Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Mel Johnson

Grand Old Men and Women

Recommended Posts

On Teachers, vrsfanatic and I began talking about our old teachers, and what has happened to them and their generation. One of mine, Regis Powers, a veteran of Ballet Theater and Ballet Russe is still alive and teaching at the age of 85, and another, Thomas Armour of Miami, a student of Olga Preobrajenska, is still going at age 95. Anybody with any other inputs of the teachers from the earlier world of ballet (say, pre-1945) still at work? Of course we must not leave out Antonina Tumkovsky!

Share this post


Link to post

Marina Semenova of the Bolshoi and Sulamith Messerer, now in UK are still going at 90+

Share this post


Link to post

Janina Ciunovas (Cunova in the Warren book), just retired from teaching, although I find it hard to believe, in Melbourne, Australia. Age...let us say 89 +, afterall she "is a lady and ladies are not supposed to tell!"

Last I heard, Yvonne Patterson, originally in first Serenade cast as well as Ballet Society, was still giving company class a few times a week at Pennsylvania Ballet.

Share this post


Link to post

As far as I know, Andrei Kramarevsky still teaches at SAB.

Share this post


Link to post

Jocelyn Vollmar at SF Ballet - she joined the company in the late 30's. She's still going strong. And gorgeous.

Share this post


Link to post

Lorna London (her real name, honest) from the original Ballet Caravan still maintains a school in Larchmont, NY.

Share this post


Link to post

Freddie Franklin won't be 90 until next June, but he's in residence at Barnard this year, and there were two evenings devoted to his career last week -- a panel discussion and a film evening. Dale Brauner has a piece about them on DanceViewTimes:

Living History

Another teacher in Warren's book, Larry Long (of Chicago) is still teaching, I think.

Share this post


Link to post

Anyone know what Marika Besobrasova is up to? Last I heard, she was still alive and teaching.

Share this post


Link to post

This thread is an interesting one that might bear renewing, particularly to see who of the grand old teachers are still with us.

Barbara Newman's Grace Under Pressure has an interesting interview w/ Richard Thomas, who apparently only teaches kids at Elliott Feld's school. He is a very colorful, successful teacher, w/ his own unique perspective on the dance world now & then. He must be about 79 now.

Dick Andros used to teach at Mr. Thomas' studio, & has his own web site w/lots of interesting dance history. He may still be teaching at Steps? Another wonderful personality.

Share this post


Link to post

Dick Andros is listed among the faculty of Ballet Academy East. Don Paradise was also an elderly man when I took classes there twenty years ago and is still on the faculty.

Jocelyn Vollmar was mentioned earlier in the thread. She was one of the people in the video tributes to Francia Russell and Kent Stowell. I would have thought she was in her early 60's, but that math doesn't work if she danced with SFB in the 30's.

Share this post


Link to post

Mme.Messerer has since passed away; I think Semyonova is still alive but not teaching any longer, and of course Freddie Franklin is 91 now! (91, right?)

Share this post


Link to post

Did you catch Freddie Franklin performing in ABT's Swan Lake on PBS last week? Amazing, truly grand fellow.

Thx for the heads up on D. Andros at BAE, Helene.

Share this post


Link to post
Did you catch Freddie Franklin performing in ABT's Swan Lake on PBS last week? Amazing, truly grand fellow.

Even tonight at ABT, as Wolfgang again. :speechless-smiley-003: Looking sprightly and more alert than most of the young dancers! Once he caught my eye, he held it quite tenaciously. Details end of the week on the Swan Lake thread. :wub:

Share this post


Link to post

Alexandra, The Freddie Franklin link no longer works-- could you give us a current URL to the "living History" piece?

What a great idea, for McKenzie to cast Franklin as the tutor..... Such things should happen more often --

At SFB, we ought to see Vollmar onstage at court in Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty. Way too often, the extras are just that -- tall kids from the school who have no idea how to comport themselves onstage.

Share this post


Link to post

Marika Bessobrasova is 85 plus and still teaching at the Princess Grace School in Monaco.

Share this post


Link to post

Henry Danton, original cast of Symphonic Variations is still teaching. He is 86!

Share this post


Link to post

I can certainly verify that Madame Besobrasova is stillactively teaching--I went to the Academie de Danse Classique and she is still as powerful as ever!! Although she doesn't really do much physical demonstrating, her words are just as (if not more!!!) powerful....she knows SO MUCH. I am extremely excited and honored to be able to attend the Academie this fall!! :)

~*~Carmen~*~

Share this post


Link to post

Melissa Hayden, at 82, teaches year-round and is presently teaching at NCSA's SI. An unhappy mother on an unmoderated ballet board slammed her pretty badly because of her daughter's frustration with Hayden's classes. The mother thought that teachers who can't demonstrate should be "put out to pasture" and suggested that no one over 62 should be allowed to teach.

This made me think of all the great teachers, from Russia and throughout Europe and Asia, to the West, whose incredible knowledge and skills we would be without in a world where ballet teaching was left only to the young and wholly physically able. I don't think we would have gotten anywhere near as far to the level of ballet we now enjoy without the venerable "old" teachers. Their rich history adds so much depth to the training of a young ballet dancer. To be in their presence (and to consider the connections they had in the ballet world to other historical figures -- all the partners they had and dancing colleagues and the teachers they had) is such a privilege that I can't begin to imagine what the dancer who never had one of these teachers in their life is missing.

My daughter had the unique opportunity to be taught by Eddie Villella 3 years ago. Ludmila Morkovina was her teacher at the Kirov Academy. For the past 2 years she has studied and been coached by Estonia's former prima ballerina and highly respected ballet pedagogue Tiiu Randviir, who is in her late 60's. These oppportunities were such precious, invaluable gifts, for both my daughter and me!

Can you imagine where ballet would have been without the dancers who were taught by Alexandra Danilova, Felia Doubrovska, Alexander Pushkin, Natalia Dudinskaya, Vera Volkova, Margaret Craske, Stanley Williams, Alla Osipenko, Irina Kolpakova?

I'd trade 10 spunky, energetic, able-to-demonstrate-everything younger teachers for one who has the wisdom of the ballet ages to impart to my child.

Share this post


Link to post
Melissa Hayden, at 82, teaches year-round and is presently teaching at NCSA's SI. An unhappy mother on an unmoderated ballet board slammed her pretty badly because of her daughter's frustration with Hayden's classes. The mother thought that teachers who can't demonstrate should be "put out to pasture" and suggested that no one over 62 should be allowed to teach.

:)

I'd trade 10 spunky, energetic, able-to-demonstrate-everything younger teachers for one who has the wisdom of the ballet ages to impart to my child.

:tiphat:

Are smilies the "mime" of internet ballet talk?

Share this post


Link to post

One of my favorite sections of Karsavina's memoirs is about her time in Italy, studying with a former ballerina from La Scala (I cannot remember the name right now, and can't find the book to double check) who taught from a chair, sometimes eating a leg of chicken. She was known for her strength on point, and was able to impart that wherever she was sitting...

Share this post


Link to post
Jocelyn Vollmar was mentioned earlier in the thread.  She was one of the people in the video tributes to Francia Russell and Kent Stowell.  I would have thought she was in her early 60's, but that math doesn't work if she danced with SFB in the 30's.

Jocelyn Vollmar must have been a prodigy if she danced with SFB in the 30's---her career was in the 50's and I have fond memories of her with Ballet Society and ABT.

Share this post


Link to post

Agnes DeMille appeared in a documentary, teaching one of her ballet's (I don't remember which) to young ABT dancers. It's amazing what she could convey, seated in a chair, using (a) her arms, head and upper torso, and (b) a shared ballet vocabulary.

Share this post


Link to post
Sign in to follow this  
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...