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Walking past History - Ballet landmarks in NYC?


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#16 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 27 October 2002 - 01:02 PM

Niblos Theater, 537 Broadway: The theaters moved uptown from lower Broadway, but there is still dance in the area: Paul Taylor's company is at 552 Broadway (probably about a block to the north), the Limon Company is at 611 Broadway (on the corner of Broadway and Lafayette) - my company rehearsed there several years ago and also at 579 Broadway (Rebecca Kelly has a loft there.) Dance Space moved down below that site to 451 Broadway. Most of these sites have more to do with modern dance than ballet at present.

#17 atm711

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Posted 27 October 2002 - 04:25 PM

I think the High School of Needle Trades was in the West 20's (maybe 26 St??). I should remember, I was there for the first performance of 'Four Temperaments'. It was a barren, big barn of a place.

#18 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 27 October 2002 - 04:35 PM

That's what most school auditoriums are like. Sized to hold a school assembly, they're too big for a dance audience and the stages are usually of strange dimensions and without any real equipment. But that one held the first performances of Ballet Society!

ATM - can you please tell us what you recall about what theaters and where dance took place in the city? Which of them are still around, which have moved and which have closed?

#19 atm711

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Posted 27 October 2002 - 04:39 PM

There was also a well known Dance Bookshop run by Sally Kamin which was on 6th Avenue between 55 and 56 Street. Aside f rom the "Gotham Book Mart" down on 47 Street (which had a very limited selection) Sally Kamin's was the only bookshop in New York to have such a wide selection of Ballet books.

#20 atm711

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Posted 27 October 2002 - 04:49 PM

Leigh, most of the performances were either at the old Met or the City Center. I do remember a theatre at Columbus Circle called the Park Theater. It was renamed the International Theater for its new tenant. Ballet International, a Marquis de Cuevas Company. It had some good dancers, Viola Essen, Marie-Jeanne and Eglevsky. I saw it a few times because my teacher at the time, Edward Caton, did a couple of ballets for them. I am sure the wrecking ball hit it well before Donald Trump's new fiasco.

#21 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 27 October 2002 - 05:25 PM

I found the Adelphi Theater!!!!

http://www.ibdb.com/venue.asp?ID=1123

Talk about walking by history, I generally walk by its site at 152 West 54th Street every night on my way home from work.

Built as the Craig Theater (I assumed named for Gordon Craig, who was married (?) to Isadora Duncan) in 1928, it was demolished in 1970. Lots of dance history, not only the performances of the American Ballet, but also those of Martha Graham including Clytemnestra and Embattled Garden.

(Note - I haven't fact-checked any of this yet.)

#22 Mel Johnson

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Posted 27 October 2002 - 05:46 PM

You're right on that, Leigh. It fits the book research I was doing here on the D'Oyly Carte Opera performances of Gilbert and Sullivan. They were playing the Adelphi, while nearby, "The Hot Mikado" was playing the Martin Beck. This led to an exchange gag on the original script between the Mikado and Ko-Ko, trying to provide a cover story for Nanki-Poo.

Ko-Ko: He's gone abroad!

Mikado: Gone abroad? His address!

Ko-Ko: The Martin Beck!

Martyn Greene, the Ko-Ko in that exchange positively identifies the theater being played by the Savoy company as the Adelphi, and notes that the Adelphi is now (1962) the 54th St. Theater.

#23 Victoria Leigh

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Posted 27 October 2002 - 06:44 PM

And ABT performed at that theatre, the 54th Street Theatre, in 1962 or '63, not sure which.

#24 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 27 October 2002 - 06:53 PM

Do you know anything about the theater, Victoria?

#25 Victoria Leigh

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Posted 27 October 2002 - 06:57 PM

Nope, sorry Leigh, really don't remember anything about it except that I'm pretty sure it was actually 1961 and we premiered Etudes there. I was thinking 62 at first, but that's not right 'cause it was in my first season with the co. when we played there. But it was already called the 54th St. Theatre. I think it was the fall of that year, but I guess it could have been early '62. My memory is that we did that very soon after I started with the co.

#26 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 27 October 2002 - 08:51 PM

I walked by what I think is the site of the Adelphi on my way home tonight. If I'm right, it's now 1325 Seventh Avenue, but the entrance is halfway down the block on 54th street - it is right next to the Hilton Hotel and across the street from the Righa Royal.

If anyone recalls anything about that space, I'd be curious! Was it a large house? small? Good to dance in? Bad? Big backstage? Cramped? Good sightlines? Anything!

I think I'm next going to pay a visit to 225 West 24th Street when I get a moment. I bet if I called the principal I could look at the auditorium.

#27 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 28 October 2002 - 02:45 AM

i haven't been by there in a while, but how about the harkness house building, which had been shuttered up for a while the last time i saw it, on 75th street?

#28 Kyriakoula

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Posted 28 October 2002 - 06:31 AM

The "old" ABT studios were not where David Howard's or Robert Denvers' studios were. It was between Broadway and CPW and is still an empty lot. It was shocking to me that they tore the building down that the studios were in (the studio had not been there very long and it had been a major renovation) and then the lot has sat empty for so many years. I believe Millenium Partners own that lot. To me, the old Abt studios were on 57th street. I took from Pereyaslavic (sp), Swoboda and Danielion (sp) there. I also saw Carla Fracci rehearsing Giselle in a miniscule studio there.

#29 Estelle

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Posted 28 October 2002 - 01:28 PM

[Note: silly, I has missed the second page of the thread and was replying to Alexandra's post...]

Also having a map would make it easier for non-new yorkers to understand the discussion :)

By the way (sorry if it's getting a bit off-topic) I think it might be a bit interesting (even if somewhat morbid) to have some list of ballet-related cemeteries... A few years ago, the French magazine "Danser" had made an article with photographs of the graves of many ballet people buried in or near Paris. Are there some famous graves of ballet people in NYC? For example, is Balanchine's tomb there?

Perhaps we could even start an "online ballet graveyard" with scanned photos of tombs or urns... The only one I can offer is that of Isadora Duncan's urn at the Pere Lachaise (last spring my husband's friends organized a weird "bachelor's day" (like a bachelor party) for him which started near the urn of Georges Perec at the Pere Lachaise, and since he noticed Isadora Duncan's name not very far he took a photo of it).

#30 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 28 October 2002 - 01:51 PM

Estelle -

There are precious few cemeteries on the island of Manhattan; the ones left are quite old, and I think closed to new burials (but I could be wrong). Balanchine's funeral service was held at the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign at 75 East 93rd Street and he was buried, I think, in Sag Harbor, about a two hour drive to the east on Long Island.

[Again - this is just off the top of my head; I haven't fact-checked any of this yet.]


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