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Marc Wildespin off from discussion of Walter Gore


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#1 Paul Parish

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 08:44 PM

One of the posts in the Walter Gore thread touched on Mark Wilde glancingly thus:
".... [he] intimated oddly that he was committed to making sandwiches commercially. I remain hopeful this was an in-joke that still escapes me but is remembered. His name was, I seem to believe, a Mark Wild. This was a bit ago."

Let me start a thread about Wilde, since he was an important Bay Area dance figure in hte 70s and maybe others will be able to add to this -- Gina, maybe, and others.

Bay Area balletomanes will be grateful for the work of Marc Wilde, who was associated with the Pacific Ballet of San Francisco and with Oakland Ballet. He choreographed a sensationally successful version of Ravel's "Bolero" which Oakland Ballet danced frequently as the finale to an evening's dances. I've seen it many times, I always loved it.

Bolero (1974) is kind of post-mod Etudes/Grand Pas Classique designed to display the classical technique of the whole company. It's set on a bare stage with barres in place, with the back walls showing, a step-ladder that reaches into the flies, and trees of lights in plain view. The ballet proceeds like Etudes from academic exercises to moves of increasing complexity and difficulty, with the rising excitement of Ravel's music to rachet-up the levels of challenge to the truly formidable. Beautifully constructed, clear, honest, wonderful ballet. The dancers used to perform it in practice clothes, which let the accuracy of their placement, their finesse in transitions, and the musicality of their dancing create the transformation of them from Oaklanders (black, white, Asian, and of all body-types) into noble, god-like ballet-stars.

The ballet opened with and built back up to large group movements, but the heart of it was a string of variations that showed you not only what these dancers could do but who (and how stage-worthy) they were: I'll never forget Michael Lowe, Joy Gim, Carolyn Goto, Susan Taylor, Mario Alonzo, their images are still so vivid. As he music built to its hysterical finale, they just all came came at us kicking and turning like in a Balanchine finale. I have never seen a more appropriate setting of that music -- including Nijinska's, which entered the rep 21 years later.


It was a sensationally effective piece for the company -- it made the whole city proud of them, and it was easy to tour in both senses, since audiences everywhere loved it and them, and all the costumes could go into a suitcase or two. It was re-costumed later in bright-colored unitards, which also worked.

WIlliam Huck's "Oakland Ballet: the first 25 years" lists 8 ballets by Mark Wilde in Oakland's rep, ranging from Concerto Grosso #1 in G to Brahms Intermezzi, La Valse, Afternoon of a Faun, Jazziana, The Sirens, and Concert Waltzes (with Raoul Pause).

#2 Gina Ness

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 10:18 PM

Marc Wilde was one of my most influential teachers. I had the honor to work with him in the Marc Wilde Ballet when I was sixteen/seventeen. I was the first to dance his "Afternoon of a Faun" that was in the rep of Oakland Ballet for many years. I was actually performing with his company while a scholarship student at SFB. Got in a bit of trouble when the reviews came out! I got around it because I attended Marc's afternoon classes and rehearsals for high school credit! During this time, he also created the first "rock" ballet "Structures" (1967) using the music of Jefferson Airplane among others. I worked again with him at around age twenty (1971) when he worked with Alan Howard's Pacific Ballet where I danced before I rejoined SFB as a full company member in 1972. He created his ballet "To Love Somebody" then which featured the music and voice of Roberta Flack. This work, which incorporated film, was very avant-garde and the audience loved it. Marc was one of the most talented choreographers I have ever had the privilege to work with. He remained a friend throughout my life until he passed in the early part of the first decade of the new century.

#3 Paul Parish

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 10:34 PM

Gina, thank you.

And since you know, would you please describe Wilde's "Afternoon of a Faun" a little bit? I've seen it mentioned many times, but don't know what the movement was like at all.... How many dancers? costumes? WHo was/were your partner(s)? How did the faun move? I'd love to know.

#4 Gina Ness

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 11:45 PM

http://im1.shutterfl.../rx=720/ry=480/

Here I am at sixteen with Edward Smyth in Marc Wilde's "Afternoon of a Faun" 1967...

Marc used the imagery and meaning of the scarf like Nijinsky's version... It is a pas de deux for a young man and woman who have a sexual awakening in the dance. The young man holds and plays with the scarf in her absence as he wants to hold and play with her... The scarf was used throughout the pas de deux making patterns, entwining, spinning in and out of it... Gorgeous choreography, beautiful to dance, incredibly musical... One of the most wonderful and exciting pas de deux I ever had the good fortune to dance...

#5 Helene

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 12:04 AM

That's a gorgeous photo -- thank you so much for posting the link!

#6 Sr. Lukas

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 06:59 AM

Thank You Mlle. Gina, Mssr Paul,

What a delightful and warming thread of pictorial and personal memories. I have no doubt that we are all treasuring these and those that ensue from our own branches of associated memories. Mssr Wilde seems alive and vibrant because of the vitality of his works and living that has been shared. A fine tribute. A shame to me that none of this was evident at our meeting.

When we met, Mssr Wilde did not mention Raoul Pause. Sad, that lost moment. Raoul Pause was a master of danse,and the joy of danse, that I knew from a company aeons past. The name will float to the top soonest, I trust. I remember the work of the concept "Plastique" danse, at his peculiar studios in Oakland that I visited that were filled to the brim with students of all levels sharing. Here it is, the company..Pavley et Oukrainsky Ballet. Knew I could bring it forth without peering through dust. I also remember Ballet Celeste, or so I believe. The Directress, Mmme Lanova had been with one of the evocations of the Ballet Russe and was there when I did the bonking bit. I saw the Ballet Celeste Company in Monterey, California, when I was at the language school. There was surely some relationship to the services that she enjoyed, I believe, because the company breakfasted and dined with us at the school's mess.

#7 Gina Ness

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 10:38 PM

Hello, Sr. Lukas... Well, I don't know how you might expect to gather all that information at one meeting.

#8 Sr. Lukas

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Posted 30 July 2011 - 06:12 PM

Hello Mlle Gina,
Bless you for your grace in letting me pass as excused for having missed that real life "thread" when meeting M. Wilde. His impact upon your life and art is clearly dear and impressive to witness, vicariously and from this distance in time. Thank you for sharing.

I now choose to believe that M. Wilde was quite rightly dismissing the event and perhaps not just me alone with the sandwich thing. It was done so well by him that though I missed the full humour at the moment, the theatrical meter as he employed it ensured that I remembered it alone from the rest of the evening's proceedings and folks for these perhaps thirty years.

Did you also, perhaps, know or work with Raoul Pause?

#9 Richka

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Posted 31 July 2011 - 08:15 AM

Thank You Mlle. Gina, Mssr Paul,

What a delightful and warming thread of pictorial and personal memories. I have no doubt that we are all treasuring these and those that ensue from our own branches of associated memories. Mssr Wilde seems alive and vibrant because of the vitality of his works and living that has been shared. A fine tribute. A shame to me that none of this was evident at our meeting.

When we met, Mssr Wilde did not mention Raoul Pause. Sad, that lost moment. Raoul Pause was a master of danse,and the joy of danse, that I knew from a company aeons past. The name will float to the top soonest, I trust. I remember the work of the concept "Plastique" danse, at his peculiar studios in Oakland that I visited that were filled to the brim with students of all levels sharing. Here it is, the company..Pavley et Oukrainsky Ballet. Knew I could bring it forth without peering through dust. I also remember Ballet Celeste, or so I believe. The Directress, Mmme Lanova had been with one of the evocations of the Ballet Russe and was there when I did the bonking bit. I saw the Ballet Celeste Company in Monterey, California, when I was at the language school. There was surely some relationship to the services that she enjoyed, I believe, because the company breakfasted and dined with us at the school's mess.



#10 Richka

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Posted 31 July 2011 - 09:43 AM

Sr. Lucas, Hello,
In reading your posts I see mentioned the name of Raoul Pause. During my youth as a dance student in NYC, I remember hearing that name mentioned a few times but knew nothing about him, though now I am curious.
Two other names you mention I am more familiar with; Pavley and Oukrainsky. Back in those days of youth I became acquainted with a friend of a friend who was probably then in his 60s and had actually danced with the Pavley/Oukrainsky company in his own youth, well before I was born. The company, Chicago based, apparently toured vaudeville circuits then and he took joy in showing me pictures of himself on stage at the Palace Theater as a corps dancer in various exotic ballets. He was also a friend of Lisan Kaye, another former Pavley/Oukrainsky dancer who ended up teaching in Carnegie Hall.
The Pavely/Oukrainsky Ballet always fascinated me and I always wanted to know more about it, especially the bizarre life and death of Andreas Pavley. What kind of a dancer was he? Why is he not mentioned in the dance history books?
Imagine my surprise when, not too long ago, i came across a book written by Arthur Corey, called Danse Macabre. Corey had danced with the company as well and It must be a rare book because it is a limited edition of 500 copies, boxed, and autographed by Corey himself. I found it in an odd bookstore. I already knew of Arthur Corey because he had, oddly enough, written books on Christian Science which, having grown up in Christian Science myself, was familiar with.
His book is the Life And Death of Andres Pavley. But this incredible life of Andreas Pavley is scarely known. The many pictures of him and the ballets he danced in were highly mixed with the eoticism of that era, Was he, then, so remarkable? He was certainly celebrated during the 20s, if not for his dancing then for his bizarre, mysterious death.


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