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debhig

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About debhig

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    Former Dancer with SFB/Houston Ballet
  • City**
    Marion County
  • State (US only)**, Country (Outside US only)**
    Oregon
  1. debhig

    Theodore Bekefi

    Somewhere in the 60's, I called Maria Bekefi up for private lessons. I believe that she lived in the San Fernando Valley. I was a shy teenager and what I remember of the conversation was that she asked me what kind of attitude I had and I replied 'Cecchetti" which made her a little irritated. (I assumed that she probably meant if I had a serious attitude or not.) She told me her price which was around $20 and I gulped because that would take me quite a while to save that since I only earned 25-50 cents an hour babysitting. I couldn't confirm a time because I didn't have the money saved up yet, so she then started tellimg me that the price was cheap and that it'd hardly buy her a lunch. I think that I got a little bit intimidated after that. This is my only account of Maria. I really wanted to take with her, but it just didn't turn out.
  2. Mme. Hermine, Maestro George Daugherty (conductor for this performance) has been searching high and low for this video as he just found out about the passing of premier danseur, Richard Cragun, and would like a copy of this video as a memento. This clip has been "removed". Do you happen to know where and how this was originally posted? Or who to contact to get a copy? Thank you.
  3. debhig

    Marie-Jeanne circa 1944

    I would love to hear more about Marie-Jeanne. Paul, could you be so kind to expound and jiggle your memory for anymore tidbits on the meeting of Gisella and Marie-Jeanne? Thank you.
  4. debhig

    Introducing myself

    Here's another thank-you for creating such a valuable collection of important youtube clips. For me, your contribution is the most significant one on the subject of ballet history.
  5. debhig

    Zina Bethune

    With great respect, I write my recollections of Zina. I, too, remember the heavy tights and did recall that she mentioned lymphedema. She also used to talk about her hip replacement because of hip dysplasia. She was very young to have gone through that and still was dancing. She said that she had an excellent doctor who understood the demands of ballet dancing and gave her a joint with greater range of motion. So great, that it was her better and more turned out leg and she couldn't wait to have her other one done so that it could match the other one. She seemed very nice, open and friendly, even though she was a well known actress and a dancer/director with her own company in NY and later Los Angeles.
  6. Paul Maure, dancer with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, Le Grand Ballet du Marquis de Cuevas and the Folies Bergere, has passed away in the presence of his friends and family in Southern California, Jan. 19, 2012. He was married to de Cuevas dancer, Andrea Karlsen, for 29 years. He is survived by his children, Paul Jr. and Gabriella Maure. He and his wife were the directors of International Ballet Studio in La Canada, CA, where they started a ballet company, Ballet des Arts, in 1964. That company was the first ballet company to perform at the Los Angeles Music Center and was resident company at the Pasadena Playhouse. Paul eventually taught at many schools throughout Southern California, branching out to the San Fernando Valley, Riverside, and Laguna Beach while his wife held down "the fort" at the La Canada address and later in Pasadena. He was loved by many for his humor, quick enchainements, and French charm by never losing his French accent, even after a half a century in America. He loved motorcycles, fast cars, puppets (in his later years) and, of course, the passion of his life.....ballet. I understand that he taught until his death at age 86, doing what he loved best -- imparting the style and history of his great teachers and performing experiences. One of his favorite choreograpers and teachers was Bronislava Nijinska, the primary teacher of his wife, Andrea. He also loved to say that Maurice Bejart was his classmate and would share the Dance Magazine interview of Bejart's where he mentioned Paul as his good friend and colleague. I'm hoping that people will add their memories here and at Facebook under the account "Paul Maure", started by Gabriella, his daughter.
  7. I knew her briefly in Los Angeles when she was dancing for John Clifford's Los Angeles Ballet. We would take classes together. She would make me laugh when she would say that she wanted to be by me because I was "so together" and that I would keep her on track with "what she needed right now". I'd go to lunch with her and we would talk about health, about her child (a son, I believe) and about her career, her life after her career and her dreams of opening a holistic ballet academy. She was a warm and wonderful human being. She was very kind to me and we both enjoyed each other's company. She gave me tickets to see her perform with LA Ballet and whatever doubts I had about her being in shape were dispelled when she was onstage. Open, gracious, radiant, exquisite, musical and with a definite love of what made her happy.....dancing. Rest in peace, Marnee. Dancing angel, still smiling amidst all the hardship.
  8. debhig

    Bruce Bain

    Thank you, Gina, for posting this on Bruce Bain. I only knew him for 4 years and would like to help immortalize him with some of my memories, so that he won't be gone in vain. Bruce was very manly looking. Swashbuckling good looks, strong physique, beautiful legs and feet for a man. He did a lot of movie work and can be seen in a lot of musicals that starred Audrey Hepburn. He's very evident in "My Fair Lady" and "Doctor Doolittle", I remember. I knew him in San Francisco Ballet, where he excelled in the drunk duo in "Filling Station" with Jocelyn Vollmar. Perfection. He was an excellent partner and a conscientious danseur. He had a very gentle nature and loved doing choreography and his own costume designs. As often happens, we both left the company and lost communication through the years. Man. There must be quite the ballet company in heaven, I'd say. RIP, Bruce. It was an honor to write these words for my fellow dancer.
  9. debhig

    Marjorie Mussman

    I was fortunate to study with Marjorie in 1980 when she had just moved to that huge studio loft, at a time when teachers were losing their spaces. Her husband/ SO played the piano for her classes. Living in NY, literally, hand-to-mouth, I believe that I found Majorie as a teacher through Ann Marie DeAngelo. I knew immediately that her style of teaching was for me, healing and comforting and a haven in that large city. The classes were kind on the body and she always had a nice word or correction for everyone. I believe that I actually expressed to her my appreciation for her nuturing teaching style. I'm sorry to hear that she has passed on. She is remembered and lives on through our words of her. RIP, dear one.
  10. debhig

    Dame Margot Fonteyn Birthday Celebration

    My Margot Fonteyn memories date back to the mid 1960's, where I would make sure to catch every performance that she and Nureyev would do at the Hollywood Bowl. The magic in the air would have fueled any young student towards aspiring a dance career, as it did with me. Through the years, I've seen the famous duo do "Romeo and Juliet", "Swan Lake", "Giselle", "Les Sylphides"; almost their whole personal repertory with each other. Dancing-wise, it's hard to forget Margot's famous run with her silk cape to Friar Lawrence or her death scene with that final falling of the head and arm off the bed. I loved the illusion of maiden to Swan Queen as she disappeared behind Von Rothbart in her flowing chiffon, returning fully tutu-ed in just a wink of an eye. My parents would wait patiently in the car while I stayed extra hours to get autographs. Dame Margot would always elegantly appear with a beautiful, radiant smile, sparkling eyes and meticulously dressed in pearls and mink or some designer knock-out creation. Royalty. I later was able to watch her rehearse when she used the San Francisco Ballet studios. But it was for only a short while, as she very graciously asked all of us to leave. We didn't care, because all we really wanted was a glimpse. She had to be nearing 50 at that time, and I'm sure that she wanted time to warm up that body without being judged. She was never my favorite dancer, if I am to be truthful. But I did appreciate her intelligence of how to perform. She knew exactly what to do to gain attention and had an incredible amount of skill with facial usage: expressive eyes and warm smile. Of course, she had to perform with Nureyev and his charisma, which could completely dominate his partners if they weren't skilled in theatre tricks. I feel very fortunate to have seen the famous duo at their height of popularity. It was, indeed, explosive chemistry.
  11. debhig

    Michel (or Michael) Panaieff

    My early training was while living in Southern California. I am familiar with Michel Panaieff and Paul Maure. I took only a couple of classes from Misha. He was a character, with quite the loyal following. His school was colorful with a huge wall of famous dancer autographs. Hollywood used his school for rehearsals, as did various acts (I saw Ann Maragret rehearse her Vegas show there). He had a very friendly personality, easy with a smile and interesting joke. He adopted a man who was in his 20's, because "David never had a father and I never had a son". He would come to my ballet studio to set ballets on our little company, Ballet des Arts. He would always give me a good part, noting that I paced like a "race horse". We did his "Devil's Belt", a Ballet Russes type ballet that was a love story, complete with gypsies, one of which I danced. He would come to rehearsals drunk, often swigging from an ornate cane that housed whiskey. I remember that he had trouble remembering his choreography, but the dances eventually got completed. We all loved him. I went to his house for a BBQ once. He had a lot of memorabilia from his dancing days. He was quite handsome and charming looking. He was rather a short, stocky man in his older years, but you could tell that he probably was a good looking dancer in his youth. He called Houston Ballet on my behalf and got me a job with Nina Popova's company in the late 60's, early 70's. That's another story in itself. I appreciated his generosity and I remember that he asked me first if that is what I would like. Just being accepted into a Disney touring company, with Ona White as choreographer, I really wanted to dance in a ballet company. I flew out the next day as a company member. Thank you, Misha. Paul Maure was married to Andrea Karlsen, after leaving the Grand Ballets de Marquis de Cuevas company. They settled in La Canada-Flintridge, CA; my hometown. They brought international training to our city. (Miss Karlsen was taught privately by Bronislava Nijinska, later taken into the de Cuevas company when she was hired as ballet mistress. She and Mr. Maure lived in a beautiful area of La Canada, a Spanish style villa, with pool and guest house. ) He was quite handsome and quite a ladies' man. I liked his classes, but his wife's classes were really the treasure. He eventually started a second school in San Fernando Valley. He guested at so many schools throughout the S. California area: notably Ballet Pacifica (Lila Zali), Sallie Whelan, Panaieff's school. He was hired as guest performer with many local groups. He loved that and his biggest regret was not being to continue dancing in his older years. I was lucky to have danced a number of pas de deuxs with him. He could make me do 20 pirouettes, which made me wonder why no one else could do that with me. He was an excellent partner and was known for his pirouettes and entrechats. Mr. Maure is still alive with many loyal, loving students.
  12. debhig

    Gerald Arpino, RIP

    I heard from a good friend who went to Arpino's final tribute. She had mentioned she was a little sad that it was a little uncharacteristic of representing who Arpino was as a person/director. The only eulogy that touched upon who he was as a person was Shelly Zide, speaking of his courage. The company performed, apparently very under rehearsed, three ballets: Light Rain, Round of Angels, and the last movement from Trinity. The famous lighted candles effect on the stage was ruined by a dancer accidentally knocking down many of the candles. My friend thought she could see Arpino rolling his eyes over that one. Uncharacteristically or not, there goes a tribute to lay closure to a special generation of choreographer that made good use of the sixty's energetic, sensual, and colorful mood.
  13. I can only attest to Oregon Ballet Theatre's attendance and it was a full house the night I attended in early October. They were doing "Swan Lake" and they seem to be consistent with selling out with this ballet. They have really reasonable subscription prices, which my tickets were, which makes me feel privileged to see this ballet and to hear their resident orchestra for the pittance that I pay. Support live theatre!
  14. Gina, I know you from San Francisco Ballet. I just saw you and Gardner at the reunion! My name is Deborah Macejunas, now Higginbotham. I loved you and your dancing decades ago, and want everyone to know that Gina is as real, sweet, intelligent in person as she is in print. I remember now that Gardner was a student at Eugene Loring's school. It took me a while to jar my memory, though it is strange our paths never crossed. Love to you and Gardner and your family! And it was so good to see your smiling faces last March.
  15. debhig

    Marie Jeanne RIP

    I'm pretty old, but not old enough to have seen Marie-Jeanne dance, which I really regret. I attended an OBT performance last year, that featured a end of performance discussion with Marie-Jeanne. When I heard her name, I made sure that I would make the time to participate. With eyes not so sharp at seeing far-a-way anymore, the illusion that Marie-Jeanne gave was a very youthful one, maybe 20-30 years younger than her age. It looked as if she had reddish hair, which I thought very cool for an older woman. She spoke with great energy and I ate up every word, smiling and delighted to see her. Christopher Stowell tried his best to introduce her and begin the discussion. With the majority of people not even knowing who she was, it was hard to get pertinent questions into her valuable memory vault. I, being rather a shy person, decided to 'connect' with her by asking a question. I ended up asking two questions. My first question was "It is my observation that Balanchine golden era was not Suzanne Farrell's era, but the era when you were with the company. Do you agree with me?". She replied, "Yes, I definitely have to agree with you.". I also told her how delighted I was to see her and how beautiful she looked. I then asked if she ever considered writing a book, because she would prove a valuable link to that important period. She replied that a lot of people have been asking her that and that she may consider it. It wasn't long before she died. I have an extensive Balanchine library and it truly is our loss that her book wasn't penned before her death.
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