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Update Needed: Who are the Great Ballerinas of Today?


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#1 piccolo

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Posted 16 August 2001 - 03:28 PM

I have a wonderful book simply entitled "Ballerina" which is full of two-page spreads all about the most famous ballerinas starting with Anna Pavlova and ending with such "Rising Stars" as Merrill Ashley. I really think this book should be updated. Who are all the wonderful ballerinas from all of the international companies? Let's start where they left off... :P

[ 08-20-2001: Message edited by: alexandra ]

#2 Alexandra

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Posted 17 August 2001 - 09:11 AM

No one can think of any ballerinas after Merrill Ashley?????

#3 Dale

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Posted 17 August 2001 - 02:22 PM

I have this book. It came out in the early 80s and the writer [Sarah Monte--I can't spell it off the top of my head, help here anyone :P] also did one on famous ballet partnerships called "Pas de Deux."

The main section did stop with Ashley but then it was followed with a small chapter on up-and-comers, including Leslie Browne (Alexandra don't choke), Kyra Nichols and N Pavlova. It's one of my favorite books. Nice pictures. Unfortunately, I bought my copy at a library sale and someone drew a mustache on my absolute favorite -- Suzanne Farrell!!

If I were continueing the book I'd have put Nichols in the "ballerina" catagory and then add Darci Kistler to finish up the NYCB women. The book, written before the fall of the Soviet Union, really omits or came before many top Russian dancers, I add Kolpokova, Lopatkina, Nina A, Sylvie G, Viviana Durante and Darcey Bussell. Plus some of the French dancers whom recently retired -- Lourdes, Platel -- and Gueran. Maybe I'd add Kent, using what seems to be the book's criteria. And some Canadian dancers -- Evelyn Hart. I think Karen Kain is in the book, but if she's not I'd add her, as well as Patricia Barker. I'm sure I'm leaving out quite a bit.... (and, of course, misspelling a ton of names, sorry).

#4 piccolo

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Posted 20 August 2001 - 10:01 AM

Thanks for the input, Dale. Yes, any book that tries to pick "the best" of anything is going to run into problems but I thought it might be fun to think about it!

#5 Alexandra

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Posted 20 August 2001 - 11:16 AM

Piccolo, I think it would be fun to think about, and I've taken the liberty of editing your original subject line -- people might have missed it, thinking you were seeking information on the book.

I'll put the question this way -- and piccolo, please feel free to amend it, since this is your thread :P -- you are asked to update this book, and told you can only add SIX ballerinas who began their careers in the late 1970s or after. Really truly six. Not twelve, leaving it up to the editor (who has terrible taste and will, of course, pick the six you really don't like but put in just to be fair).

#6 Diana L

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Posted 20 August 2001 - 03:24 PM

I'd add Larissa Lezhnina, Tina LeBlanc, Darcey Bussell, Wendy Whelan, Elizabeth Loscavio and Julie Kent.
I've never seen the book, did they list many dancers?

#7 Alina

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Posted 20 August 2001 - 08:53 PM

There is a lovely, rather unknown young woman dancing with Boston Ballet named Larissa Ponomarenko. Sorry more peple don't see her, she is a true and special ballerina.

#8 glebb

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Posted 20 August 2001 - 09:07 PM

I was recently working in the Boston Ballet studios with Boston Ballet dancers. I noticed and mentioned to the ballet master in chief, that the only time the company was quiet and totally focused on the business on the dance floor was when Larissa was dancing.

Ms. Ponomarenko is lovely to work with and to watch.

#9 bijoux

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Posted 20 August 2001 - 09:55 PM

I completely agree.Larissa is a true gem of a ballerina and she is sooooo versitile.There are many "ballerinas"who are wonderful in the classics and them they look really out of place in contemporary or Balanchine works,but she seems to be able to do it all.It is wonderful.When I go to see the ballet and see that she is dancing,I know it is going to be a first rate performance on her part.It's great that she was mentioned because those kids in Boston are talented.

Originally posted by Alina:
There is a lovely, rather unknown young woman dancing with Boston Ballet named Larissa Ponomarenko. Sorry more peple don't see her, she is a true and special ballerina.



#10 piccolo

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Posted 21 August 2001 - 10:37 AM

Alexandra, I have no problem with you amending the subject line. (Especially considering the replies it seems to have generated!)

Not knowing many of the dancers from other companies, I'll go with these six: Julie Kent, Darcey Bussell, Sylvie Guillem, Susan Jaffe, Heather Watts, and Yoko Morishita. (Alternate: Muriel Maffre)

#11 Melissa

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Posted 21 August 2001 - 11:08 AM

I would add one of my all-time favorites: Alessandra Ferri.

#12 Drew

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Posted 24 August 2001 - 11:25 PM

Since the late 70's? if I assume Kirkland, Makarova, and Semenyaka are already in the book (the very first three I'd add if they are not)...and sticking to ballerinas I've had a chance to see live in at least two substantive roles: Bussell, Guillem, Kistler (nothing new there...), Assymulratova, Vishneva, and Ringer...

I'd be willing to trade one of the above for Whelan, and there are a few other names knocking about my head -- even some dancers I've loved more than one or two of those named -- but they've earned their chapters and, anyway, I'm trying to follow Alexandra's rules.

P.S. For rising stars (it is a catagory in the book after all) I'd include Kowroski, Ansanelli, Somogyi. (I think City Ballet has been in luck in recent seasons. From what I read, Royal Ballet fans may feel similarly about the Royal's luck.) And I'm rather hopeful about Murphy at ABT. There are others, but I'm sticking to my two substantive roles rule.


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