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"Kings of Dance" -- whom would you choose?

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Ari posted a link today (Thursday, May 5) announcing highlights of the 2005-06 International Dance Series at Orange County Performing Arts Center.

"The program, called Kings of the Dance and running February 16-19, 2006, features American Ballet Theatre's Ethan Stiefel and Angel Corella, the Royal Ballet's Johan Kobborg, and the Bolshoi Ballet's Nikolay Tsiskaridze. They will perform four world-premier solo works created specifically for them by choreographers Stanton Welch, Tim Rushton, Nils Christe, and Roland Petit. All four will perform together in a new pas de quatre by Christopheer Wheeldon, set to music by Schubert."

Sounds a bit like someone trying to start a Three Tenors franchise for ballet. But an interesting idea, nontheless.

If you were the impressario, which four "Kings of the Dance" would you want to put on stage? And why? (Your choices may be contemporary -- or even dead or retired if you prefer. But remember, we're taking about "KINGS" here, the absolute top -- not "4 Mo' Kings, " "4 Irish Kings," "Sons of the 4 Kings," or other spin-offs.

For the adventurous: what rep would your 4 Kings dance? If the ballets will be new, whom would you choose to choreograph them ?

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Mikhail Baryshnikov, Vladimir Vasiliev, Julio Bocca, and Angel Corella.

Baryshnikov will dance the variation from the Grand Pas in Don Quixote, Vasiliev will dance Spartacus, Julio Bocca will dance any pas de deux with Ferri as a guesting artist, or as a matter of fact, Todo Buenos Aires would do the trick, and Corella will dance the slave solo from Le Corsaire as many times as the audience wants him to.

I would love to see the four do the men's dance from Who Cares altogether to finish off the evening, just for fun. ;-)

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What a fun topic! If we can resurrect dead guys than my choices would be Nijinsky, Nureyev, Baryshnikov & Vasiliev.

Nijinsky would dance Faun & Spectre, Nureyev would dance the Corsair pas de deux(with a young Fonteyn) , Vasiliev would dance Spartacus and Baryshnikov could dance whatever he wanted, as long as it was classical ballet!

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Here are my choices................

Fernando Bujones dancing the male variations from the Black Swan Act3. Oh! That 1st jete from the wing(2nd variation)......he would stay up there forever!!!! :D

Nureyev in his 1 act Bayadere("Shades") with the Royal- time warp back to 1964. I saw him live in alot of things, but not in Bayadere or Corsaire. But. at least we have a tape of Corsaire. I can't get over the fact that there is no tape of him doing Bayadere. :(:wub:

Soloviev, Rudy's roommate on the road with the Kirov. I would practically sell my soul to see him do a Bluebird :beg: Actually I would sell it to see him in anything!!!!!!!!!!!!

Carreno & Acosta.......I could watch them do the Diana & Acteon solos FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Actually, I would travel the world to follow them whereever they dance!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :yahoo::cool:

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Jose Carreno.

Four, huh???

Let's see. Carreno and . . . .

Uh, . . . four????? Okay.

Carreno and Erik Bruhn and Marcelo Gomes and Arne Villumsen. They may dance anything they want, but I want them to share one ballerina: Me! :yahoo:

Obviously, I think I've lived in The Best of Times, male dancer-wise. :cool:

Editing to add:

Igor Youskevitch joins the list; Marcelo, who has a good, long career ahead of him :wub: gets wait-listed.

Edited by carbro
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Konstantin Sergeev

Vachtang Chabukiani

Nikita Dolgushin

Yuri Soloviev

For starters, they'd dance the male pas de quatre variation from Act III of Raymonda.

At to today's four Kings of Dance (Stiefel/Corella/Kobborg/Tsiskaridze)...I would not change a single name on the roster for the performance in Orange County, given current technical capabilities & status. Eventually, ABT's Herman Cornejo may have the name-recognition/status to be in such a group. La Scala's Roberto Bolle *does* have the top-principal status & abilities now but I'm not sure about the name recognition in the US.

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In alphabetical order:

Acosta: Corsaire slave pas

Bujones: Act II Giselle (OMG those entrachats huits!!!)

Bart Cook: Melancholic

Dowell: Bayadere act II: all the way to that gorgeous exit

I like the idea of the Raymonda pas de quatre, but could they do it one at a time? & maybe substitue Schaufuss for Cook in this?

I won't be looking at the ballerina, so just make her light & easy to partner.

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I am having a hard time with this for two reasons: (a) I just haven't seen enough great dancing, especially recently, to choose from, and (b) I'm quite cynical about the kind of star marketing involved in enterprises like the Orange County program.

Because I am now livling in a part of the world in which partnering :( is something that is not highly developed, I started thinking about a different kind of King -- the King (or Prince) undefined . A few recent video experiences of good partnerning came to mind, both from dancers known for individual bravura dancing:

a) Irek Mukhamedov, Spartacus -- the strength, ardency, and sheer lovingness of his supports and lifts. (Not a bad solo part, either.)

b) Rudolf Nureyev in an early British video of Sylphides -- he's holding back, is NOT the star, and is amazingly aware of the women, attentive and slightlyin awe of them. Would that he kept some of these qualities as his career developed in the West.

Any other Partner-Kings?

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From all accounts from his partners, Jock Soto is a Partner-King. I'm not sure if Conrad Ludlow is a Partner-King or Partner-Prince, but he, too, was the NYCB man of his generation whom the ballerinas coveted as a partner.

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In both categories ("partner" king and "plain" king): Anthony Dowell.

And, if it weren't for the fact that the vulgarity of the idea makes it self defeating -- I would offer up a classica/neo-classical "purity" kings evening made up of Bruhn, Dowell, Martins, and Boal -- though I might be willing to trade Martins for Tommason or both of them for the classical-with-an-elastic-edge Malakhov. (The other three are non-negotiable.)

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I witnessed Anthony Dowell (of whom I'm a huge fan) drop Antoinette Sibley from an overhead lift (Thais). They both literally landed in the wings, like the leaning Tower of Pisa falling over...it was really scary. Of course, I do realize that bizarre things can happen to the most accomplished artists. They danced together a lot, but I remember reading somewhere (probably in this forum!) her saying that she preferred being partnered by Michael Some...So, I guess my question is, regarding "partner king", are you meaning how the gentleman appears to the audience as a partner, or how his ballerinas regard him? Both qualities would make the candidate a true "partner king."

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An interesting distinction which could be developed into a larger question: what differences are there between the way the audience perceives a dancer (as to skill, artistry, reliability, or whatever) and the way his or her fellow dancers see it?

Are there, for instance, certain "dancers' dancers" who are especially esteemed by their colleagues?

Edited by bart
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I agree, MakarovaFan...I know carbro already mentioned him, but Erik Bruhn was unquestionably a "dancer's dancer". He was the idol of most of my peers when I was growing up in San Francisco (I was a teenager in the 60's). I named my first son after him. In my mid to late 20s and early 30's, I actually got to study and work with him as he was often a guest instructor for SFB. He was a warm, intelligent, and gentle person. I couldn't believe my good fortune in being able to study with my long-time idol...

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In discussing dancers as partners I am primarily referring to the image they create on stage.

I mentioned Dowell as a "partner" king because he had several great partnerships -- that is, pairings in which the sum of the two dancers together was greater than the individual parts (however wonderful) and the artistic result authentically and uniquely impressive in a variety of roles. Dowell achieved this with at least two and, in my opinion, three different major ballerinas: Sibley, Makarova, and Kirkland. (I assume some would argue he didn't dance often enough with Kirkland to have achieved a real partnership.) Sibley/Dowell and Makarova/Dowell are pretty generally acknowledged "partnerships" -- that doesn't mean there may not be dissenters out there, but it's not a quirky judgment on my part.

I saw Dowell with Sibley in Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet, Manon, and a late Ashton work created for them when she came out of her somewhat early retirement. At times they seemed like a multifaceted single being -- "one" unity divided into two sexes. At others their dramatic interaction was deeply moving. Did she enjoy dancing more with Somes? Perhaps so -- I admit I would be surprised to read that she thought she and Somes achieved more artistically as a "partnership" than she and Dowell did. Especially since she and Dowell, as a partnership, created a number of major works by both Ashton and Macmillan.

I also found Dowell stunning in a different way with Makarova -- I remember their performances together as more erotically charged and, perhaps, to that degree more charismatic than his performances with Sibley. (He was also older and had become a more extroverted presence on stage.) I have no idea what Makarova says about him, though at least when she began dancing with him she gave an interview expressing great enthusiasm about the partnership. Kirkland who gave performances of great warmth and aplomb with Dowell -- I saw them repeatedly in Baryshnikov's Nutrcracker -- always, as far as I know, spoke and wrote glowingly about him.

But without question I am prioritizing what I saw on stage, and while I don't think that has no connection with what the dancers themselves experience I don't doubt the connection is highly mediated. (Fracci supposedly disliked dancing with Nagy...whom everyone raves about as a partner.) In general, an occasional glaring partnering error doesn't necessarily cause me to think a dancer is a bad partner, thought the Sibley/Dowell story Gina mentions did suprise me -- but when I see a dancer who always makes errors or never matches well with anyone, then I think "bad" partner.

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Thank you for that beautiful post, Drew.

I seem to remember from Makarova’s autobiography that she and Dowell did not click immediately, onstage or off, but after a period of adjustment they were fine. (She had unalloyed enthusiasm for MacLeary, Nagy, and Bruhn as partners, as I recollect.)

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