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At the prompting of a rather precocious ballet "pen pal", I have been perusing footage of Sylvie Guillem (Mademoiselle Non is more fun to say) in 1988 versions of Swan Lake. The first viewing features Sylvie with Nicolas le Riche, the second with Manuel Legris. Naturally, I was greatly impressed and then - as if some kind of creative bomb went off inside me - I saw a mere few seconds of Cyril Atanasoff. How my heart and mind caught fire at the sight of his masterful presence ! It later occurred to me while delighting in the fire of this "revelation" that it may have also been Cyril Atanasoff who played the dancing master in Nureyev's Cinderella? As is my habit, I am simply gushing my enthusiasm here on Ballet Alert at this new ballet discovery. My God, Cyril Atanasoff ! Was he not the very picture of the grace and refinement so assiduously sought after by the French school?

Edited by altongrimes

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Drew   

I saw Atanassoff dance just once and it was towards the end of his career--in the Bourmeister Swan Lake partnering Noella Pontois. I think I also was struck by his presence, but what I remember especially admiring was the way he paced his performance. Within each variation and also across the entire evening everything was crafted to get stronger and more vivid as the variation--and the evening--progressed. I had and have seen younger male dancers who were more dazzling, but they have not always seemed to me to know how to build excitement over the course of a variation let alone the course of a performance. I haven't checked out any video of Atanassoff. Perhaps I should.

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Thank you Drew ! An Illuminating an intriguing response from you concerning Cyril Atanasoff. How fascinating that you could discern the way in which he "paced his performance ...  across the entire evening everything was crafted to get stronger and more vivid as the variation and evening progressed". Perhaps like some fine wine that gathers it's strength over time, the more seasoned M. Atanasoff imparted to his work a subtlety and nuance that only great experience can bring. You used the word "crafted" to describe his gift and how I would heartily underscore your observation. For a brief moment, while watching him in that 1988 Sylvie Guillem Swan Lake, some indescribable thing within me quickened, and I "saw" a craftsman. My creative mind "caught fire" as I watched him cut through air and stage with razor sharp precision. With what care and reverence he seemed to execute every step.

Edited by altongrimes

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