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Miriam Pellman

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Miriam Pellman, an avid balletomane and volunteer for New York City Ballet and the School of American Ballet, died in New York on Monday morning. There will be a memorial service at the Riverside Memorial Chapel, Amsterdam Avenue at 76th St. on Friday, January 28, 2011 at 2 p.m.

This article in the NYTimes, with a photograph, captures her love of ballet, her intelligence and wit, and her ability to convey her enthusiasms to others.

Jennifer Dunning also interviewed her, when her husband Ed, was still alive. (I don't have a link for that article, published June 16, 1986," THE LIVES AND TIMES OF A COUPLE OF BALLETOMANES," but I do have the text. If anyone would like a copy, please PM me)

They were unique, now they are both missed.

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Miriam Pellman, an avid balletomane and volunteer for New York City Ballet and the School of American Ballet, died in New York on Monday morning. There will be a memorial service at the Riverside Memorial Chapel, Amsterdam Avenue at 76th St. on Friday, January 28, 2011 at 2 p.m.

This article in the NYTimes, with a photograph, captures her love of ballet, her intelligence and wit, and her ability to convey her enthusiasms to others.

Jennifer Dunning also interviewed her, when her husband Ed, was still alive. (I don't have a link for that article, published June 16, 1986," THE LIVES AND TIMES OF A COUPLE OF BALLETOMANES," but I do have the text. If anyone would like a copy, please PM me)

They were unique, now they are both missed.

:crying:

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Violin Concerto, here's the link to the Dunning article.

http://www.nytimes.c...llman%22&st=cse

My eye was caught by Dunning's characterization of "balletomanes":

... that curious species of men and women who see as much dance as possible and who go to sometimes extraordinary lengths to do so.
And then there's this:
Their love for the art led them to take classes in ballet and jazz dance j[in their fifties]. They read about dance and sometimes find it hard to sleep after special performances.

I love it. Does it ring a bell? It's good to know that there have been Miriam and Ed Pellmans in the lives of ballet companies and dancers. We need people like the Pellmans. Thanks to both of them for setting such a glorious example for the rest of us.

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Miriam was quite amazing. She was a docent for the company and would give short lectures on the fourth ring. She was handsome, short and vigorous, with an energy that seemed to spring from her interest in art and life.

For any regular at NYCB, she was a beloved part of the family - she'll be sorely missed.

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Yes, she will. The first time I met her, I called her Mrs. Pellman and she said "no one calls me that except my former students,call me Miriam." She was a rare dance goer who gloried in the past while being excited by what was in front of her that night and she loved discovering young dancers. I also remember that every year on the anniversary of her husband's death, she would put a note of remembrance in The Times with a quote from his favorite poem. A lovely lady.

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The quote she put in the times was from a Broadway song.... "Every Time we Say Goodbye" By Cole Porter.

Here's a section of the song, with the quote highlighted:

Every time we say goodbye

I die a little

Every time we say goodbye

I wonder why a little

Why the Godss above me

Who must be in the know

Think so little to me

They allow you to go

When you're near

there's such an air

of Spring about it

I can hear a lark somewhere

begin to sing about it

Theres no love song finer

But how strange the change

From major to minor

Every time we say goodbye

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It was always a great pleasure to see Miriam at a performance. She made you feel that you'd come to the right place. I'll miss her.

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I wonder if her collection of articles, information, notes and observations, which she discusses in one interview, will be donated to the Library of the Performing Arts or the ballet company. I am sure it is a treasure trove worthy of review and possible publication in some sort.

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I did not know Miriam, but it seems that it was her Balanchine birthday evening performance ticket that I was fortunate enough to purchase via ViolinConcerto's posts on BT. Now it feels like a privilege as well as good luck. It turned out that the front row center seat was the exact same spot (new chairs, but same position) that I sat in most weekends over 40 years ago!

To hear of her dedication in her years as a NYCB volunteer as I obtained the ticket was a definite plus. It was the story of a vibrant woman who loved the NYCB ballet and the building it called home - just as I did so long ago. That she was able to devote her life to serving them was a privilege and a labour of love for her. How I wish I had met her - better, known her! I am saddened at the passing of a woman I only knew for a couple of days by her essence and through descriptions of her and her passion for the ballet.

(I am quite sure tickets for the rest of her subscription this season are still available through ViolinConcerto.)

Available tickets

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SAB was Miriam's passion and cause - the mothers and students from two generations of dancers - probably before the present kids - will all remember her as long as they live. She was in charge of class visits at the end of her work there - as a volunteer, probably, but it was never clear, her position was quite official. Then they professionalized all of that and Miriam was older, much, at that point - and actually it's become much more impersonal at the school in all respects in the last few years. I'm sure she did other stuff at SAB before that. All of which went hand in hand with her following the company and ABT. She had a great eye for ballet and dancers.

She also had a wonderful fund of anecdotes - great stories, a little gossipy, just the thing, and all going back a generation of dancers. She remembered everyone when they were young: a dry sense of humor, but always with great good will. A loving heart, she was very affectionate within her boundaries. Above all she had no malice. Morally innocent. Always sat right up front, in the first row at the left side when she could at performances. About a year or two ago her balance started to go, she must have been pushing ninety. She was the best - another loss from a very unique generation, whose like we will not see again. Few left, more's the pity.

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In addition to the above, for many years she was one of the NYCB Volunteers who coordinated groups of NYCB supporters to afternoon rehearsals, usually from the first ring. She would caution each group to make sure no one made any noise, would give background information about the ballets (as mentioned earlier, she was full of anecdotes!) and "translate" what was happening on stage for anyone new to seeing rehearsals.

As one of the articles describes, she was an informed, enthusiastic and fun docent for the "Fourth Ring Society" talks before and during intermissions at many performances.

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When I had the opportunity to sit in the 3rd row recently for the Balanchine's Birthday SAB demonstration, I looked over at those front row center seats and thought to myself "WOW!!!... and Saturday Evenings... WOW!!! Whoever it was who had to give up that seat was giving up something huge in their life... " it makes perfect sense that a balletomane extroadinaire should have sat there... I hope the next subscriber to gain that choice seat gives back to the art as beautifully as Miriam did.

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