexandra Baldina was ever given the title of ballerina and every photograph I have seen of her she looks a demi-classical or even a demi-caractere dancer.

Ps

Miss Baldina appeared on Broadway in shows choreographed by her husband Theodore Kosloff and his brother Alexis.

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Moderator's note: Kai Davis, self-described "dedicated student of Mr. Long's," has asked us to post this on her behalf.

Since the age of 6 I trained at The Ruth Page Foundation School of Dance. When I became a teenager and began ditching school to take the 11:00 am ballet class with Larry Long, I knew I wanted to be a professional dancer. Being an African American, many of the teachers ignored my presence, one going as far as to tell me I would never make it as a ballerina. Larry was the only teacher at Ruth Page Foundation who believed in me. He moved me 2 levels ahead to be in his class every day. Larry taught amazing classes, that goes without saying, but for me, not only did he teach me how to dance. He taught me how to be an artist. He armed me with the knowledge of dance history, he prepared me for the difficulties I may face as a Black ballet dancer. He embraced my talents, pointed out my weakness and had a smack on the back and hug for me every day I saw him.

At the age of 17 I was offered a contract with Boston Ballet. I also danced with San Jose Ballet and Ballet British Columbia. Now retired, I teach ballet around the bay area. With every combination I create and every correction I give, Larry Long is in my thoughts. I miss him and owe my career to him.

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