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Did the role mature the dancer?

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In the "Highlights, Lowpoints, Disappointments" thread, Michael writes:

Carbro I disagree about Janie Taylor being anyhow bland in Square Dance. She has quietly become a finished classical dancer, one of the most fascinating and beautiful to watch of her generation. So Blond but such a Sylph. The wildness is under control - It's become merely the extraordinary color which characterizes her dancing. Her suddenly maturing, after last Spring's absence, was more unpredictable

Prior to seeing her in Divertimento #15 in DC. this year, I’d only seen Taylor in the Lew Christensen Pas de deux City Ballet danced in 1999. I remember being thrilled by the wild quality Michael cites, as well struck by her poise at such a young age. Thinking of her in Divertimento now, I find myself wondering what accounts for the maturation Michael mentions; specifically, did being cast in this ballet, which is known for its decorousness and its exquisite perfume, help develop that classical quality?

I know that Balanchine would sometimes cast corps dancers in principal’s roles in order to mature them, and if I’m not mistaken Martins has continued the tradition. So I'm curious: who remembers particular dancers being dramatically shaped and matured by a role? Have certain certain ballets historically been used to mature dancers by bringing out this or that quality? Are there historically significant examples of dancers blossoming after being cast in a challenging role, or of already celebrated dancers developing new facets through new roles?

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Two ballerinas come to mind--Maria Tallchief and Farrell. Tallchief fits into the 'wildness' category; there was a wonderful freedom to her dancing in her soloist days. Instead of being all over the place, Balanchine reined in all this energy, and it was startling to see her Eurydice----she started to become a ballerina with this role. This was completed the following year with 'Firebird'. For me, there have always been two Farrells---pre and post Bejart. She left a soloist and came back a ballerina.

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