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First contact with ballet

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#1 dirac


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Posted 27 August 2001 - 05:47 PM

I'd like to hear how people first became hooked on, or just interested in, ballet -- was it a performance? a book? a movie? through lessons?

I saw my first ballerina in a book, "The Book of Dance," by Agnes de Mille. I read the book cover to cover with particular attention to the many good pictures. Not too long afterwards I badgered my mother into taking me to a performance, and the rest is history. :D

#2 mbjerk


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Posted 27 August 2001 - 07:17 PM

At age 10, I had a crush and followed her to ballet class. There I found the true meaning of challenge and accomplishment. She quit a few months later and I......

#3 Helena


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Posted 28 August 2001 - 01:23 AM

My mother had a lot of books,dating from the thirties and forties, about the early days of British ballet and ballet in general, so I fell in love with photographs. I can't remember ever not knowing about Pavlova, Nijinsky, Karsavina, Diaghilev, Fonteyn. I went to my first ballet when I was five. When I was 9 I started serious ballet lessons, as opposed to just "dancing" lessons. I was hooked almost from birth!

#4 glebb


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Posted 28 August 2001 - 06:01 AM

I was nine when I had my first lessons because a friend of my father suggested ballet. In my case I think ballet classes were a substitute for Ritalin.

At first I had a take it or leave attitude toward the classes, but one day my teacher invited me to watch a studio run of LES SYLPHIDES.

I was affected by LES SYLPHIDES the way James was affected by his Sylph in LA SYLPHIDE. The musicality, movement and symmetry were more beautiful than anything I had ever imagined.

From that moment I worked my hardest to become a dancer some day.

#5 Melissa


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Posted 28 August 2001 - 08:16 AM

In 1980 at the age of thirteen, I saw a Live from Lincoln Center broadcast of ABT's 'The Sleeping Beauty' starring Cynthia Gregory and Fernando Bujones. I was captivated by Tchaikovsky's sublime score and Cynthia Gregory's marvelous Aurora. It was a life-altering experience and I've adored ballet ever since.

#6 bobsey



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Posted 28 August 2001 - 01:27 PM

My wife took ballet class for many years and danced in the chorus of two Broadway shows. She dragged me to NYCB subscriptions for several years. Then I discovered that I really liked it and became an enthusiast. Now I go as often as I can, and buy a shelf-full of videos.

#7 campvaldes



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Posted 28 August 2001 - 01:36 PM

My mother wanted me to see Nureyev in 1973. I
was not interested in "seeing a fag dancing".
A typical response from a boy of 16 at the
time! In 1974, I saw pictures of Rudi in a
Life mag. from the mid-60's. I was amazed by
the elevation of his leaps. I then asked my
mother if he used a trampoline! She said, "No
dummy, that is the guy I wanted to take you to see dance last year. I saw him in "Sleeping Beauty" with the National Ballet of
Canada. I never looked back!!!!!!!!!!!!1

#8 piccolo



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Posted 28 August 2001 - 05:55 PM

I started taking ballet classes at a very young age when my family was living in Japan. It is just something I have always done. However, I remember being transported by dance fairly early on as well. The first magical performance for me was seeing Alvin Ailey perform. The whole evening was amazing but Revelations was the most electrifying thing I had ever seen. I also remember seeing the Royal Ballet do Manon when I was very young. The emotional content really moved me.

#9 Autumn7



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Posted 29 August 2001 - 04:50 PM

I have a vague pre-school memory of seeing ballet on the Ed Sullivan Show and of thinking that ballet dancers couldn't be real because of the way they moved, the outfits they wore, and the ballerina's make-up. Something must have stuck with me though, because in elementary school when we were exposed to classical music, I knew that Tchaikovsky's score belonged to the 'Swan Lake Ballet' and I was the only kid in class that knew this. Even my teacher seemed surprised at my knowing this but pleased also.
Later on when my cousins took ballet my Mom asked me if I wanted to join them but, much to my regret now, I preferred to play baseball with my brother and his friends! My Mom did love dance but mainly Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, and Donald O'Connor so my love of ballet probably stemmed from her. I will confess on this board that my father thought Groucho Marx was a very good dancer!
It wasn't until after I'd married and moved away to the area where I now live that I saw a 'Swan Lake' on PBS, thought it was beautiful but also thought you had to go to New York City to see that caliber of ballet. My sweet husband, bless his heart, informed his hillbilly wife that dance such as I saw on PBS was available at the Kennedy Center. About 20 years ago for Christmas he gave me a string of pearls and tickets for ABT and it's been love ever since!
I count ballet as one of those essential things that makes life worthwhile now. (And in a nod to my Dad, I love the Marx Brothers too, but I don't think Groucho's dancing is quite up to ballet standards!)

#10 Alexandra


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Posted 30 August 2001 - 05:10 PM

I wanted to bump this up. We have raised this question before, but I think it's a good one to bring up every six months, or even more frequently, as there are so many new people. Come on -- everybody can answer this one :) So, especially if you haven't already, please do.

I came to ballet at the advanced age of 26! I had taken modern dance in college, but never had the opportunity to SEE anything and hated the teacher, so I didn't go to dance performances. I was intimidated by ballet -- like opera, it seemed something you had to know something about to see and enjoy. (Yes, stupid.) Then I went with a group of friends to see a Nureyev and Friends program and was Hooked for Life. I've thought about dancing every day since.

#11 Tancos



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Posted 01 September 2001 - 10:47 PM

My mother taught ballet in our home when I was young, so it was always been part of the background for me. Her classes were strictly girls-only, though, and I wasn't interested then anyway. Realizing that ballet was something worth watching closely and doing was a gradual process, and it's difficult to pick a particular event that triggered my fascination with the art. In my early twenties I saw the Nutcracker and Don Quixote on television, both with Baryshnikov, and realized that here was eloquence in a language I didn't understand. To learn that language, I began going to every ballet performance in Wichita and eventually began taking class.

#12 Jack Reed

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Posted 02 September 2001 - 07:36 PM

My first contacts with ballet were an extension of my early exploration of classical music. While I got some pleasure from some of the symphonic repertory, I liked some ballet scores more, so that I wanted to see the ballets when I had the opportunity. When I was sixteen and seventeen, I think, I saw the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo do "Petrushka" and NYCB "Firebird" (with Tallchief!), among others, and I still remember some bits. Unimportant bits, as it happened, because I lacked the maturity to take in the best of it. It didn't "take", and I didn't see any more ballet for about twelve years. By that time, though, I must have been ready, because when I saw McBride and Villella with NYCB in "Rubies", I was hooked, and a few years later, the company no longer visiting Chicago, I began visiting New York to see forty or fifty performances a year (not quite all NYCB, incidentally).

#13 Guest_mod-squad_*

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Posted 04 September 2001 - 09:07 AM

My first contact with ballet happened at age 6. I was in the school library and came across a book called "The How and Why wonder book of Ballet" (I found a copy of this a few years ago in a thrift store).
Not wanting my friends see me reading this ( because I'm sure I - a young boy, would have been ridiculed for being interested in ballet), I would periodically sneak a peak or two at this book. It had these typical illustrations and photos in it. On the cover was this picture of a beautiful ballerina and her partner. How lucky for him. Everytime I would see a ballet performance on TV or at the talent show at school, I would always think about this book. God how I wanted to take ballet soo very bad!
Unfortunately, my parents would not hear anything of it.
It wasn't until I moved out of the house at age 20 did I start taking ballet class and have ever since.
(sigh) All those wasted years!-Peter

[ 09-04-2001: Message edited by: mod-squad ]

#14 Fonteyn Adorer

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Posted 04 September 2001 - 02:00 PM

Following is an edited version of what I provided in my introduction:

I have enjoyed the arts for more than half a century and once believed that ballet is an affected art form that merely supplemented music. My transformation to a ballet lover occurred at the ripe old age of 60+ years. As my log-in name might suggest, that transformation was a result of viewing a Fonteyn video (With Nureyev in Swan Lake)in which I came to appreciate grace, elegance, and the beauty of classical ballet.I really do adore Fonteyn. She's not dead--she merely returned to Olympus after gracing the earth for ~70 years.

#15 vagansmom


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Posted 04 September 2001 - 10:06 PM

I took ballet lessons for two years back when I was six and seven - from a nun! She was the only person who ever slapped me across the face and that was in response to my missing an entrance (stage fright) when I was supposed to lead the group out doing "ballet walks".

Needless to say, when our 3 year old daughter wanted ballet lessons, I said no. Told her it wasn't allowed till the age of 5. One and a half years later, she came out of nursery school with her eyes blazing because she discovered that a 4 year old friend took ballet lessons. My lie was now obvious. I signed her up thinking it would be an asset to her Irish dancing (we own a studio). It's 11 years later, she's taken lessons at the same pre-professional school all these years, (quit Irish dance) and taught me volumes about ballet. I couldn't imagine life without it. We're just far enough away from NY to make it difficult to attend ballets but we manage 3 or 4 a year (ABT and NYCB). We used to see the Hartford Ballet regularly (I'm still mourning their demise - it's just not the same). So, most of the ballet I see live is in the form of student productions. But that, too, has its appeal since I've watched so many of these youngsters grow up and go on to ballet careers. And every now and then we get to see them dance professionally.

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