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Gelsey Kirkland


John-Michael

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The last I heard she was teaching in Australia, but she also teaches at a Summer Intensive in Florida some years -- I don't remember which school, sorry! I interviewed an ABT dancer a few years ago who had been coached by Kirkland in the late '90s (she had a very positive experience) so she must do coaching on the side, as well.

She's the dancer I miss the most. I'll always feel cheated not having had the chance to watch her grow up on stage. She did a guest appearance on "L.A. Law" (playing a ballerina who was really really mad at her artistic director) and did a few bits of "Giselle" over the credits, and she was still wonderful.

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Gelsey is teaching at Broadway Dance Center in NYC. Her first class was on Monday, April 4, and she is teaching four more times. I was lucky enough to be able to take her class and she gave a wonderful class.

Edited by Sherellen
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She's the dancer I miss the most.  I'll always feel cheated not having had the chance to watch her grow up on stage.

I agree. I saw Kirland in the early NYCB days and not so much at ABT. Looking back, I consider that a much-missed opportunity.

Edited by hockeyfan228
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She's the dancer I miss the most.  I'll always feel cheated not having had the chance to watch her grow up on stage.

I agree. I saw Kirland in the early NYCB days and not so much at ABT. Looking back, I consider that a much-missed opportunity.

That's funny, I saw a lot of her first few years at ABT. She was astounding, it made me wish I'd seen more of her really early days at NYCB!

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I saw her a very few times at NYCB, but mostly at ABT (coinciding with when I was able to attend more performances). At ABT, about an equal number of times, I was stuck selling my ticket for performances she cancelled at the last minute.

I feel cheated, too.

On the other hand, I am privileged. I took two classes from her, at the very start of her teaching career, and she is an amazing teacher! I really felt a fundamental change in the way I worked (very much for the better) after just the first class. Makes me wish I were still able to take class.

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If I'm not mistaken, Kirkland and Farrell overlapped at NYCB only briefly. Farrell left the company in the spring of 1969, when Kirkland was just apprenticing, and returned in the winter of 1974. Kirkland left NYCB in the summer of '74.

I think of them as representing very different chapters in the history of the company.

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When I saw her at ABT during the late 70's(and looking back now), she had the potential to be one of the great Odette/Odile, Giselle etc.

She had all the physical and interpretive gifts, but was mentally fragile. Her legacy as a teacher will probably impact the world of Ballet much more than her performances. And that makes me very sad. When she had her "A game", she was one of the best I ever saw.

She really did not have a long career with ABT, and the more classical rep.

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I have taken class from her many times. I only wish that she would stay put in a place long enough to see what kind of dancer her teaching would churn out. I have no doubt that then would her career as a teacher be remembered as much as her performance. But as a dancer, in my opinion, her classes are a trip

She declared me as that "Russian-Latino boy" she said to me in one class "you take a 5th (of arms) as if your holding a basket of grapes"! she even said "watch adam - he'll show you how to turn but not how to hold the supporting leg!" When I was kid at Long Beach Ballet Arts Center, ABT school, and a few others. I think I took class from her every summer from the time I was 12 till I was about 18 or 19.

She was always very sweet to me. She always remebered me and picked on me especially, which I took as a compliment. :)

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FYI the Kirkland interview is well worth reading in DM, even if you don't regularly buy the magazine. She deliberately confronts many of the earlier issues head on, and makes a lovely and appropriate (i.e. doesn't appologize for feeling squashed, but for taking said squashed feeling out on others) apology for certain material in Dancing on My Grave,

BUT more importantly has some very interesting things to say about staging, dancing and coaching ballets.

Even if you've kind of given up on Dance Magazine this is one of the ones worth searching out.

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There are also several beautiful photographs of Kirkland in the Dance Magazine article, including the cover photo, one of several taken on the beach near her home in Melbourne, and one of her and her husband, Michael Chernow. Her arms and epaulement in street clothes are stunning.

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Saland did some Q&As in Ballet Review (winter 1994), p. 19-40) and Dance View (Autumn 1993, p. 22-26) in which she mentions her relationship with Kirkland. Evidently, she felt she was in the middle between Kirkland and Balanchine. According to the articles, Kirkland wanted to steer Saland away from Balanchine's influence. GK sent her to the teacher Maggie Black, who Balanchine was said not to approve. After Saland did something in rehearsal, Balanchine slyly said, "It must be that old Black magic."

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On stage Saland often had a resemblance to Kirkland. This was not just a physical resemblance -- I think Saland was actually more "drop dead" gorgeous than Kirkland -- but in her dancing. I'm afraid I don't have the "eye" or technical knowledge to break it down more than that, but I don't think this is a quirky opinion, since Croce commented on it as well.

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