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Kevin Ng

Will the Real MYRTHA Please Stand Up........?

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Mu ultimate Myrtha, again probably because it was one of the first ones I saw, was Deanne Bergsma of the Royal Ballet. She was tall and absolutely gorgeous is a very exotic way so she looked like a magical creature. Certainly not vulnerable, though. She was also my ultimate Lilac Fairy.

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Hey, Cargill, I loved Bergsma too - the thing I remember the most were her entry bourees - it looked as though there was a layer of air between her and the floor. And I agree with you about her Lilac Fairy, too. I also have extremely fond memories of a Bolshoi dancer, Maya Samokhvalova, as Myrtha. She had the most amazing jump ever. She just seemed to sit in the air.

BTW, and somewhat off topic, for those of you in NYC, besides whatever she may be dance-wise these days Martine Van Hamel has taken up choral singing. She's a member of the New York Choral Society. They have a concert coming up in May in Carnegie Hall. (NOT promoting my own thing, Alexandra - although I'll confess that my husband is in the choir.) wink.gif

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THe conversations on board are so exhilarating to read... I was especially moved by Leigh Witchell's description of his great Myrtha (whose name i'm going to have to go back and re-read...) but hte feeling he gave of her being a creature of hte air flying in over the rest sets my soul on fire....

It's a great jumping role, and there's nothing we can do about the loss of elevation in the women's technique except to jump up adn down and make a commotion when somebody comes along who gets the ballet back up into hte air. Karsavina in one of her books made a big point about Giselle's ballotte as a step of ELEVATION -- it's not about a high extension at hte end of hte jump, but a double passe unbelievably high off the ground that rocks back and forth like a buouy....

I did see Monica Mason dance Myrtha back in 1969, and she made a bigger impression on me than sibley and Dowell did as hte lovrs -- she was awe-inspiring. Mason had a capacity for hte objective, she could make you feel you were looking at Fate, something that was indifferent to questions of person... so everyting she did had the force of the inevitable.... her face, it's true, had glittering-eyed cold fury in it (I think she turned upstage to blink), but her dancing was tempered by this other, actually more frightening quality --

she had many other qualities, but when called on, she could deliver this one..... she could have danced for Pina Bausch...... Derek Rencher could deliver a tremendous power in character roles -- his von Rothbart was similarly as much a force of nature as a character..... he was like the pull of gravity, he didn't have to do anythingg except wait you out..... when Von Rothbart put the whammy on Odette, her personal force drained out of her...... these are the sorts of things that actors practice in their exercises, and the Royal BAllet was -- rather had been -- a part of the Old Vic Theater company; it made the Royal Ballet in those days rather like a modern dance company (the Capulet men danced with tremendous weight in the ball scene of MAcmillan's Romeo and Juliet -- Rencher danced Tybalt)

Mason was also wonderful in Dances at a Gathering...... wonderful wonderful

Paul

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I would have loved to see Mason's Myrtha; her Carabosse was so wonderful smile.gif Myrtha must have been on the same path. I also miss the weight of the Royal Ballet character dancers (the Bolshoi, too, if what we saw in DC last year was representative of the company.) I think ballet needs both weight and air to work. If it's just air, just lightness, and there's no contrast, then the lightness can seem merely lightweight. I'm sure Mason's Myrtha was not at all lightweight.

Paul's comment on the jumps makes me want to sneak in another plug for Mette-Ida Kirk, who had a lovely jump, and added an element of the demonic to her portrayal. A Myrtha with a big jump AND epaulement -- now, that's a Myrtha.

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I worked with Terekhova and Berejnoi at Boston Ballet last summer. They were very good for the dancers and I enjoyed having the opportunity to learn from their coaching.

I know her Kitri is captured on video. Is her Myrtha available on video?

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in the video of giselle with lynn seymour and rudolph nureyev, monica mason is myrtha.

[ February 24, 2002: Message edited by: Mme. Hermine ]

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Speaking of JUMPS, well, maybe this belongs on a different thread, but...... Gloria Govrin used to do double saut de basque and entrechat-DIX, you guys. In his class, Balanchine would have her stand next to D'AMboise and say "jump as high as he does," or sometimes "jump as high as SHE does......" SHe told me so.

[ February 25, 2002: Message edited by: Paul Parish ]

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