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Ballet and New York City in the 1950's (was Nora Kaye)

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The dancer who remains vivid in my mind is Nora Kaye. I saw her first in 1946 or 1947 when she was with Ballet Theatre. She danced Tudor's "Pillar of Fire" and I, almost totally new to ballet, found myself almost on the point of tears. I saw her many times after that - in 'Lilac Garden", "Fall River Legend", in Herbert Ross's "Caprichos", Robbins's "The Cage" and "Age of Anxiety",

and a number of ballets long (and rightfully) gone.

Nora Kaye had a presence on stage, especially in the Tudor ballets, that was riveting. She had a flawless technique and her

sense of character was quite remarkable. Her Juliet in Tudor's ballet with Hugh Laing as her Romeo was almost as good as

Alica Markova for whom the role was created. Kaye had a great

feeling for the rhythm and melody of whatever she danced. My memory at this point is probably faulty, but I don't remember her ever giving anything but a totally involved performance in whatever she danced.

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Kurvenal -


These are dancers we'll never get to see, and ballets we only hear about from wonderful posters on the board like ATM and you.

You saw what we'll never get to see. Tell us more about Nora Kaye. Tell us about Caprichos. Can you tell us something about Hugh Laing?

Can you tell us more about Tudor's Romeo and Juliet? The only thing I've ever gotten to see are the costumes, which alas, are now too fragile to be worn - one reason the ballet has not been revived.

More more more.

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Yes, indeed. No detail is too small. I would also be interested in hearing more about Hugh Laing. What was his Romeo like? Did you see him when he went to NYCB with Kaye and Diana Adams? We don't mean to drop questions on you like hail, but you catch my drift, I'm sure.....

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Hello Kurvenal---it's a pleasure to hear from someone who saw the 40's and 50's performances--it's been a bit lonely here, and I sometimes feel like Methuselah!. I don't know if you agree, but Nora Kaye certainly did stretch herself artistically. Her real forte was in the Tudor and Robbins repertoire, but she did a commendable Odette, and also Black Swan PDD; also she tried her hand at Giselle. Many of the purists at the time criticised her at the time---lack of classical line, etc. I don'tknow if she could get away with it today---too much talk of 'emploi'---a term that was never bandied about back then. I agree with what you said about her performance in "Romeo & Juliet"--she was as good as Markova. I have never been satisfied with any other ballerina dancing 'Hagar'. I have seen the other celebrated dancer in the part--Sallie Wilson--and while I think Wilson succeeded in the final lyrical PDD, she was no match for Kaye's angst in the first half.

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We LOVE Methusalehs, atm! I wish we had an army of Methusalehs :) I'm always very happy to read about dancers and performances of the '40s and '50s -- I think it helps us understand the present more clearly and adds context to our discussions, so please, please, please, both of you, commit all of your memories to cybertalk!

Is there anyone you've seen since Kaye who is like her? She's one of the dancers that I can't imagine. I've seen bits of her on film, but not enough to get an idea of how she MOVED, and since there haven't been very many strong dramatic ballerinas -- who are also strong technicians -- I always think of her as occupying an isolated island in American ballet history. I've asked this question of others and one, who was no fan of hers, said, "Oh, there are plenty of bad dancers today" -- referring, I'm sure, to the fact that she she wasn't a classical dancer. The same thing was said about Von Aroldingen, and I think it's a problem of not understanding emploi, actually -- there's an honorable category of, in English, Character Ballerina. Lots of them in Russian ballet history, not so many acknowledged as such in the West where everybody has to be "classical."

I'd also like to hear more about Tudor's "Romeo and Juliet." I've seen only moments of Tudor ballets that worked for me -- he's a choreographer I have to take on faith. I saw the Romeo in 1976 with a cast of dancers whose performances I disliked intensely, and got no sense of what the ballet must have looked like when it was fresh and new.

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ATM, you say not even Sallie Wilson was a satisfying successor to Kaye's Hagar. Wilson was my first, but the role really gained dimension for me when Kathy Moore took it over. I can not say whether that was because Kathy danced it better, or her youth gave it new energy, or because I had matured as a viewer better able to appreciate it. But from this discussion, I am wondering if Moore and Kaye were comparable. I remember Moore most fondly as an extremely versatile dancer but unsuited to classical roles. She did one or two Myrthas shortly before her retirement, and while she was not faithful to the Romantic style yet, she certainly grasped the role's dramatic requirements. Sad to see her retire so young. :)

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I am amazed at the number of people who want to know about dancing in the past. Unfortunately, when I went to NYC in 1947 I was a naive provincial whose only contact with ballet was what I saw in movies. But when I saw Danilova in Scheherazade I was hooked! I picked up Denby's "Looking at the Dance" and with every page became more enthralled. Then I discovered Kamin's Ballet Shop in the mid 50's (between 54 and 55th, I think) on Sixth Ave. Books, magazines (many from London), glossy program booklets from every company with photos of all the dancers. And so my education began.

From the distance of 50 years some memories remain vivid, some are hazy and some are lost. Vivid - Magellanes in "Illuminations", "The Cage", the one performance given of Balanchine's "Le Baiser de la Fee", and of the last I remember only Magellanes climbing up a rope webbing to reach the Ice Maiden; Moncion and Tallchief in "Firebird": Moncion and Mounsey in "Prodigal Son", although Jerome Robbins and Tallchief were the dancers in the first performance of the revival. I saw Robbins dance that as well as "Tyl", "Symphony in C". His energy and enthusiasm, the cleanliness of line, his finely tuned turns, all of which he brought to his choerography and got other dancers to emulate.

Hugh Laing - great classical technique; probably the finest of Tudor male dancers, perhaps because of his close personal relationship with Tudor. As Romeo there was a youthfulness and a vulnerablity that came across so well. He had a beautiful body, darkly handsome features. Like all the dancers of that period his lines were always clean, his leaps beautifully arched. I only saw

the ballet twice, both times with him and Kaye. Friends kept telling me I had to see Markova as Juliet to understand the ballet, but I never did, and I found Kaye totally believable, fragile, moving

about the stage in eloquent and elegant style. The final scene in the tomb was heartbreaking. Her grief was immeasurable, but then with the knife in her hand, she rose en pointe, almost joyful, and killed herself. My God!

I wish I had seen the ballet a few more times because I had misgivings about the choreography and Delius's music, and I love

Delius. I still think that the ballet needed more space - perhaps if it had been done in two acts and expanded a bit. As it was, it lasted about an hour, I think. I am sorry that whole wondrous period was not able to be filmed. What a joy to be able to see

Fonteyn's first American "Sleeping Beauty", that company's "Daphnis and Chloe", so much Balanchine, Slavenska and Franklin in "Streetcar".



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Thank you, Kurvenal -- there are a lot of people here interested in dance history. The next time you have some time, you might want to look at some of the other threads on this forum -- you'll find some old friends. (You can select View All Posts from the pull-down menu at the top right of the board.)

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I've got to add my voice to the chorus -- it is WONDERFUL to read these reminiscences -- . The things you drop by the wayside -- Robbins's finely tuned turns, for example -- open up vistas that are simply fascinating.

Please keep adding to these as the mood strikes you -- if some dancer reminds you of , say, Violetta elvin -- or whoever-- please start up an entry and let it take yo uwherever it goes.... I can't say how refreshing these posts have been for me.

What was Danilova like in Scheherazade? Zobeide, my Lord!

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The fascination for me is hearing you talk about Laing as a polished classical dancer.

This goes against all my suppositions about him - I assumed him to be a great dramatic dancer with a beautiful body and presence, but more limited in technique. Please tell me more about how you viewed him as being classical.

And while we're at it, did you ever see the fellow I always confuse him with in the programs, Harold Lang?

Can I put Beriosova and Nadia Nerina on the request list? Did you get to see LeClercq dance? I'm thrilled you saw Baiser - did you get to see Seven Deadlies or the original Caracole? Did you see Agon early on?

I'm sorry if we're giving you a headache, but face it, you're a RESOURCE!

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Hugh Laing was trained as a classical dancer in England just as Nora Kaye was in this country. I think Laing was a member of Ballet Russe along with Franklin, Eglevsky, and Youskevitch and danced many of the classical roles before he became known as a Tudor dancer. And that, along with great dramatic characterization, requires a strong classical technique. All of Tudor's ballets require it just as Balanchine's do. Laing developed into a great Romeo, the Young Man in "Pilllar of Fire", building on his classical background.

Harold Lang had stopped dancing in ballets when I got to NYC.

In 1948 he was in Cole Porter's "Kiss Me Kate" and in 1952 Cole Porter's "Pal Joey" was revived, and Lang got the lead role. I saw him in that, but there was not much dancing for him. He did sing a lot of songs, however. After that I lost track of him.

Danilova as Zobeide - my first ballet. I remember very little, but it seems to me there was not a lot of dancing for her. A lot of rolling around on pillows as I recall. I thought the costumes and set looked rather faded. I think Ballet Russe did not have too many more seasons after 1948. Markova, Dolin, and Slavenska were guest artists, but I saw none of them dance then.

Beriosova I saw as Swanhilda in Sadler Wells Theatre Ballet company, the only time I saw "Coppellia". It is hazy in my memory but I do remember the final scene between her and David Blair as Franz, basically a pas de deux. She was a gorgeous looking young woman, radiant and a brilliant dancer.

Nadia Nerina I know was one of the Fairies in the Sadler Well's

"Cinderella" in which Moira Shearer danced the lead, but I have no recollection of Nerina, and little of Shearer. Shearer danced the "Blue Bird Variation" in "Sleeping Beauty", I believe, with Alexis Rassine. I wish I remembered that pair dancing. I do remember Beryl Grey as the "Lilac Fairy". My God, she all but stole the show from Fonteyn - if she had more to do, she might have.

She had such a majestic presence, so serene, moving with such grace. Her character is never required to dance rapidly, but her

arabesques were so beautifully held, her port de bras was flawless right down to her fingertips.

One of my favorite Balanchine ballets was "Orpheus" with Tanaquil Leclerq, Magellanes and Moncion. Now Tanaquil I do remember because I saw her in so many things so many times -

"Swan Lake", "Age of Anxiety", "Afternoon of a Faun", Ballade (and Nora Kaye also), "Bouree Fantasque", "Symphony in C", but

I never got to see "Caracole" for some reason, and she was in that; she danced the younger woman in "Lilac Garden" with Nora Kaye. Tanaquil was very willowy, almost underfed. She moved in a strangely remote way which many peole found unpleasant. She perhaps should not have done "Swan Lake" but she danced very

well in all the other roles. As Eurydice she was especially appealing, her long limbs put to great use in Balanchine's choreography. And she was superb in "La Valse", one of Balanchine's finest works. I also remember her in "Concerto Barocco" but I'm not sure who else was in that. I was saddened by her death a year or two ago.



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"Wedding Bouquet" was one of the ballets Sadler Wells brought over in 1949 along with things like "Checkmate", "Hamlet", and

"Facade". I recall those three but I somehow missed "Wedding Bouqet."

"Illuminations", one of my all-time favorite ballets, I saw at least a dozen times, if not more. Tanaquil LeClerq danced "Sacred Love" in it - a lovely score - I own at least five different singers, all men, singing it, but it was sung in the pit by a woman then.

Melissa Hayden was "Profane Love", and Magellanes was the Poet. LeClerq was absolutely lovely in that role. The sets and costumes were by Cecil Beaton - a gorgeous ballet to look at for

many reasons. I can still see Magellanes, holding his wounded arm outstretched, the other hand clutching it, as he walked through a tear in the gauze at the back of the stage, turned and

disappeared into a blinding sun. The line (in English) "I hang golden chains from star to star, and I dance" is all I need to bring

back that ballet to mind.

Balanchine choreographed a version of a "Sylvia" pas de deux for Tallchief and Eglevsky which I saw 37 times. I used to be able to rattle off all the positions Tallchief took. It was a nothing sort of thing but they dashed it off with grand panache and everyone loved it. All of the ballets in the company's repertoire were for the most part short - and that pas de deux got thrown in, I guess, whenever the duo were willing to dance it. "A second, and a second, and an attitude" was the way it went for her first solo.

All this reminiscing just seems to stir up a lot of long-dead memories. I haven't talked to anyone about the dance in ages.

By the way, check your PBS stations - Great Performances next week is doing Lars Lubovitch's "Othello" as part of the "Dance in

America" series.


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Fred, this is just marvelous.

I'm sorry, I'm going to keep pressing.

Do you recall a Balanchine work called Opus 34:Begleitmusik? It would have been done to the same music by Schoenberg played twice. Also, if there's anything you have to say about Ivesiana, I'm all ears.

Or Roma! Did you see Roma? These works are either lost or so changed that people's recollections are all we have to work on.

More questions: Where did you go to see dance. I'm sure City Center and the Old Met, but were there other places no longer there today?

And this is personal and please don't feel obliged to answer at all, but where did you live and about how much did it cost? It has nothing to do with ballet, I know. . .How much did a ticket to NYCB cost at City Center?

Alexandra, do you think we can rename the topic, it's grown well beyond Nora Kaye. I want people to be able to find it.

P.S. Fred - Could you have seen Diana Adams with Leclercq in Barocco? They are paired in the ballet in a kinescope from that time.

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I did not see either Roma or the Schoenberg work you refer to.

I remember reading about Roma but nothing more. For someone who asked I also did not see Agon. I think my friend Arthur Mitchell, the black dancer, was featured in that.

As for places where ballet was performed - I went most often to the City Center, sometimes 3-4 times a week. Top prices were $3.60 for orchestra, but I used to get a balcony seat for $1.80 and then move down. During the week the audiences were sparse and there were lots of empty seats, until the company's fame spread. Ballet Theatre performed most often at the old Met, but I also saw them at the Center Theatre which is gone. I think it was on 6th Ave. around 48th St. I also saw ballet at the Century Theatre - the Slavenska-Frankling company - that was up on 7th Ave., the last block before Central Park, on the west side of the block. Long gone! I saw Martha Graham at a Broadway Theatre around Broadway and 50th St. Then the 92nd St. Y for recitals like Janet Collins.

I lived at various places - 13th St. between 6th and 7th, Waverly Place where I shared a duplex with two other fellows - $50 each per month - then on 79th St. between 2nd and 3rd for

$48 per month, and also a cold water flat on King St. west of 6th Ave. which was $45 a month. The subway was 10 cents, Broadway shows were about $3 to $5 for top seats. I think the orchestra of the Met was only $3.60. I still have programs with stubs around somewhere. At one time I had every playbill for every event I saw - I pasted in the stub, and wrote a brief review in the margins. Almost everything got lost in a fire back in 1972.


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Mel - Heh, the Met continues the tradition of being more expensive to this day. I wish someone had a clearer memory of Opus 34, though there's a good section about in in Repertory in Review.

Fred - If you're curious, there are internet sites that can tell you more about what happened to some of the places you knew.

The Internet Broadway Database is an amazing tool. Here's their page on the "New Century Theater" - a/k/a the Century.


The Slavenska/Franklin company played there in November of '52. (Also playing there was the Marquis de Cuevas' company, Jose Greco's Flamenco and the Azuma Kabuki) I live a few blocks from that site (932 7th Avenue) but for the life of me, I can't recall what's on the spot. I'll look. That's the scary thing about NYC history. The city builds on itself.

By the way, Freddie Franklin still performs. I saw him as Friar Laurence in Romeo and Juliet last Wednesday. Mr. Mitchell was in the original cast of Agon, I reported on his coaching of the ballet for Dance View (the magazine Alexandra publishes) about a year ago when he coached it to dancers from Dance Theatre of Harlem.

The Y still produces dance, but much less often at the main concert hall, it's usually done at other theaters around town (a new one, the Duke, is on 42nd Street).

Is King Street in the Village? We have hot water in all apartments by law now, but I don't think I want to tell you the rents :) I hope you're able to visit from Pennsylvania and see what's changed maybe even a performance or two.

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Ah ha!

Found the new home. Checked out the website and put it in my favorites. I had no idea so many musicals played there - "Inside USA" with Bea Lillie singing "Oh Come ye, oh come ye to Pittsburgh!" I don't even recall what the theatre was like and I saw "Kiss Me Kate" there as well as the de Cuevas ballet company.

I don't know if it was that company but I recall seeing a ballet danced to a well known symphony; one of those ballets that Leonide Massine loved to do - it seemed rather dreadful and I recall one scene where dancers seemed to form a human ramp and a dancer scaled up as to a mountain top. I checked Beaumont's book of ballets and he mentions "Choreartium" danced to Brahm's Fourth, and "Les Presages" to Tchaikovsky's Fifth, but the description of neither rings a bell. If anyone knows what the ballet was, I would love to know.

Concerto Barocco I saw many times. I know Tallchief, Adams, LeClerq and Pat Wilde all danced in it at various performances, but I could not say for sure which two I saw. It could have been all of them but in what combinations I don't know.

I lived at 47 King St. on the north side of the street. An apartment on the street had an arched passageway which led into a courtyard. At the back was a three story apartment with

six apartments. I lived on the third floor on the left. There was a fireplace and I bought wood from some company in the Bronx. They delivered it - a half cord I think, and stacked it up under the stairs on the ground floor! In the kitchen was a pot-belly stove in which I burned Presto Logs. I had to share a john with the apartment on the right side of the floor. A bathtub in the kitchen had a big flat lid over it which served as a work space to prepare meals, and when I wanted to bathe, the lid, on hinges, was lifted up and hooked against the wall. The building was built against a much taller building which housed printing firms and sometimes my apartment quivered for hours on end when the presses were all running. I loved it.

Arthur Mitchell was a friend of mine before he ever got to NYCB.

He was dancing with some little company run by a woman, and a friend of mine, a photographer, was hired to take some shots.

I used to help her out and Arthur became one of our circle. His success was well deserved.

Ballet did so much for me. I learned so much music I might never have heard, and so much more - Britten's Illuminations, for example. I knew nothing of Rimbaud or Verlaine, but I eventually read biographies of both. It's a bitch to read but Auden's "Age of Anxiety" got read because of Robbins's ballet. And so on.

I am going to begin ordering some ballet videos. I already ordered one of Russian dancers, but I can't recall the name. I know I will get lots of suggestions from posters of Ballet Alert.

Now I am going to subscribe to whatever I should.


of them

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I'm with Carbro, Kurvenal -- I'm VERY eager to hear more. "GO LONG!"

BY the way, I find your screen name poignant -- wasn't Kurwenal Tristan's faithful friend, whom Isolde kinda muscled out of hte way at the end? There's an ancient traditional poetic form, called "the lay of the last survivor" -- "I alone have lived to tell this tale." The stories you're telling have something of that quality -- that bathtub in the middle of he kitchen doubling as a table, the vibration from the printing presses running like magic finger s through the floor.....

DId you know Remy Charlip -- modern dancer, lived downtown for FREE, I think, or 5 dollars or something in a building with no heat or something, danced in Merce Cunningham's first company, designed costumes, painted, drew, wrote children's books, took 2 or 3 classes a day -- I'm not getting ANY of this right, he told me this years and years ago when he first moved out here to San Francisco, so I'm misremembering all the details, but I do have hte FEELING he gave me, of New York being a place where artists were free to gather and do what they do and collaborate adn blow each others' minds, and you didn't have any money but you didn't NEED any.... and everybody went to City ballet and went up that back staircase and sneaked in and Edward Gorey was there every performance..// believe me, there are LOTS of us who really want to know these things.

I do wish I'd seen Illuminations -- and that "Sylvia " pas de deux -- I don't know if you saw it danced later, by Cheryl Yaeger and Julio Bocca, back in hte late 80's, but they made it a HEAVENLY thing -- was it the same steps? had Mr B changed it?a simple petite jete turned into a lift was one of hte prettiest things I have EVER seen.....

I thnk my teacher Sally Streets was in Opus 34 -- .... wan't that hte one where everybody was all bandaged up for one section -- they asked Balanchine "what does this mean?" and he said "Don't worry, the critics will tell us..."

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This is such a wonderful thread - this is why I come to Ballet Alert - for the memories and the passion and everybody's ability to convey their feeelings and thoughts in the most evocative way.

Leigh said that the scary thing about NYChistory is that the city feeds on itself. But that's what's fascinaing and exciting about the city. That's also what's scary and fascinating and exciting about ballet. There is always this delicate balance between wanting to know what went before and wanting to create and interpret in a wholly new and individual way.

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Fred -

Thank you for all the inspiration. I had dinner with my mother tonight and we had a great conversation about what daily life in NYC was like for her when she was young (the WWII years). Interesting to hear her talk about Fireside Chats and Fiorello LaGuardia, and how she doesn't particularly like using the phone because they did not even have one until she was in her teens.

As a child in the 30s Mom lived in various tenements in the Lower East Side until her family moved into cooperative housing (the Amalgamated on Grand St.) I told her about where you lived and she smiled and said they had it a lot better once she got into that building, "hot water, a bathroom with a tub and an elevator!"

Looping back to our discussion on the arts and childhood, I asked Mom if they had a phonograph, and found it very telling that she said my grandfather had bought a stereo (they were not wealthy) and that there was always classical music in the house.

I asked Mom if she had gone to the theater - she remembered her mother taking her uptown to see Watch on the Rhine.

When my parents married ('56) they also lived in the Amalgamated. Their rent was $56 monthly. Mom worked as a teacher in the NY Public Schools and made about $4,000 yearly.

Sorry for wandering off-topic, but to me, the background of what daily life was like in NYC helps me understand what the ballets were like.

Ballet Society was before you moved to NYC, right? Can you tell us something about de Cuevas' company?

[Editing to add - I'm asking around to see if I can ID the ballet you thought was a Massine work, Fred.

And for everyone interested in that period, one of the most vivid descriptions of an artist's life in NYC at that time is in Paul Taylor's autobiography Private Domain. His circumstances while working for Graham are very similar to the stories Charlip told you, Paul]

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Fred -

Maybe the work you saw is Massine's ballet to Beethoven's Seventh Symphony? Each of the three people I asked came back with that possibility.

Adding per these responses - Cincinnati Ballet will be reviving all of the Seventh Symphony in March of next year, and many of the large-scale Massine ballets got preserved on film. They are at the Library of Performing Arts' Dance Collection with soundtracks restored.

Even if you can't get to NYC, you can see what's in the collection, the catalog is accessible from your computer.

http://catnyp.nypl.org/search~b1o1c1i1p1r1a1 to search the Dance Collection catalog.

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In answer to your question, Paul, yes, Kurvenal (correctly Kurwenal) was Tristan's right hand, and in Wagner's opera, he dies defending his lord aginst Melot, an enemy of Tristan. Then Isolde arrives, and the rest you know. My favorite opera, by the way, the Mt. Everest of operas for me.

The name Reme Charlip stirs up some memories but I cannot say I remember him at all.

And, Leigh, your mother's memories are priceless, and I am glad

she is alive to relate them. NYC will always be a magical city for me, but back when I was in my 20's it was especially magical. I did go to NYCB by sneaking in many times. They used to print one program for the whole week, and each night might have four or five ballets on the program. I would go on Tuesday night, keep my program, go to the bar across the street from City Center - I think it was called "Tosca" then - and have a drink and wait for intermission after the first ballet. I would then leave my coat at the bar, go over with my program in hand, and wander in with everyone else and there were always seats. And I might get to be there three and four nights running.

Many of the early lovers of NYCB began to resent it when the company's fame began to grow, and they had to rub shoulders with people, many of whom seemed to know nothing about the ballet but were going because it all at once became the thing to do - Balanchine was becoming known as a great choreographer, and with a company with names like Tallchief, Eglevsky, Magallenes, Robbins, Kaye, Laing, Haydn, Reed, Adams, and all the others - and a longer season than any other company could do in NYC - tickets suddenly became hard to get. I wasn't sure I could sneak in and find a seat anymore! Damn!

I got to meet a lot of different artists - I once attended a cocktail party given by Elie Siegmeister, the composer, and had a marvelous conversation with a violinist from the NY Philharmonic; and one night I went to a collage party at the apartment of a young modern dancer and choreographer, James Mainwaring, I think, and some dancers from NYCB were there, including Tanaquil LeClerq, and I was so in awe of her that I could'n't put a sentence together without sounding totally stupid!

About Op. 34, I know nothing, but Paul's comment about the bandages reminds me of Babilee's ballet "L'Amour et son Amour".

Besides Babilee and Nathalie Philappart as Cupid and Psyche, there were two male dancers, one of them Ralph McCracken whom I knew, and they had white strips of cloth wound around their bodies, going from their ankles up around their torsos and around their arms. Cocteau did the sets and costumes. The music by Franck was the best thing about the ballet. That was in 1951 when the two were guest artists with ABT at the old Met.

The de Cuevas company only came to NYC one time that I can recall. I know I saw a ballet by Ana Ricarda, "Del Amor y del Muerte" with Marjorie Tallchief and George Skibine. The ballet was very Spanish with a lot of Spanish dancing, lots of skirts flying, anguished, angry looks between the two principal dancers,

and lots of black and red colors. Both the principals had come to this country with great credentials, but this ballet did not give me

any idea of how good they really were. I am sure Rosella Hightower was with the company then, but I don't know now why I didn't get to see more of them. They must have been there at least a week.

I was there when Jacque d"Amboise joined NYCB and that was an exciting time. I am sure he began in the chorus, but it seems like he appeared full-blown in "Picnic at Tintagel", a ballet by Ashton based on the Tristan legend. I found it to be a splendid work. D'Amboise as Tristan, Diana Adams as Isolde were awesome together - he was so young and so athletic - nothing seemed beyond him, and she was one of the loveliest women in the company, and so elegant - and heartbreaking - in that role.

And there was a dancer, Barnett, I think, who was Merlin, and he was fabulous. A really fine character dancer. I somewhat doubt that that ballet survived, however. Sad


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