Paul Parish

corps dancers we love as if they were stars

95 posts in this topic

just want to say: what a lovely idea for a topic. :)

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This topic is very nice,but it is only suitable for the New York City Ballet and the North American companies because their repertoires are mostly Balanchine,and he is the only choreographer who really gives attention to the corps de ballet,not counting the more recent choreographers of course.This does not work as well with European companies whose repertoires are not based on Balanchine,as can be seen from this thread where memorable corps dancers are all from the NYCB.Petipa,Macmillan,Cranko,Ashton,Bournonville do not shed so much light on the corps de ballet.That said,these dancers must be true artists because they shine onstage,even if they are only Girl No. 14 from the left.In the Royal I admire Sian Murphy,Lauren Cuthbertson,Christina Arestis,Kristen Mcnally,and Natasha Oughtred.In the Paris Opera:Alexandra Cardinal,who is one of the most beautiful woman dancing,and Veronique Doisneau,Juliette Gernez,and Aurore Cordellier.In the Stuttgart I like Katarzina Kozielska,and Vanessa Valdueza Tauroni who have to dance in the star-centric Cranko repertoire and still stand-out.

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Lovebird, you can trust me that Alexandra could tell you upwards of 100 stories about the Royal Danish Ballet alone that would illustrate that corps dancers are considered important artists in other companies and with other choreographers. Of course I love Balanchine, but every one of the choreographers you name also have the same sort of attention to the corps we New Yorkers are speaking about, it's just not in the way we've grown used to with Balanchine and perhaps not in the ballets we've gotten to see here. For example, in Martins' adaptation of Sleeping Beauty, Saskia Beskow was able to squeeze every last drop of theater out of the truncated countess role. I don't think it's her Balanchine experience that taught her to do that, it was her Danish training and her own natural gifts.

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Although, Leigh, Lovebird does have a point.

Many of us remember the casting policy under Balanchine: almost every corps dancer had one or two roles that allowed him or her a few spotlight moments.

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Much as I think all good springs from Mr. B, good casting, institutional thinking and cultivation of the entire company wasn't his invention. I'm certainly not saying this to knock Balanchine - but really, other choreographers and ballet masters did that as well.

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No, but it's a matter of degree.

I have never seen -- at ABT or in NYCB under Martins -- the spreading of the wealth over as wide a swath as was the case at City in the 70s. That's all.

Oh, and it wasn't always good.

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I think, though, that the Americacentrism of the thread so far is a function of who's posted to it. We have a lot of input from NYC people and from San Francisco, but only Estelle has chimed in from France, and we haven't heard anything from Britain or elsewhere. Just knowing human nature, there must be corps favorites in many companies that we just don't hear about.

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Mel, don't forget that there also was a post from su-lian from Paris! :)

By the way, I also think that Balanchine's works are not the only ones which enable the audience to see the corps de ballet dancers. In some Petipa works for example, there are quite a lor of pas de quatre, pas de six, etc. which can be an opportunity to see some corps de ballet dancers...

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Oops! You're right, Estelle, my apologies to su-lian!

But how about it, other venues? There have to be artists in the corps who attract the public's affections. Maybe they're headed for the upper reaches, or maybe they've just been in the corps forever, but for some reason, the public finds them, and gives them love. Any stories?:)

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My favourite one are at POB Fanny Fiat, Muriel Zusperreguy, Isabelle Ciaravola, Christophe Duquenne, Hervé Courtain who was soloist with Boston Ballet last season, Stéphane Bullion just passed sujet. I love as Estelle Jean-Marie Didiere who is a wonderful actor and when he dance, was a really good dancer. I love also Julien Meyzindi, Bruno Bouché, Sébastien Bertaud, Dorothée Gilbert, Juliette Gernez.

When SFB went to Paris two years ago, I appreciate in corps Michael Eaton, Chidorie Nzerem, a black dancer who was now in Harlem dance theater and whom I forget unfortunately the name :confused: . It was more difficult to recognize girl and to put a name on their face but I remember of Dalene Bremer in Othello as well as ? Lewitzke as Bianca always in Otello, :o !

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Originally posted by Françoise

When SFB went to Paris two years ago, I appreciate in corps Michael Eaton, Chidorie Nzerem, a black dancer who was now in Harlem dance theater and whom I forget unfortunately the name :confused: .  It was more difficult to recognize girl and to put a name on their face but I remember of Dalene Bremer in Othello as well as  ? Lewitzke as Bianca always in Otello, :o !

That would be Ikolo Griffin. I agree about him, and Eaton.

Just curious, why a :mad: for Lewitzke? Did you have problems with her?

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Actually I had mentioned only corps de ballet dancers who are unlikely to be promoted, given their ages... But among the younger ones, there are quite a lot of dancers that I like a lot, and especially Fanny Fiat and Dorothée Gilbert.

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SFB: Jaime Castilla

POB: Myriam-Ould Braham (asbolutely lovely in the classics), Dorothee Gilbert, and I'm also looking forward to Mathilde Froustey...

Hamburg Ballet: Helene Bouchet, Yukichi Hattori

NYCB: Carla Korbes

Royal Ballet: I am looking forward to seeing Yu-Hui Choe

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I post a :o because I change my sentence and forget to delete it. I write before I don't recognize women face and I write what someone else write and I think oh yes I recognize two girls who was good, sorry for this :mad:

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no need to apologize, I was just curious...Lewitzke certainly is a recognizable Bianca, though, isn't she...that hair!

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Lewitzke is a thrilling dancer..... just standing there, she's a knockout....

rumor has it that Mark MOrris walked into the studio one day, saw Lewitzke wearing a black long-sleeved leotard and black wrap-around skirt (tights and pointe shoes of course) for class, and decided that that's how the women should be dressed for his new ballet, A Garden...... I don't know that it's true, but I'd like to believe it; I love the ballet, HATE those costumes, and only such a story could explain why they're wearing such school-wear.... Lewitzke would look stage-worthy in anything.

She had a great role in the second-cast of Liebeslieder Walzer, alternating with Maffre (staged by Karin von Aroldingen ); it was a noble performance....

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Ah, yes...Lewitzke in Liebeslider...yummy. What a cast: Berman, Allemann, Diana, too.

I like Korbes and Bouder too, even if they ARE about to get promoted [one hopes...]. ;)

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A corps dancer who I loved to watch (she has left, unfortunately) was Rosalie O'Connor of ABT. She was such a wonderful actress, and in small featured roles like Bathilde or the Ayah in Bayadere could bring a character to life. Her nurse was so evil and so slinking and so obsequious, without any scenery chewing. I still get shivers remembering the Rajah (Graffin) stalking over to her in the Bethrothal scene and her glee in giving poor Nikiya the basket. She was wonderful in Lilac Garden as the girl in white who cried, as well. I remember sitting with someone who had seen years of ballet and tended to be NOT impressed with today's dancers, sitting bolt upright and saying "Who was that?" when O'Connor gave Caroline her cloak. She was able to convey such a sense of sympathy and understanding in a small gesture.

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Watching Diamonds this afternoon, I again found myself enjoying Gwyneth Muller, this time as one of the demisoloists. She reminded me, for the first time, of Renee Estopinal (although they look nothing alike) for the simplicity and directness of her dancing, her warmth and her recently acquired sophisticated mien. I've come to treasure her.

This thread has been dormant for a long time. We've had lots of new corps dancers come go -- sometimes to soloist level or beyond. :dunno: Anybody else want to add?

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Watching Diamonds this afternoon, I again found myself enjoying Gwyneth Muller, this time as one of the demisoloists. She reminded me, for the first time, of Renee Estopinal (although they look nothing alike) for the simplicity and directness of her dancing, her warmth and her recently acquired sophisticated mien. I've come to treasure her.

This thread has been dormant for a long time. We've had lots of new corps dancers come go -- sometimes to soloist level or beyond. :dunno: Anybody else want to add?

Yes! I have two new favorites: Lauren King and Rachel Piskin -- they are like rays of pure sunshine. I just love to watch them dance.

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I used to watch Lauren in class at the American Theater Dance Workshop, school of the Eglevsky Ballet and as a child performer with the Eglevsky. She was about 12 years old when I first saw her. If ever anyone had a perfect body and facility for ballet, she did. I've seen her only once as a member of the corps de ballet at NYCB (since I live in Canada), but I mainly watched her, since I "knew" her. So nice that she's gotten a mention in this thread. I, too, love her dancing. :D

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There are so many corps girls at NYCB right now that draw the eye. Kathryn Morgan barley even fits in this category, she is a principal in waiting. Muller, King and Piskin for sure but I also find myself watching Ashley Laracy and Glenn Keenan all the time. Both were lovely in Emeralds yesterday afternoon and I think it was Keenan who did double duty also poping up in Diamonds. And Erica Pereira, my goodness she's extraordinary.

Over at ABT I always notice the lovely & elegant Zhong-Jing Fang, the sweet yet forthright presence of Anne Milewski and the lightness and delicacy of Renata Pavam, and this season I've also started to notice Jessica Saund. Among the men I've been had my eye on Grant Delong and Alexander Hammoudi for a few seasons now and of course Simone Messmer and Blaine Hoven are ripe for promotion.

And during the Kirov City Center season I was captivated by Svetlana Ivanova, Elena Androsova and Maria Shirinkina. Wish they were local so I could watch their progression!

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NBoC's Elena Lobsanova. A pure love of dance is evident in her in even the smallest roles. She has such a lovely and sweet on-stage personality, and her movements are expressed with a rare sense of calm and clarity. She's still quite young, and I'm sure she will be a star one day! I can already imagine her being a wonderful Odette, Juliet, or Aurora...

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It's interesting for me to read this thread from the beginning, having been in Paris and London in April. Among the POB dancers mentioned here that I saw in soloist and principal roles in the Four Temperaments, Artifact Suite/Raymonda program are Fiat (whom I loved), Ould-Braham, Phavorin, Froustey, Thibault, and Gilbert. I was also very impressed by Cuthbertson at Royal Ballet.

Among others mentioned, I completely agree about Lewitzke; I was lucky to have seen her in one of the "Liebeslieder" performances. And about Renee Estopinal, a first among equals in many, many ballets.

Rosalie O'Connor is now taking spine-tingling and sensitive ballet photographs.

I once took my first boyfriend in NYC to see what was my first "Nutcracker". He loved all of the leotard ballets, but was allergic to tutus and rhinestones. It was a matinee, and he spend the first 1.5 parts of the ballet whining about the noise kids around us were making. Until Susan Freedman appeared as Coffee. That shut him up quickly enough, but I think at that moment he was lost forever :lol: I've never seen a Coffee that matched her.

Two of my all-time favorite corps members at PNB retired with tonight's "8 Encores" program: Kara Zimmerman and Rebecca Johnston. They are irreplaceable.

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