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George Zoritch


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#16 Paul Parish

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 11:51 PM

Beautiful dancer!

#17 Richka

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Posted 13 November 2009 - 08:44 PM

Thank you so much, Richka, for sharing this with us. Mr. Zoritch was very fortunate that you were his friend. May he rest in peace...


Last evening (November 12) I held a meeting at my home for some of his former students and some from our Tucson dance community, to plan a memorial for George Zoritch. The when, where and how. We decided on December 6th and it will be held in the studio here at the University where he taught for 14 years. This memorial gathering will start at 2 PM. ALL are invited.

#18 Richka

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Posted 15 November 2009 - 08:37 PM

[size=4]A memorial gathering will take place for George Zoritch on December 6th. It will be held in the studio that he taught in for 14 years at the University of Arizona in Tucson. It will be at 2 PM (Arizona time) and last until 5 PM.
The studio is part of the Dance Department in the Ina Gittings building on campus. People from the Tucson dance community and those flying in from all parts. ALL are invited![/size]

#19 Gina Ness

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 12:23 AM

Thank you very much Richka for keeping us all posted on the memorial for Mr. George Zoritch. It certainly seems that he was very loved by his Tucson dance community as well as by all his many fans over the years...I saw him dance when I was perhaps nine or ten years old at the SF Opera House when he was touring with Ballet Russe. The first teacher of my youth danced with this company, so we were very familiar with the ballets and the dancers of the Ballet Russe. I remember thinking at the time that I was seeing a really famous person! My memory (it was a long time ago and I was quite young!) tells me that he danced with Nina Novak...

#20 Dale

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 07:24 AM

Probably one of the most physically beautiful dancers. Too young to have seen him dance but found him very fascinating in his memoir and the Ballet Russe film. I'd love to see some of the Hollywood films he did.

#21 Richka

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 04:53 PM

Thank you very much Richka for keeping us all posted on the memorial for Mr. George Zoritch. It certainly seems that he was very loved by his Tucson dance community as well as by all his many fans over the years...I saw him dance when I was perhaps nine or ten years old at the SF Opera House when he was touring with Ballet Russe. The first teacher of my youth danced with this company, so we were very familiar with the ballets and the dancers of the Ballet Russe. I remember thinking at the time that I was seeing a really famous person! My memory (it was a long time ago and I was quite young!) tells me that he danced with Nina Novak...


You are most welcome. It is my priviledge to honor his memory. He lived a very long and interesting life.
You were indeed fortunate, even as a child, to have seen him on the stage and the memory lasts. It was very likely Nina Novak that he danced with but he danced with so many ballerinas. He so often told me about Tamara Toumanova who he idolized. He was so broken hearted when she passed away.
I never saw him on the stage in my youth, of even the Ballet Russe itself. I only saw him dance in films. The ballet scene in "Escape Me Never" was the first, where he danced with Mlada Mladova. He gave me the costume design from Warner Bros for the costume he wore in "Night And Day" starring Gary Grant, Alexis Smith. I also have a photo of him talking with Errol Flynn. These and a collage of photos by another friend will be on display at the memorial celebration. He was always telling me and showing me how the arms of the "Spectre de la Rose" should be danced as he didn't like any of the recent interpretations. The Spectre music will be playing as well as L'apres midi d'un Faune, another of his favorite roles.

#22 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 05:31 PM

Richka..it is a true labor of love what you're doing... :o

#23 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 11:56 PM

This is a clip from an homage paid to the Ballet Russe men, which shows George in a wheelchair. At the very end there's a moment where, at a curtain call, he salutes the audience using the Spectre's arm movements...It is quite lovely... :o



#24 leonid17

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Posted 18 November 2009 - 01:36 AM

This is a clip from an homage paid to the Ballet Russe men, which shows George in a wheelchair. At the very end there's a moment where, at a curtain call, he salutes the audience using the Spectre's arm movements...It is quite lovely... :o


Thank you for posting this Christian. You are right, "It is quite lovely..." I was also struck by the warmth of his smile and the light in his eyes.

#25 Gina Ness

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Posted 18 November 2009 - 10:55 AM

That was lovely! Thank you, Christian...I see my friend, as well. He is Marc Platt.

#26 Helene

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Posted 18 November 2009 - 06:33 PM

Marc Platt was a very impressive presence in the "Ballets Russes" film.

#27 Arizona Native

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 12:36 AM

While not a dance major, I was fortunate to be allowed to take those classes from him at the University of Arizona. Mr. Zoritch was beloved by his students not least because of his courtesy and gentlemanly behavior. One morning, following a student performance, he addressed our class: "I was a professional dancer, and I am not as critical as most of *you.*" He went on to say that the things he had overheard the students say about one another's performances were far too harsh; in the future, he expected them to look for the positive and support one another's efforts and successes. Not a bad lesson, for dance and life.

Around that same time, I came across an old article describing Mr. Zoritch as "the Most Beautiful Man in the World." I couldn't resist making a copy of the article and sneaking it onto his desk with a cupcake.

He had a wonderful way with a phrase, and a great sense of humor. At the memorial service there will no doubt be many great stories.

#28 bart

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 03:51 AM

Around that same time, I came across an old article describing Mr. Zoritch as "the Most Beautiful Man in the World." I couldn't resist making a copy of the article and sneaking it onto his desk with a cupcake.

Arizona Native, you've made me curious. How did Mr. Zoritch respond to the article? And to the cupcake? :angry2:

#29 Arizona Native

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 11:00 PM

Ah -- I hope he smiled at the article and ate the cupcake! But I do not know, as it was an anonymous act of admiration.

The Tucson paper obit, which seems to have a new link, has a charming picture of him in stylized cowboy outfit: http://www.legacy.co...p;pid=136270410. The comments are beautiful, with remarks from important figures in the development of Arizona dance education, including Frances Cohen, Sandra Noll Hammond, and John Wilson. I believe Ms. Cohen began the University of Arizona dance department, and Mr. Wilson furthered developed it, bringing particular recognition to the modern program. Sandra Noll Hammond was a long-time ballet faculty member and author.

As noted earlier on the board, Mr. Zoritch died after a fall. Ms. Hammond quotes her daughter as suggesting that it was perhaps "a fall into heaven."

#30 Richka

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 06:52 AM

Thank you very much Richka for keeping us all posted on the memorial for Mr. George Zoritch. It certainly seems that he was very loved by his Tucson dance community as well as by all his many fans over the years...I saw him dance when I was perhaps nine or ten years old at the SF Opera House when he was touring with Ballet Russe. The first teacher of my youth danced with this company, so we were very familiar with the ballets and the dancers of the Ballet Russe. I remember thinking at the time that I was seeing a really famous person! My memory (it was a long time ago and I was quite young!) tells me that he danced with Nina Novak...


The memorial I arranged happened last Sunday. Sadly, the video only produced a blank tape and nobody took pictures. I wrote a report and so here I am glad to copy what I had written. People came from near and far.

December 6th 2009. The memorial celebration for George Zoritch was held in the studio where he taught for 14 years at the University of Arizona, a little over a month after his death on November 1st.
Close to 75 people arrived as The Prelude to “Afternoon of a Faun” was playing.
Among the speakers were Richard Holden (organizer of the event), Phil Sharper (master of ceremonies) Rochelle Zide and Howard Sayette (former dancers with Ballets Russes) ), Douglas Turnbaugh (a producer of the documentary film, Les Ballets Russes) and Norman Walker (a modern choreographer).
Tributes and Messages of condolence from Frederic Franklin, Mlada Mladova, Nina Novak, Yuri Grigorovitch, Vladimir Vasiliev, Michael Lavrovsky, Andrei Konkin, Valery Kosarukov, Taina Elg and others were read.
Beside the speaker’s table was a beautiful bouquet of roses, reminiscent of Zoritch’s signature dance, “Le Spectre de la Rose”.
Interspersed among the memories were DVDs projected on a giant screen. First was a ballet from the film “Escape Me Never” with Zoritch and Mlada Mladova. Zoritch was then 29. Richard Holden pointed out that this was the first glimpse of a male ballet dancer that he saw as a youngster of 14 and which inspired him to become a dancer himself.
An endearing scene from the film “Ballets Russes” of Zoritch and Natalia Krasovska, both then in their 80s, recalling a pas de deux from “Giselle”.
There was a slide show done on Zoritch’s 90th birthday celebration presented by Kasem Sedigh and a
delightful film of a massive tribute to Zoritch by the University Dance Dept in 2007.
The closing music was appropriately, ‘Le Spectre de la Rose”.
Richard Holden


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