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A Special Bond??


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In a recent 'blog' on Alicia Alonso I said the following about her partnership with

Youskevitch: There was a joy and romance that permeated the partnership of

Alonso and Youskevitch. People who saw them together thought they were in love, so compatible was their partnership which had a sensuous undertone. While

they were not romantically involved off stage, their performance shows something

extra not easily found when performers are of different sexual orientations.

Yes? No? well, it's a quiet Sunday and the snow is buffeting my windows. :D

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Emphatically yes!

I was blessed by seeing them dance the Act II pas from Giselle at an ABT Gala. That was their first reunion in over 20 years, but in no way was that visible. It opened my eyes to what a Truly Great Partnership could be. There was such intimacy, such mutual trust and vulnerability, and such unity in their movements. :wub: I will never forget it.

At the time, Alonso was well into her 60s and Youskevitch near 70, I'm pretty sure. It was, perhaps, the greatest piece of dancing by a couple that I've ever seen. It changed my life. Well, my ballet life.

Leaving the Met after that performance, a veteran balleto assured me and the other, younger members of our group that every performance they gave was just that intense, just that exciting.

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Guest gingembre

My impression is that she means they seem like a heterosexual couple when (I assume she is implying) Youskevitch is homosexual. Thus the sensual energy between them suprised her. *shrugs* Just my take on it.

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Guest gingembre

Ah, but that is why I said I assume she is implying :wub: I make no claim one way or the other, as I have nothing to base that knowledge off of. B)

I would think in its own way, partnering with some of a different orientation than you would be *easier*, as you need not be concerned about overstepping boundaries so much, as that person is very unlikely to think you are coming on to him/her!

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Well, I thought I was being clear. They did not 'seem' like a heterosexual couple--they 'were'. I have seen this underlying sexual attraction in other partnerships i.e., Martins and Farrell and Makarova on the videotape of her 'Swan Lake' with Ivan Nagy, something I don't see or feel in her Swan Lake with Anthony Dowell.

Carbro--I guess you got it. :devil::wub:

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I think there certainly have been partnerships where there was a spark, but I'm not sure it's always sexual orientation that's the key player. (I saw Kirkland and Dowell fall in love on stage during the snow scene in Baryshnikov's Nutcracker. Never seen anything like it before or since. They began the pas de deux as two Nice Ballet Partners and at the end, you were worried they'd run off together and wouldn't come back and do the second act.)

I can think of some men who handle their partners as though the'yre turning meat on a spit -- no sparks, no interest. And some have been ....I guess we have to go here.... straight and some have been gay. And the reverse.

Perhaps it's more a matter of acting ability than sexuality? Some people can pretend to be another person, and others cannot. I realize we're trying to do fouettes in quicksand here -- although it's a legitimate question and certainly something people think about and talk about. What is the chemical spark? It goes beyond real life sexuality. I talked with Kronstam (who was homosexual) about this in the interviews for my book. He would say "we had a chemistry" with Dancer A but "I always found it hard to make love on stage to [Dancer B]; there was just nothing between us."

(I thought your description of the Alonso-Youskevitch partnership was clear, atm, for what that's worth. Did you read that at his funeral, Alonso sent a wreath that said "For my Albrecht"?)

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I hadn't read Alexandra's post before I wrote the above. I think I know now what's being talked about here. But I was confused by the reference to Farrell and Martins by atm711, one of our most erudite and interesting posters, IMO. I guess my confusion was the point, though -- whether the dancers are straight or gay doesn't matter in great partnerships. Certainly Fonteyn and Nureyev come to mind, where not only sexual preference but also the difference in age didn't matter. Certain dancers do have a special bond which transcends categorization -- I'm thinking of Farrell and Arthur Mitchell. The fact is, as Balanchine said, that when you put a man and a woman on the stage, there's already a story. And it's usually a love story.

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It is interesting to wonder why one partnership works and another doesn't (I always found Makarova and Dowell's dancing together very much in concert -- so maybe this, like many other things, is in the eye of the beholder.)

Sometimes it's personality, sometimes it's situation -- not a ballet performance, but Twyla Tharp choreographed a dance for herself and several men -- dont' remembe the name of it; it was on the program she did for herself and Baryshnikov. In this dance, she was partnered. I was sitting quite close and it seemed, to me, as though she hated every minute of it, hated being off the ground, hated not being in control. No vulnerability here, no swooning into partners' arms. That was just personality, to me.

And sometimes it just might be the same kind of chemistry or lack of chemistry that happens, for no reason we can put a finger on, in ordinary mortals as well :wub:

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Having worked with a variety of dancers and been a dancer myself I do not think sexual orientation has anything to do with "chemistry" or as we call it here "that special bond". I have seen "the bond" and had it equally- each in it's own unique way- with different partnerships. So much is involved in the final analysis. Similar to marriage it is a blend of personality, physical compatibility ( in this case, as dancers), working habits (pretty important-I find), sense of humor, timing (both musically, in reflexes, and in life in general), and numerous other small details that make it work. It is hard for me to explain or understand why the magic reveals itself or not. I have seen wonderful partnerships between people that were not on the surface at all compatable. I have had great experiences with a few partners that my only relationship existed in the studio and on the stage. Our life together grew only in that environment, but was quite profound in that context. There were for me and as I witness- other times that the work is just that- professional but with no spark, try as the dancers do. To me the mystery remains as to why it happens and is part of what makes this art form and the beauty of live performance so endlessly intriguing!

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