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Who Was Your First?


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33 replies to this topic

#1 sandik

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 02:51 PM

ballet company, of course (not something else!) A comment that Drew made in the Frederick Franklin obit thread made me think about this.

The National Ballet which Franklin directed and founded was my "first" ballet company--that is, the first I saw dance regularly live. The company profoundly shaped not just a big part of my childhood but, as I believe, my life. I stumbled out a few words to that effect once when I saw him at an NYCB performance (probably in the 90's).


Most of us here have seen multiple performances from multiple companies, but everyone started somewhere -- who was your first experience? Perhaps not limit it to ensembles, but first artists, first works... How did you get started in this world?

#2 Helene

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 03:19 PM

I don't know: it was some ballet thing on TV -- Ed Sullivan? Bell Telephone Hour? Firestone Theater? -- and I was hooked. I was probably no older than five. The same thing happened with figure skating and gymnastics on Wide World of Sports -- anything with pointed toes and/or moving to music caught my attention immediately -- and the NY Mets, but that was a different kettle of fish. (I grew up thinking that there was a 50/50 chance that a professional baseball player would catch a fly ball.)

My first live ballets were Natalia Makarova and Ivan Nagy in "Swan Lake" and "Giselle" at ABT. I remember being most impressed by the young Mariana Tcherkassky in the Act I Pas de Trois in "Swan Lake."

#3 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 03:43 PM

first live ballet- ruth page's nutcracker with guests violette verdy and helgi tomasson and then abt's swan lake with Eleanor d'antuono and royes Fernandez.

#4 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 04:40 PM

Hmm...some bad ballet footage of Alonso during her NYC days at a presentation a friend of my mom did when I was in elementary school...? From then I started visiting him at the library where he worked, and he would tell me about his wonderful ballet viewing years in Havana during the 60's. From then on, I was hooked, and it was not long before I was able to see a performance in Havana during a school vacation with my parents.

#5 angelica

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 04:50 PM

When I was a child my mother took me to the ballet often. It was mostly to New York City Ballet and sometimes American Ballet Theatre. We also went to modern and international dance companies such as Martha Graham, Jose Limon, the Moiseyev troupe, and an Israeli troupe, the name of which escapes me now. However, it was my first Swan Lake with Alicia Alonso at ABT that sealed the deal. I wanted to become a ballerina. That didn't fly in the community where I grew up. So what do you do when your mother dangles a carrot in front of you but won't let you eat it?

#6 Marga

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 06:55 PM

When I was a child my mother took me to the ballet often. It was mostly to New York City Ballet and sometimes American Ballet Theatre.


Reading your first two sentences, angelica, I had to check to make sure I had not written them! :) That's precisely my answer to the topic.

#7 leibling

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 07:25 PM

Jacksonville Civic Ballet, directed by Marta Jackson. I believe she may still be teaching in Jacksonville, Fl, but I am not sure. She also became my first teacher. I don't remember anything about the performances I saw except that the tutus were the most beautiful things I had ever seen...at four years old.

#8 sandik

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 07:38 PM

Growing up in Seattle, in the 60s and early 70s the company I saw most often was the Joffrey. They toured here frequently (there's nothing like a home town boy) and spent a couple of summers in residence locally, teaching and rehearsing. They danced the first Petipa I saw, the first Fokine, the first Balanchine, the first Ashton, the first modern dance I saw live -- the first all kinds of things. It was an incredible adventure in the theater.

#9 angelica

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 11:54 PM


When I was a child my mother took me to the ballet often. It was mostly to New York City Ballet and sometimes American Ballet Theatre.


Reading your first two sentences, angelica, I had to check to make sure I had not written them! Posted Image That's precisely my answer to the topic.


:)

#10 diane

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 03:57 AM

Mid to late 60s, New York City... which company would have done Nutcracker and Swan Lake? I think I saw those. I was not yet 10. I loved it.
I seem to remember that my brothers did not share my enthusiasm.
There was too much velvet, among other things. (the seats)

I think I probably saw a few other productions, though from far away and way-up-high.
We lived in NY for three years, leaving when I was 9.

-d-

#11 macnellie

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 06:36 AM

In the 50's in Atlanta. I think now i saw Apollo( the d'Amboise ? Most likely) on TV. I know it was a late Sunday morning tv show and i was mesmerized. I was maybe six. I started ballet classes soon after and it was Robert Barnett and Ann Burton in the Nutcracker with the Atlanta Ballet which brought me here!


#12 kbarber

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 07:16 AM

I saw Ashton's The Dream on TV at the age of 5 (I was living in England at the time) then London Festival Ballet's (now ENB) Nutcracker live, then I moved to Winnipeg and went to every Royal Winnipeg Ballet performance from the age of 9 on.

#13 abatt

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 07:19 AM

First live performance was at NYCB, Midsummer Night's Dream in the early 1990s. Jock Soto was Puck, Darci was Titania. I think Boal was Oberon. Helene Alexopolous was Helene.

First televised (that I recall) was the Balanchine Celebration on PBS.

#14 mimsyb

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 07:44 AM

Freddie and Chura. "Nutcracker" " Everything was beautiful at the ballet"

#15 Jack Reed

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 07:48 AM

In the 50s, when I was a teen-ager, I had liked some of the ballet music I had heard on records, and it seemed a natural extension of my explorations to take myself to have a look at the ballets themselves when they were brought to Chicago (where I lived then and still do).

I'm not sure which of a handful of memories is the absolute first one, but I enjoyed Rodeo, which must have been Ballet Theater's; I was charmed by the animated stage pictures of what must have been the BRdMC Petrouchka, from which I remember coming away wondering whether that was a well-trained animal or a dancer in a very good bear costume in the Fourth Tableaux (I had been to the circus, too, you see); and, last but not least, watching NYCB's Firebird get under way, I had been, first, fascinated by the alternating confidence and fear shown by Moncion's lucid (but of course silent) movement, and, then, stunned beyond belief - like the rest of the house - by Tallchief's spectacular entrance as the Firebird. It brought the house down, and I had to see it again, the following night.

But although there was some dancing in weekend variety shows on television, I don't remember any ballet there until I had been firmly hooked - by a performance of Rubies, by NYCB on tour at the Ravinia Festival in the mid 60s - and I had heard that there was some on PBS. I didn't even own a television until Merrill Brockway's "Dance in America" program gave me a good view of Les Patineurs and Billy the Kid at a friend's home, but that experience persuaded me to buy one. (And that improved my cooking: After I bought a television, I discovered Julia Child.)


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