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Favorite Male Dancers

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My all-time favorite Jose Carreno. His partnering is so incredibly sensitive, and I love his need to keep an interaction going with his ballerina. He is so musical, always relishes the time he spends on stage. What gifts he brings to his audience.

I only saw Igor Youskevitch once, when he was probably about 70. He was partnering Alicia Alonso in the Act II pas of Giselle, and after 25 or so years of separation, they danced like a single being. The love between them was palpable. Amazing performance.

More: Bart Cook, Andris Liepa, Arne Villlumsen.

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Favourite of all time - Stephen Sheriff. He was an amazing all-rounder, equally impressive in demi-charactère, classical and modern. A strong technique, intelligence, humour, and eagerness in his dancing. His Puck in "the Dream" was dazzling, and his "Two Pigeons" almost brought me to tears. One of the greatest regrets of my life is missing his Bluebird. he could act, too. He never quite achieved what he ought - I had the feeling that he held back just a fraction when he had a chance of a major success, although he certainly took risks in what he did. He had a wonderful broad smile as well - and clearly loved his dancing. I understand he's doing some teaching now, but if anyone knows any more, I'd love to hear.

The first dancer who really excited me was Richard Slaughter, who I first saw with Ballet for All. He took risks in his dancing that almost brought the house down - but carried them off. He disappeared for a while, then resurfaced with London City Ballet, where he was still literally breathtaking.

Coming up a few years after Sheriff - and, I think, something of a protegé - was Phillip Broomhead. For purely classical roles he was my favourite (Sheriff lacked a bit of height) - wonderful lines, good technique, honest, always gave his best, although in his early days his partnering was a little suspect and his acting ... well ... no better than average (I may still have a review of his Prince in "Sleeping Beauty" which describes him as resembling a labrador puppy). He stayed in London a year too long - his dancing started to stagnate in his last season and I was happy (for him) to hear he was going. I'd love to see him again; the reviews I've read indicate he's developed the strength and depth he promised.

Talking of acting - Michael Batchelor. The biggest ham of all! But a joy to watch, with elegance in every move, and a technique that was always spot on. Another one who came over the footlights as intelligent, honest and deeply in love with his art, as well as having a conscience off-stage. Sadly missed.

From London Festival Ballet - briefly, and a victim of the Schaufuss era I think - Raffaele Paganini. Another one who could turn on the fireworks, and always seemed to want to give his very best to his audience.

Not only does this list reveal my age, but I've realised it seems to infer a preference for left-footers. Is there something in that?


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I think we did have a thread like this long ago, bellepoele, but it's good to have it agian -- thank you! And thank you, Jane D. I think this is the longest post I've read of yours -- more, please. Most of those dancers are unfamiliar to me, so it was wonderful to read about them.

I won't say who my favorites are dancing today, but my favorites among those I've seen who are no longer dancing (aside from Kronstam, of course :D ) were Nureyev and Dowell.

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as a child (me, that is - not HIM), i was wowed by nureyev dancing 'corsaire' (pas de deux) with fonteyn, and the full giselle. what an introduction to live ballet, eh? no wonder i've been hooked ever since! :D

over time: anthony dowell - yes, of course. (i never got to see baryshnikov live in anything classical - only in 'white oak' performances.) but my personal favourite: bruce sansom, the purest purist. ;)

also jonathan cope. the AB's greg horsman, i have only seen on video - but: what a technician - and i mean that in the nicest possible way - a lovely gentlemanly style, not unlike sansom's (but a touch more macho).

irek mukhamedov in the right role - spartacus for example.

but NOW, in this day and age and in MY neck of the woods (well actually now in columbus, ohio, at ballet met...sad to say ...but he's FROM here, & no doubt one day will be back): the lovely daryl brandwood.

i could name lots of others in particular roles, but these are the best of the best. fond memories. :D

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For me, Henning Kronstam, Nureyev and Max Zomosa at the Joffrey. I can't think of three dancers more different physically or stylistically but when they were on stage you never took your eyes off them, no matter what fireworks were going on anywhere else. Each of them was very intense and focussed - the much over-used word is charisma - and Kronstam and Zomosa the very best actors I have ever seen on a ballet stage. Nureyev was an actor, although I never saw the same spark he had with Fonteyn when he danced with anyone else.

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Many of the above plus Erick Bruhn and Ivan Nagy. He was very handsome, a wonderful partner and a sensitive, soulful actor with abeautiful line.

Peter Martins was in his hey day a magnificent dancer and had great speed for some so tall. Very musical, witness his performance in the variations in Chaconne. His partnership with Farrell had many, many memorable moments.

Also, Sean Lavery - a career tragically cut short.

My biggest regret - never having see Christopher Gable.

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You wrote:

but my personal favourite: bruce sansom, the purest purist. ;)

also jonathan cope. the AB's greg horsman, i have only seen on video - but: what a technician - and i mean that in the nicest possible way - a lovely gentlemanly style, not unlike sansom's (but a touch more macho).

Both of the above came out of the Royal Ballet School in the mid-late 1970's, and their style is what you could expect to see in the RB through until the mid 1980's when the company stopped drawing exclusively from the school. Cope and Sansom must have been within a year or so (if that) of Stephen Sheriff at school, and I was watching them at the same time as Sheriff, Batchelor and Broomhead (see my posting above). At the time I preferred Sansom to Cope, but I stick with my original list.

I'll check through the RB videos frpm that era to see who was dancing what role in them. If I remember correctly, Stephen Sheriff was down for Mercutio on the night it was to be recorded, but was replaced by Mark Freeman at short notice (after Sheriff handed in his resignation, but before he left). Freeman (died a few years back) came above Sansom on my list, but didn't make my top three.


Saw Baryshnikov as Romeo a few times and, at first, I couldn't think what his performance reminded me of. Then I overhead someone say "He always reminds me of Jimmy Cagney running up and down those steps" - he was right.


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I had many favorites at ABT, NYCB, Stuttgart and Royal Ballet in the 70s and 80s, but wanted to mention Joey Carmen and Chris Jensen who danced with Joffrey in the early 70s.

They were both medium size and could dance allegro parts, "Interplay" being an example, and then come back after intermission to dance Ashton's "Monotones II" with superb skill control.

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Jane D - yes, i am familiar with all of these dancers. are you saying you preferred mark freeman to bruce sansom? (shock/horror!) - if so, can you express in what way?

stephen sheriff had left the company, just when/before i came to london, and i never saw him dance. i knew people who liked him as a person, but i have never heard anyone speak of him - as a dancer - as highly as you do, which is nice. :)

if you liked mark freeman, perhaps julian hosking's name will bring back good memories, too? he made a lovely 'paris' in R&J. and maybe mark silver? broomhead was a bit OTT for me (although FANTASTIC as the zebra in 'still life') - that probably means they appreciate him in houston, assuming he is still there...wayne eagling on a good night was great. and stephen jefferies was always wonderful, though by the time i was in london, he had mostly moved on into the demi-character roles.

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I always found Bruce Sansom a little bland. He was a clean dancer, with good technique and a decent amount of style - pleasnt to watch - but I could never see any real character to him. Mark Freeman wasn't always neat, but he had a presence that came over the footlights. On one occasion he was the wolf in the Red Riding Hood divertissement - full head mask and no programme credit - but there was something about his bearing and presence which told me who it was; he was surprised that he could be recognised. A bit intense at times, but I was always aware he was on stage, which never reached me with Sansom, Must say that I never liked Agon until I saw Freeman in one of the solo roles, and suddenly realised what it SHOULD look like - the only person on that stage who didn't look almost apologetic for attempting that style.

I can see what you mean about Broomhead being OTT at times - the "labrador puppy" performance was one of those. You must have been too late in London for Varii Capricci, which was OTT in the extreme, and Broomhead (one of the four males) seemed to lap it up. There were times when he pushed to far on stage - I can remember more than once hearing his calf smack against his head on cabrioles - but I'd rather that than too little effort. From what you say about the time of your arrival in London, you must only have caught the end of his time with RB, and his last year was not his best.

Stephen Jefferies. I agree - a good technique, very dependable, and a pleasure to watch. The first four or five times I saw Wayne Eagling I had actually biought tickets for Dowelll, so he started out as a disappointment to me but, as you say, on the right night he could be brilliant. I never really liked Julian Hosking, although I can't say why - even now his name or picture provokes a slight reaction, and it must be 15-20 years. Ashley Page - the difinitive Prodigal Son, but not the right personality for the the bulk of the RB repertoire at the time.

Returning to Sheriff - best memories include Puck climbing half way up the set before launching into a solo of dazzling turns, brushing the bushes on both sides of the stage, to be followed by Dowell as Oberon with a look on his face that he did NOT want to follow that; Swan Lake pdq when he and Broomhead made their entrances from opposite corners at incredible speed and ended up posed centre stage about an inch apart (that performance got a standing ovation in Hong Kong); Neapolitan dance so fast and furious that it left me out of breath watching; Varii Capricci when he was the only one of the four males who avoided looking camp despite the cotume; Two Pigeons in which he was both passionate and vulnerable to the extreme. Also - with Dance Advance - in Sea of Troubles - a very powerful performance.


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JaneD - you and i must just have very different taste, as i DID see Sea of Troubles, and was troubled by how forgettable it was! (especially given that it was quite a coup, for dance advance to get a macmillan gift of that nature). that aside, however, and not meaning to turn this into a 'sheriff' thread - i recognise your meaning about freeman in a balanchine work, & agree with you. i can picture some of the things you describe sheriff doing, and your words do bring his abilities to life. thanks. :)

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I've seen many wonderful male dancers and can't pick a favorite, but then I never saw the "greats"--Baryshnikov, Nureyev.

Some favorites:

As Jester, Daniel Meja, who used to dance with Boston Ballet. I probably saw him dance 12 or more years ago, and to this day, he is the standard when I see a Jester. None has measured up so far.


I liked Zelensky, esp. his jumps.

There is a very young (23 or 24, I was told) and even younger-looking Kirov dancer I saw this fall. I think his name is Anton Korsakov, but not sure about that.

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Your list of dancers certainly conjured up some memories for me Jane D, some very idiosyncratic choices there if you don't mind my saying so. Interesting that you mostly preferred corps de ballet dancers to principals such as Dowell or Wall who were the acknowledged forerunners at that time.

I was very happy to read what you had to say about the late Michael Batchelor though. I used to know Michael quite well as he frequently took outside classes at Pineapple Dance and when I finished my class I would always go to watch his. Afterwards we would go to the canteen for a good gossip: he was very funny and VERY indiscreet! but I always thought that his personality was a little too assertive for him to flourish in a ballet company though. I'm so glad that you remember him.

I'm surprised you didn't care for Julian Hosking as I always remember him as a very popular dancer. Many of us considered his Arabian dance in Nureyev's Nutcracker a kind of benchmark performance in the role. Sadly he died young also.

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Ah, Michael Batchelor. I saw him several times during the Royal's 1981 season in New York and liked him very much. He seemed in the Dowell line — elegant, classical, lyrical. And the most beautiful legs I've ever seen on a male dancer.

I was very sorry to hear, not long after these performances, that he decided to quit dancing altogether. And I hadn't realized he died. So sad.

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...the most beautiful legs I've ever seen on a male dancer...
SO important, isn't it ari? ;) :)

re michael batchelor (who i never saw): when JaneD says "sadly missed", i THINK she means 'from the stage'? (hosking is no longer with us, and freeman: i don't know about, in this sense.)

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Unfortunately both Batchelor and Freeman are deceased. I attended a very moving memorial service for Micahel Batchelor at St Paul's Cover Garden over ten years ago; Mark Freeman was more recent, but still quite a few years ago.

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Favorite dancers are such a personal thing, But my fav is Johan Kobborg of the Royal Ballet. Apart from being an amazing dancer and mime, theres something (in my eyes at least) that hits really deep down! I saw this one performance of Manon with him and Alina C, and my god .............. i cant describe how abosolutly in touch with his character he was. AMAZING!!! :huepfen: and :sweating: and :o and :D and :speechless: and :wub: all at once.

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