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Family ResearchRemembering Graham Usher


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#1 clawson

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Posted 26 December 2010 - 11:22 PM

I am a new member looking for stories and any history members may have on Graham Usher while he danced with Royal Ballet. Hoping to learn more of his life as a dancer,how he died and any memories that I may provide to my dad, Grahams cousin. Thank you.

#2 carbro

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Posted 27 December 2010 - 12:36 AM

Welcome, clawson, to BalletAlert. :tiphat:

I ran a search on "Graham Usher" and found several mentions. I cannot link search results, so you'll have to run your own. Our search engine is near the top of the screen on the right. You should click the gear-like icon to open the full search menu. You'll want to search Forums and ask to display results as posts, not topics.

Mostly, the results are simple mentions of him in the credits of various Royal Ballet films/videos. Mel Johnson praised your cousin as a favorite Bluebird in Sleeping Beauty here, and on that same thread, sharongordon mentioned having met him when she was a child. That was back in 2005, and she has only two posts to her credit, both on that topic. I do not know whether she even reads this forum any more.

Meanwhile, I hope other BalletAlertniks will contribute their own impressions and memories.

Even though it was many years ago, I am sorry for the premature death of your relative.

#3 clawson

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Posted 28 December 2010 - 10:14 AM

Thank you so much for your response and for accepting my membership. I received a post from The Royal Opera House on Christmas Eve that included professional photos of Graham. I am thrilled to have them and to share them with my family. I, too, hope your members might share any information they may have. I will continue to search your site frequently.

Thank you again,
Chrisann Lawson

#4 rg

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Posted 28 December 2010 - 10:58 AM

the NY Public Library has the following documents of Graham Usher on film.
they are viewable on the premises of the library at Lincoln Center.
they cannot be loaned out.
f.y.i.

An evening with the Royal Ballet / British Home Entertainment Ltd. in association with the Royal Opera House Covent Garden ; produced by Anthony Havelock-Allan. Kultur, c1963.(87 min.) : sd., col.
Filmed at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London, 1963, under the supervision of Frederick Ashton, assisted by Danced by the Royal Ballet.
Music performed by the Orchestra of The Royal Opera House Covent Garden, conducted by John Lanchbery.
Le corsaire [pas de deux] / film directed by Anthony Havelock-Allan ; choreography, Rudolf Nureyev ; music, Riccardo Drigo ; danced by Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev.
La valse / choreography, Frederick Ashton ; music, Maurice Ravel ; danced by the Royal Ballet.
Aurora's wedding (Act III of The sleeping beauty) / film directed by Anthony Asquith ; choreography, Nikolai Sergeev after Marius Petipa ; music, Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky ; sets and costumes, Oliver Messel ; cast: Fonteyn (Princess Aurora) and David Blair (Florimund); Graham Usher, Merle Park, Georgina Parkinson (Prince Florestan & his sisters); Antoinette Sibley, Brian Shaw (Bluebirds); Douglas Steuart (Puss-in-Boots) & Virginia Wakelyn (White cat); Ann Howard (Red Riding Hood) & Ronald Plaisted (Wolf); Alexander Grant, Keith Milland, Lawrence Ruffell (Three Ivans); Leslie Edwards (Cattalabutte); Ray Powell (Carabosse); Deanne Bergsma (Lilac fairy); Derek Rencher & Gerd Larsen (King Florestan & his queen).
Les sylphides / film directed by Asquith ; choreography, Serge Grigoriev and Lubov Tchernicheva after Mikhail Fokin ; music, Chopin, arr. by Ray Douglas ; danced by Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev, with Merle Park (valse), Annette Page (mazurka), and members of the Royal Ballet

A golden hour from the Royal Opera House Covent Garden [videorecording] / Polygram Television ; an ATV production ; produced by Bill Ward. U.K. : Associated TeleVision Ltd., c1963. (77 min.) : sd., b&wRecorded in performance at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London, England. Telecast on February 9, 1964.
Design, Tom Lingwood.
Host: Sir David Webster.
Music played by the orchestra of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, conducted by Carlo Felice Cillario.
Concert of music and dance.
Lohengrin. Prelude to Act III (ca. 3 min.) / music, Richard Wagner.
Tosca. "Recondita armonia" and "E lucevan le stelle" (ca. 7 min.) / music, Giacomo Puccini ; libretto, Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica ; sung by Renato Cioni.
Laurencia. Pas de six (ca. 18 min.) / choreography, Rudolf Nureyev after Vakhtang Chabukiani ; music, Aleksandr Krein ; danced by Rudolf Nureyev and members of the Royal Ballet: Nadia Nerina, Merle Park, Antoinette Sibley, Christopher Gable, Graham Usher.
Tosca. Act II (ca. 49 min.) / music, Giacomo Puccini ; libretto, Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica ; based on the play by Victorien Sardou ; new production by Franco Zeffirelli ; scenery, Renzo Mongiardino ; costumes, Marcel Escoffier ; lighting, Franco Zeffirelli and William Bundy ; characters (in order of appearance): Tito Gobbi (Baron Scarpia), Dennis Wicks (Sciarrone), Robert Bowman (Spoletta), Renato Cioni (Mario Cavaradossi), Maria Callas (Floria Tosca) ; with a section of the Covent Garden Opera Chorus ; chorus master, Douglas Robinson.

Ballet for all, pt. 5 [1970] 28 min. sd. b&w.
Subtitle: The beginnings of today. Program V of a seven-part series presented by Thames Television, London. Producer: Marjory Ruse. Director: Nicholas Ferguson. Written by Peter Brinson. Narrated by David Blair.
SUMMARY; Discusses the influence of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, Mikhail Fokin, and the transition from Russian classical style to the art of the 20th century. The Waltz pas de deux from Fokin's Les sylphides (danced by Shirley Grahame and Graham Usher) is contrasted in style with portions of pas de deux from Swan lake, Act II, and The sleeping beauty.Usher also performs the male solo from Les sylphides.
Two excerpts from Petrouchka are shown: the opening dance for the puppets and the complete Moor's cell scene (danced by Usher and Grahame, with Peter Clegg as the Blackamoor).Pavlova's career and influence are discussed and she is shown in portions of two solos: La nuit, and The dying swan (with orchestra dubbed later).

#5 clawson

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Posted 28 December 2010 - 01:47 PM

Thank you for the information. I was just in NY a week ago. I will return in the new year and will visit the Lincoln Center and view the many items you have referenced. Thank you rg, for taking the time to post them for me. I greatly appreciate it.
Chrisann

#6 rg

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Posted 28 December 2010 - 02:24 PM

there are a few other items as well, silent, amateur films.
if you search: "graham usher film" you should find them in the cat. w/ the proper call nos. etc.
good luck.

#7 clawson

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Posted 28 December 2010 - 03:08 PM

Thank you. Did you by chance ever know Graham?

#8 rg

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Posted 28 December 2010 - 03:59 PM

now, his day was before my balletgoing years.
have you tried asking The Dancing Times if anyone there was acquainted with him?
i can ask the one of two British emigres who are now here who might have known G.U.
if i learn anything i'll let you know.

#9 clawson

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Posted 28 December 2010 - 04:31 PM

Thank you for your very kind offer to check with your local associates and your suggestion to check with The Dancing Times. I will do so.

Many thanks again.

#10 Richka

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 09:04 PM

Thank you. Did you by chance ever know Graham?


Newly arrived in London, my very first visit to Covent Garden was "Coppelia" with Graham Usher, and I believe Merle Park as Swanilda. I sat in a side box and was thrilled; not only to be in London and at Covent Garden but seeing my first "Coppelia". Ten years later, as choreologist for the Harkness Ballet in New York, Graham was guest teaching there and we became acquainted.
Oddly enough, he was about to teach the male variation from "Coppelia" but couldn't remember a certain sequence of steps in the variation and asked me to show them to him, which I did. We became good friends while he was in New York and I was saddened to hear of his death not too long after. More later.

#11 clawson

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 12:11 AM

Thank you. I will look forward to reading more of your rememberances.

#12 handbrake

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 01:51 PM

Hallo Chrisann

My first attempt to respond to your request for information on Graham appears not to have been successful so I will try again.

I worked with the Royal Ballet Touring Company (RBTC) when Graham returned to dance after his accident. I was fortunate to look after many of the top male dancers including David Wall, Donald Macleary, David Clarke, Desmond Kelly, Kerrison Cooke, as well as guests such as Nureyev, Richard Cragun, Attilio Labis, and remember Graham as being amongst the best of the best. I am not qualified to offer an opinion of his technical abilities but my then wife who was a contemporary of Graham's from student days confirmed the highly held view of his talent and technique. I understand that on one overseas tour and at the height of his career, he gave a performance of the Bluebird solo from Sleeping Beauty that was so good the audience gave him a standing performance. Additionally they demanded an encore.

Jeffrey Taylor the Sunday Times Dance critic mentions Graham in an article in his review of the film "Black Swan - http://www.ballet.co...k_swan_0111.htm and I can only agree whole heartedly with his sentiments.

If I can help with any more details of Graham's career with RBTC, please let me know



#13 Helene

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 01:56 PM

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