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News from the POB, some few years ago

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#1 katharine kanter

katharine kanter

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Posted 24 February 2003 - 08:10 AM

Could not resist putting up this incredible passage from Auguste B. on his studies with Vestris at the Paris Opera between 1824 and 1830:

"Be not astonished, when you discover that for me there was no more glorious dream than this: to be able to soar while dancing, without touching the ground. In my youth, I was always haunted by the thought of unsuccessful performances, weak memorisation, and incomplete costume, and I awakened as from a nightmare. Now, as a pensioner (....) (in dreams) I am borne on the wings of Time back to my earlier pursuits. The journey usually carries me to Paris, where I come a halt in the Ballet Foyer before the three mirrors which during the years 1824-1830 reflected my diligent exercies.

"To the astonishment of my onlooking comrades, I easily overcome all the difficulties that had formerly given me the worst trouble. I stand as if rooted to the spot in attitude, turn with complete security (...) and need only hold my breath in order to ascend to the rafters like an aerostat, or by stretching my feet behind me like the birds in their flight, to sail through space and soar from the stage out into the auditorium. One can hardly imagine the exhilirating feeling of excitement and satisfaction these fantastic results produce. It is the ectasy of victory, the loosing of earthly bonds - freedom !" Then I say to myself (for reflection imperceptibly creeps up on imagination): this time it is no longer a dream ! Now you have got it ! Just make sure you do not forget the technique (...) !"

From "My Theatre LIfe", published at London, A & C Black 1979 (out of print).

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