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atm711

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Everything posted by atm711

  1. My first Giselle was Tamara Toumanova, and Svetlana Lunkina my most recent---and there were scores in between. I think I was born too late for the perfect Giselle---Olga Spessivtseva. Those tantalizing bits of her on film in Act I look very modern to my year 2000 eyes. I don't know how those I have seen in the more recent past would hold up.
  2. Don't leave without Nijinska's Memoirs--a truly superb book. The Borzoi book brings back memories---I had a copy of it at one time, I think it was published in the l940's. I remember wonderful photos of Toumanova. I also second KFW's opinion on the Garis book. [This message has been edited by atm711 (edited May 09, 2000).]
  3. atm711

    Sono Osata

    Since Osato left Ballet Theatre in the mid-40's I didn't see much of her dancing, but I do remember her as Rosaline in Tudor's R&J and she looked wonderful in those Renaissancey costumes! I did see her in the Robbins musical "On The Town" (the take-off on Fancy Free) and she had the major starring role and portrayed "Miss Subways". Nancy Walker was also in the show.
  4. Well, for whatever it's worth--I did see Fonteyn's Odette/Odile when she was in her prime (40's and 50's) and I could never warm up to it. Her movements never seemed to flow off into infinity---when she struck an arabesque, for instance, the movement seemed to stop at her fingertips--for me, there was never enough poetry in her performances and Makarova is overflowing with it! But for all you Fonteyn admirers I will admit that her Aurora was the best...To this day whenever I see Sleeping Beauty Fonteyn's performance is always there in shadow.
  5. Well, I for one am happy that Makarova did not subscribe to this "emploi" or "employ" (a term that is new to me), or we might never have seen her Swan Lake(!!) since she danced mostly the Romantic repertoire. I have always found it interesting to watch any great artist perform roles that are supposedly not suited to them---a case in point---I saw Nora Kaye dance Odette/Odile many times while the purists croaked --"but she doesn't have classical line" -- sure enough, she didn't have classic line but her interpretations and technique carried her through.
  6. atm711

    The Millenium Awards

    I enjoyed reading all of your nominations and agree with all of them--EXCEPT: Dancersteven: "of the Century, Baryshnikov for what he did for classical ballet in America" ---pshaw!!!Dancersteven!! There was life before Baryishnikov--we weren't exactly in the boondocks as a nation.
  7. We all have our favorite Giselles, but here I would like to talk about "the most unlikely Giselle I have seen". My nominee is Mia Slavenska, a Yugoslav ballerina who danced with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Her emergence from the grave is indelibly imprinted in my head. Her bouffant, blindingly-white tutu glistened in the subdued light and the V-neck off-the-shoulder bodice plunged to her waist; her alabaster shoulders were topped by a head covered with flaming red hair (coiffed in the ballerina over-the-ear style--no top-knots here!) From what I have read of Fanny Elssler, I think she must have been her re-incarnation. The audience gasped, most of us chuckled. But being the artist she was, she did "pull-it-off" and gave an engrossing performance. She gave her Albrecht (Frederic Franklin, of all people) a good run for his money. The performance I saw was in 1948 at the old Met Opera in NY and was one of the many "last-ditch" efforts of BRMC to reorganize. Markova danced that season and Danilova was a truly memorable Myrtha. The season was topped off with "Pas de Quatre" with Markova (Taglioni), Slavenska (Grisi), Krassovska (Grahn) and Danilova (Cerrito). She is perhaps best remembered as the ballerina in the film "La Mort du Cygne" (1938) -- the one about the "petit rat" who injured the ballerina so her favorite (Chauvire) could dance. For every Giselle I have seen rising from the grave -- Slavenska is still there for me in her blinding light, if only for a few seconds.
  8. I, too, loved reading Nijinska's Memoirs..it has the scope of a fine Russian novel. By reading all of her descriptions of her brother's dancing, and putting them all together in one long paragraph, you come away with a very good picture of how Nijinsky danced.
  9. I find myself, from time to time re-reading Francis Mason's "I Remember Balanchine". These are recollections of dozens of people who knew him and worked with him. Not all of the remembrances are flattering--I find the one by Barbara Walczak particularly poignant. I remember Barbara as a student at SAB and as a dancer with the Company.
  10. There are many performances that are indelibly imprinted in my mind--Alonso in Giselle, Nora Kaye in Pillar of Fire, Danilova as Swanilda or Odette, Fonteyn as Aurora, Tallchief as the Firebird, Riabouchinska in "Sylphides", Toumanova as Black Swan, and more up-to-date--Makarova's Swan, Farrell as Terpsichore and Diamonds, Amanda McKerrow's Giselle, Wendy Whelan in Balanchine's Swan, and Ananiashville in ANYTHING.
  11. Thanks Giannina. My introduction to ballet was via the film company, Warner Bros. They filmed two of Massine's ballets, "Gaite Parisienne" and "Capriccio Espanol". I was mesmerized by the hypnotic stare of Massine in "Capriccio". If you have never seen these two films (made in 1941) I would urge you to seek them out. You can imagine my joy only a few years later when I "supered" at the old "Met" in a production of Petrouchka, with Massine-- and Eglevsky as the Blackamoor, and Lucia Chase as the Ballerina...Ballet Theatre was considered a very glamorous company then--lots of guest stars, but we longed to see our favorite "home growns" like Alonso and Nora Kaye and a dancer you don't hear too much about nowadays- John Kriza. I was not a fan of Alicia Markova, she and Dolin were well passed their prime, even then. I am still an avid ballet-goer and generally seek out Nina Ananiashvilli and Wendy Whelan.
  12. Thanks Giannina. My introduction to ballet was via the film company, Warner Bros. They filmed two of Massine's ballets, "Gaite Parisienne" and "Capriccio Espanol". I was mesmerized by the hypnotic stare of Massine in "Capriccio". If you have never seen these two films (made in 1941) I would urge you to seek them out. You can imagine my joy only a few years later when I "supered" at the old "Met" in a production of Petrouchka, with Massine-- and Eglevsky as the Blackamoor, and Lucia Chase as the Ballerina...Ballet Theatre was considered a very glamorous company then--lots of guest stars, but we longed to see our favorite "home growns" like Alonso and Nora Kaye and a dancer you don't hear too much about nowadays- John Kriza. I was not a fan of Alicia Markova, she and Dolin were well passed their prime, even then. I am still an avid ballet-goer and generally seek out Nina Ananiashvilli and Wendy Whelan.
  13. Thank you for your kind interest. I saw the third performance of Fancy Free (with Bernstein in the pit) and all the performances were greeted raucously! but for sheer noise nothing can top the debut of the Sadler's Wells' Sleeping Beauty. The "Old Met" had standing room for $1.80 in the orchestra and we lined up at 12 noon for the evening performance. It's true--when Fonteyn made her entrance the applause sounded all through her first variation. In those days we did not have the abundance of dance companies that we have today...but what we saw!!! Alonso-Youskevitch Giselle - breathtaking. (I cannot bear to watch the later videos of Alonso in Giselle--not even a shadow of what her Giselle was) Nora Kaye in "Pillar of Fire" and the early Rosella Hightower (I never forgave her for going to Europe - the best Myrtha, ever. We saw Balanchine with the Denham Ballet Russe and we were there for the beginning of New York City Ballet, starting with Ballet Society. Here I must confess we went up the fire escapes of the City Center to see the performances-- since they were all subscription and no one had that kind of money! performances
  14. I saw my firstlive ballet performance on April 23, 1944!! It was by Ballet Theatre (as it was then called)at the old Metropolitan Opera House in New York..The program opened with "Les Sylphides" with Markova and Dolin, followed by "Fancy Free"(its 3rd performance!) with the marvelous original cast of John Kriza, Harold Lang, Jerome Robbins, Janet Reed, Muiriel Bentley (who died just recently), Shirley Eckl and Rex Cooper. The closing ballet was "The Fair at Sorochinsk" with Andre Eglevsky and Anton Dolin (dancing on pointe)
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