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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    Ballet teacher/former pro dancer now character artist
  • City**
    Tel Aviv
  • State (US only)**, Country (Outside US only)**
  1. Although I saw ballet performances from an early age, I think the company that probably was the closest to my heart was London's Festival Ballet, which became eventually English National Ballet. My parents and I belonged to their club, which was totally different from the various "Friends" organisations that exist today. We joined almost from the beginning and the membership was very special. My mother and I would "man the table" every now and then in the Royal Festival Hall trying to recruit new members. In the days before mass communication services this was the only way. The club had events including a summer garden party and a Christmas party (where my Dad got to dance with all the beautiful ballet girls to his delight!) and we had lectures by important guests, such as Alicia Markova (I was chosen to present her with a bouquet, which was a proud moment indeed!) and Beryl Grey. We really felt part of the company and loved it. We had our own magazine "On Pointe" and could submit articles for it. We went to lots of performances including of course Nutcracker every Christmas season. It's a shame that there is no longer such meaning or pleasure in being a member of the "club".
  2. The trouble with Giselle with Anton Dolin is that I remember seeing it with my parents when Dolin was already rather too old to be dancing. Everytime he "collapsed" because of the cruel treatment of the Willis, my mother would make some sarcastic remark about the poor old man needing a break to rest up. I'm sure he was great in his day, though, just carried on too long. Maybe I should try and find a film of him as a young dancer to dispel this terrible image I have of him thanks to my Mum! The clip with Karsavina was lovely and that film of Les Sylphides with her ideal cast is beautiful - truly a dream cast. I seem to remember a visit by Karsavina to the Royal Ballet School when I was a student there. She gave a fascinating talk. I think it was her - I remember bubbly hair and lots of lipstick and a very foreign accent!
  3. I don't think that Nureyev's style suits Bournonville - it somehow looks wrong on him. Flemming Flindt has a totally different quality to his dancing.
  4. What the Fille with Nerina and Blair is on DVD? Is it really, Albany Girl? How lovely! What I am finding rather satisfying, as they release all these archive films, is the fact that my heroes of yesteryear were actually as good as I remember them to be! I have a film of Giselle with Ulanova, whom I saw for the first time when the Bolshoi came to London in 1956, and her technique was amazing and her acting was unbelievable - She seemed to live the part. And the divine Beriosova in the Les Sylphides extract posted above was indeed divine! And now Nerina - such ballon, such technique and such quality. With all their legs round their ears and multiple pirouettes, I find that many of the incredibly athletic dancers of today lack the quality of the dancers from my youth. But that's another whole thread, which I believe has already been done!
  5. Oh dear the National Gallery in Washington and there I was hoping it was London's National Gallery, because I missed the V & A exhibition. Hmm how can I influence hubby to adding a visit to Washington on our schedule this summer........
  6. Whilst flipping through youtube links, as one does, I came across a radio interview with ballerina Nadia Nerina, who was at the time considered to be one of the greatest technicians in the world. The interviewer asked her about that and, if I remember rightly, she explained that she had initially concentrated on building the strongest technique that she could, so that later on she could forget about it and concentrate on the feeling. She was absolutely delightful in "Fille" able to play the part and act it delicately without exaggeration and she was equally wonderful in the big ballets - her Rose Adagio in Beauty was incredible technically, but also her acting in the Giselle "mad scene" was very convincing, so I suppose her theory worked for her. I have to say that, as a teacher, I find that those girls who have feeling and quality in their dancing seem to have it naturally and those that start as technicians end that way too, no matter what I do to try and get them to "feel" the dance......
  7. This has been such an interesting discussion. Thank you for posting the little videos - the last Les Sylphides extract was a gem with the beautiful Beriosova and Markova. It led me to clicking on to Nerina and Blair in Ashton's La Fille Mal Gardee and had me wallowing in youthful memories of visits to the "Garden" in the 1960's. Just as Les Sylphides is Fokine's nod to the early Romantic era, so I always feel that Fille is Ashton's nod to the later Romantic era as it has a touch of Coppelia in it style wise. I think that what we forget is that if and when we do see the old Romantic ballets with their out of this world aura nowadays, we are watching them being danced by modern dancers with their extraordinary technique and pointe shoes that are nothing like the shoes that the original Pas de Quatre ballerinas would have used. Taglioni's shoes used to be on display in the now defunct Theatre Museum in London. They were tiny satin shoes with lots of stitching on the toes and some slight padding - it must have been like dancing on pointe in soft shoes stuffed with a bit of cottonwool! There are drawings of those early ballerinas standing en pointe on prop flowers, which were obviously built for that purpose to make the dancer look weightless and ethereal. I think perhaps all this explains why we no longer see a great deal of difference (apart from the afore mentioned length of tutu)in style between for example Giselle and Swan Lake. Also don't forget that we're not actually seeing the original Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot choreography, but Petipa's version for the Imperial ballet, which makes it even more similar to his classical ballets to Tchaikovsky scores.
  8. Wonderful - thank you for posting. Do you have any idea who the other guests were - their names are on the tip of my tongue and I just can't think!
  9. Yes, it is a good story! They were both blondes so it didn't notice too much and they changed tunics. However the story of artistic generosity actually continues in this way. Everyone was madly busy coaching the new Mercutio for his fight and death scene in the interval, but I had a different problem - he was also supposed to take part in the comic scene with me as Nurse when I bring the message from Juliet to Romeo about the wedding. In this scene the "boys" including Mercutio tease me unmercifully and it's quite slapstick. I realised that the replacement had enough on his plate without worrying about my scene, so I left him to it and took one of the boys from the corps to teach him what Mercutio usually did. He was surprisingly good at it and picked it up very quickly as he'd watched the scene a number of times. So that's how we got through the performance with a quarter of an hour very intense coaching session!
  10. The British form of writing the date in the order of day, month, year only applies when writing it thus - 23.7.70. I think the more common usage would be to write July 23rd rather than 23rd July, although as rg notes probably both are acceptable. What a wonderful archive posting - thank you. It's interesting to see how bulky Baryshnikov's thighs were when he first came to England. They fined down later on in his career. Different training I suppose......
  11. This is a link to the G.B.L Wilson archive gallery at the Royal Academy of Dance http://www.arenapal.com/files/newsletter/Newsletter_34_October/G_B_L_Wilson_Photographic_Archive.htm "It was Wilson's interest in photography and his friendships with dancers that have led to the existence of this rich photographic ballet archive. A keen photographer since childhood, Wilson began photographing ballet in 1941. His enthusiasm and his ability to build lasting friendships gave him access to dancers not only in performance situations but also off-stage, in rehearsals and at social functions. Once the Second World War was over, Wilson's photographs began to appear in publications such as The Ballet Annual and Ballet Today and in 1957 he began his regular 'Off-Stage' column in the Dancing Times which continued until his death in 1984." I remember GBL well from when I was a ballet student. He had so many contacts with European companies that he became careers adviser to students graduating from the Royal Ballet School, but unfortunately for me this was after I had left the school and had to audition without any advice. I also remember a visit he made to Israel as he had helped bring some English dancers to join the Israel Ballet company. I was teaching then for the company and school and invited him and the girls to supper at my home - we had a wonderful evening. It must have been in the late '70s. His photographs are beautiful and insightful and offer an invaluable historical record of the mid 20th century ballet world in Britain. He also published A Dictionary of Ballet (1974), which was pretty comprehensive for the time.
  12. On one performance that I did of Romeo and Juliet with the Israel Ballet (I play the Nurse) the soloist dancing Mercutio landed badly from his variation near the end of the first act and broke his ankle. Unable to continue he helped coach his understudy (who was dancing Benvolio)in the interval to replace him in the second act. He then came and sat on the well in the town square scenes in order to help prompt him discreetly. I doubt that the audience even realised that Benvolio had become Mercutio, but all of those who were there will never forget that performance. I don't know if that is artistic generosity or professionalism, but he certainly was a fine example of "the show must go on".
  13. There are many lovely pas de deux, but if I were stranded on a desert island (!) I would be happy to watch MacMillan's R & J balcony pdd over and over again! Many many years ago there was an exhibition of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, showing both the opera and ballet companies. It was in the days before video and so it was very thrilling to be able to watch ballet extracts on TV screens dotted round the exhibition. One of them was that balcony pdd with Fonteyn and Nureyev and I just stood there watching it multiple times, unable to drag myself away from it! Oh yes and the final pdd of Cranko's Onegin is DIVINE! The emotion in it when Onegin grovels at Tatiana's feet and then she sends him away. Just thinking about it makes me want to cry!!!!
  14. Hamorah


    Oh that must have been wonderful - I think Cojocaru is gorgeous - I'd love to see her in Manon. Still I have to say that I have a very soft spot for the recording of Dowell with Jenny Penney in the leading roles with lovely ginger haired David Wall. Fantastic cast. That bedroom pas de deux ranks up there with R & J's balcony pas de deux as something I can watch over and over again and not tire of it.......
  15. Well, it's not haunting as such, more in the catchy category, but I would like to add the clog dance from Fille Mal Gardee - dadada dadada dadada dadada dum pum pum. OK I've started you all off, so altogether now - dadada dadada dadada dadada dum pum pum ad infinitum..............
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