JMcN

Richard Cragun - 1944-2012

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It has been reported that Richard Cragun has passed away at the age of 66 in Rio.

Here is a Brazilian obituary: http://www.jb.com.br/cultura/noticias/2012/08/06/morre-no-rio-o-ex-bailarino-richard-cragun/

I was fortunate to see Richard Cragun dance a couple of times. It was his performace with Marcia Haydee in Onegin (guesting with ENB) on 26th May 1984 that converted me to watching ballet.

Condolences to his family and friends at this very sad time.

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My goodness.
Exactly my reaction to this news, Mme. Hermine. Like JMcN, I recall the excitement of his partnership with Haydee and his virile, go-for-broke dancing Cranko's ballets (Romeo and Juliet, Taming of the Shrew, Onegin, too), especially during Stuttgart Ballets regular visits to NYC..

http://www.hart-bras...rtballettsp.JPG

The photo below is from a German-language website (Aug. 6, 2012), announcing his death.

http://www.schwarzwa...normalized.jpeg

RIP for this marvelous man.
Yes indeed.

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I supered with Stuttgart Ballet when I was 18 or so in NYC and Philadelphia. I was mesmerized watching Haydee and Cragun in R and J especially. I would hide in the wings so I could watch them even though we were not allowed to.

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Very saddened by this news--actually rather surprised at how much. Something about his firmly American, strongly masculine onstage personality still comes through to me quite sharply after all these years.

Cragun was a crucial member of the group of artists that stamped the Stuttgart ballet indelibly on the imagination of the ballet world and a very exciting, virile dancer, whose partnership with Marcia Haydee was one of ballet's genuinely great partnerships. Their charisma (and, in my judgment, their charisma alone) made a lightweight work like Taming of the Shrew altogether worth watching.

Some of my youthful enthusiasm for the Stuttgart faded--and pretty quickly after the first time I saw them--but my enthusiasm and admiration for Cragun (as well as some of the company's other dancers--most especially Haydee) never did.

Anything else? Oh yes: Washington fans may remember two remarkable performances Cragun did with Gelsey Kirkland in the Baryshnikov Nutcracker. (At least I think it was two--there may have been more, but I remember attending two of them.) He set her free to be her utmost self...and it was fabulous to see. Hope on this occasion I can bend the no-gossip rule a bit: at one of those Nutcrackers I was told by a backstage acquaintance of Kirkland that at some point in rehearsal Cragun turned to her and said "I get it...you need space..." Whatever it was that happened at rehearsal, those were magical performances...

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Actually, Drew, I always considered Cragun to be the epitome of European ballet sexiness--extraordinary for a boy from Sacramento! But I can see what you mean, also. I remember him from a mid-80s PBS filming of Ruth Page's Fledermaus, in Joliet, IL. I was just a corps dog in the production, but I remember him making the effort to be nice to everyone--no big ego there, just loveliness. (In contrast to the Panovs, who were not particularly interested in mixing with the rabble!) So, so sad!

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Rosa, thank you. The R&J rehearsal scenes with Ballet de Santiago are especially wonderful. And the progression of photos with Haydee, from their youth to the present. It's hard for me to think of one without the other.

Mme. Hermine, I would have loved to see the rehearsals for THAT scene. I adore their physical comedy -- the quick switches of tempo and mood ... not to mention the pratfalls ("splat !!!"). tongue.png This is actually funny (unlike some performances of the play I've seen) and interesting to analyze in terms of timing and movement.

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Thank you for posting this, Rosa! It was lovely... I loved Richard's dancing. I'll never forget him in Taming of the Shrew... Incredible natural "ballon"... My brother reminded me he could execute perfect triple tours en l'air. So handsome.... Such a fine actor... He shall truly be missed. One of the greats....

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thank you so much for these memories!

What charisma! What soul!

-d-

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It has been reported that Richard Cragun has passed away at the age of 66 in Rio.

Here is a Brazilian obituary: http://www.jb.com.br...richard-cragun/

I was fortunate to see Richard Cragun dance a couple of times. It was his performace with Marcia Haydee in Onegin (guesting with ENB) on 26th May 1984 that converted me to watching ballet.

Condolences to his family and friends at this very sad time.

I am saddened to hear of this news as Mr. Cragun has left us at a comparatively young age.

I saw Mr. Cragun dance on a good number of occasions and like others, I think of the marvellous performances that this handsome man and his manly performances made him outstanding in his performing era.

With Marcia Haydee they were among the brightest stars of their time.

Judith Cruickshank has written a most fond obituary of Mr Cragun.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/2012/aug/10/richard-cragun?newsfeed=true

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Why were Richard Cragun and Marcia Haydee the first partnership to register on my consciousness after Nureyev & Fonteyn? Because they mattered, and they made it work. With some wonderful memories, and sadness at this news. RIP

PS. Thanks for sharing the above links.

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Very sad news. Interesting to see by certain of the obits that some matters are apparently still considered in some quarters to be Unmentionable.

A nice reminiscence by Toba Singer in the California Literary Review.

.....He gazed up at me with a new-found respect, and we plowed through Cranko—his habits, predilections, charms, precocious choreographic genius, and the sorrier parts, such as his untimely death, and the result that he bequeathed Cragun almost nothing of his repertoire, such that Ricky, in poor health, was living in straitened circumstances in Rio. He was thankful to be the titular artistic director of his ex-lover’s ballet studio, and for the occasional opportunity to coach Cranko works at Ballet de Santiago

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Very touching article. I hope that people read it right to the end, where the story of Cragun's papers and cartoons, and his hopes for placing them in a deposit library in San Francisco, has a bittersweet conclusion.

At the bottom, it's mentioned that Singer's interviews with both Cragun and Haydee will appear in the last two two quarterly issues of Dance International (for 2012). (DI is a Vancouver-based magazine with print and on-line editions.)

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