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Stage Names

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I've always been a bit surprised that Belton Evers changed his name to Erik Bruhn, which I would have thought (though admittedly I'm fairly ignorant about Danish names) was roughly the equivalent of John Smith or Mark Williams in England, i.e. very ordinary. When very young (dare I admit this?) I naively looked him up in the Copenhagen phone book and found a great many Erik Bruhns!

[ February 01, 2002: Message edited by: Helena ]

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I've often wondered why NYCB didn't make Patricia McBride change her name to avoid confusion with Pat - I wonder if they'd accept a Suzie Farrell or a Pete Martins these days? (What was the first PMcB like, by the way?)

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WHO was the first Pat McBride??? (blush) I think I missed her!

Re Erik Bruhn, I've never researched this, but I thought Belton Evers were his middle names. The Gruen biography says "Erik Belton Evers Bruhn". If he changed it, he did it as a child, because every reference I've seen to him in Danish books is under the name Bruhn. I've had discussions with Danish dancers of that era about other dancers who changed their names, and he has never been offered as an example. I believe (again, I write from memory without checking smile.gif ) that Evers was his father's name while Bruhn was his mother's; one may draw one's own conclusions from that. So there may have been a name change, not for stage reasons, when he was a child.

All these are fascinating, though. I wonder if there's a list of all the English and American dancers who had to change their names to Russian ones during the Ballets Russes era?

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Alexandra,that would explain it. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Ballet - the old one - just says "Erik Bruhn (orig. Belton Evers)", and I had just believed that.

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Helena, I remember reading that, too. And it may well be correct; some people don't like a name change to be known. I have to call some people in Denmark this weekend to check a few facts, and I'll ask that one as well.

On Danish phone books, I've looked up almost every dancer there. There are so many people with similar names (there are 13 pages of H.C. Andersens!) that, as I'm sure you noticed, they also print the person's occupation so you can tell Lis Jeppesen, solodanserinde, from Lis Jeppesen, damens frisoer (women's haircutter, and the Danish is probably misspelled). Kirsten Simone is listed as "prima ballerina" and Niels Bjorn Larsen simply as "balletmaster". Everyone is listed, even if the phone number is unlisted. There will be a "secret number" where the phone number should be!

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I missed Pat McBride, too, but during her time in NYCB, she was "best friends" with Tanaquil Le Clercq. She was a speaker at the NYCB memorial for Tanny last May, when her name appeared on the program as Patricia McBride Lousada, thereby confusing many people in the audience. She was among the contributors, as Pat McBride Lousada, to "Remembering Tanaquil Le Clercq" in the Summer 2001 issue of Ballet Review. That section also contains two wonderful photographs of Tanny and Pat, in fashions of the 1940s. It also contains excerpts from four letters Le Clercq wrote to McBride from Paris in 1949.

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Kirsten Simone is listed as "prima ballerina"

So the next time someone askes, "what is a ballerina?" I'll refer them to the folks who make the Danish phone books. They certainly seem to know!

[ February 01, 2002: Message edited by: Manhattnik ]

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I think the person gets to fill out a form with a line that says "occupation." Simone had the rank of "først solodanser" (lit. first solo dancer) so "prima ballerina" is within her rights to say, I think, even if it does look a bit odd in a Danish phone book. (What's this Italian doing here?) It's nice, though, for someone who loves ballet to be able to look up a lot of names and find "ballet dancer" or "Royal ballet dancer" next to their names.

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if i remember correctly, patricia lousada is also lady lousada, and i seem to remember that she is married to the sainsbury's (grocery stores) fortune. she also writes very good cookbooks.

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Well the above cleared up some things for me. I had never heard of "pat mcbride" and on Thursday I saw her listed as being in the original Firebird. We figured it couldnt have been Patricia Mcbride as she would have been a very young girl in 1949. We actually thought it must have been a male dancer from that era since neither my wife or I had heard of her. Also, we were not as close to the stage as we normally are for the May tribute to Tanny, and we thought Patricia Mcbride looked very old up there. I guess it was for a good reason..... it wasn't her! smile.gif

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when i first started hearing of this 'other' pat mcbride in the era of the later, patricia mcbride, those who knew both dancers used to refer to them with some consistency, calling the first NYCB mcbride 'pat' or 'Pat McBride I'

or, referring the later mcbride as either 'patricia' or 'patty' but not to the best of my knowledge 'pat'.

maybe to prevent the confusion from continuing the I and II designations would be most helpful, the way it was used in Russia, where, for example, the famous anna pavlova became known as pavlova II, and the late, famous ballerina/S.A.B. teacher was known in the imperial theaters as danilova II.

and not to mix topics too messily, it bears noting that linda merrill had to change her name to merrill ashley when she joined NYCB, because there already was a linda merrill in the company. (and if mem. serves and if ironies can multiply, i don't think this linda merrill was born w/ her name, but changed it to that when she joined NYCB, some years before linda merrill ashley joined.)

[ February 04, 2002: Message edited by: rg ]

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Actually the girl who changed her name to Linda Merrill was just a bit ahead of Merrill Ashley, the real Linda Merrill and I believe did it out of some sort of spite. Merrill Ashley was very upset about it according to her book, which I can't find at the moment. I belive her name was something like Linda Rosenberg or Linda Rosenthal and was only one or two years ahead of Merrill Ashley at SAB and knew her and knew she would end up in the company as well.

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The confusion between the two Patricia McBrides becomes worse when you consider that the second, famous PM liked to be called "Pat" rather than the more commonly used "Patty," and it was the mark of an insider (or wannabee) to refer to her as Pat. Lincoln Kirstein, in one of his books, refers to Tanny's friend as "the first Pat McBride."

I'm not sure about the use of I, II, III to differentiate dancers. (Incidentally, the Internet Movie Database uses roman numerals to distinguish actors and other movie people with the same name.) I remember reading an early Russian review (written for an American audience) of Nadezhda Pavlova that referred to her as Pavlova II. That struck me as coy, since the two have different first names and the legendary Pavlova was a Maryinsky, not a Bolshoi, dancer.

And what about Darcey Bussell's real name--Marnie Crittle. Wouldn't look too good up there, would it? To be fair, she comes by her stage name honestly: Darcey is her middle name, and she was adopted by her stepfather, Dr. Bussell.

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I don't think Darcey Bussell sounds too wonderful either! Not what I'd choose for a stage name....

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