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I lost track of a dancer : Ben Huys


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He danced Apollo with the Suzanne Farrell Ballet in recent years. (I don't remember the dates at the moment.) A photo of this by Paul Kolnik was included in a small exhibit of his work in the Kennedy Center Opera House lobby this past week, and there is supposed to be an on-line version of Kolnik's gallery walk on the Kennedy Center website eventually, with some of the images included, so maybe you can actually catch a glimpse of him in performance, Viviane.

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Ben Huys and Susan Hendl were down at Miami City Ballet this September to set Robbins' Dances at a Gathering on the company. I was on a tour and was able to watch them for 3 hours. (There was another 3 hours' work later in the afternoon!)

Hendl and Huys worked beautifully together and with the various casts of dancers. He demonstrated with full-out dance more than Hendl and has remarkable lightness, grace, and fluidity of movement for someone who seemed both tall and solidly built. I was very impressed.

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Fluidity and gracefulness were two of his hallmarks when he danced at NYCB.  He partnered Kyra Nichols in Walpurgisnacht Ballet on the Balanchine Celebration VHS/DVD set.

.....and don't forget the beauty of his line, and the elegance of his carriage. IMO he was the dancer who most resembled Peter Martins when he was young.

Boy both you Violin Concerto and Helene perfectly described the Ben Huys I recall watching performing Scotch Symphony a few years back with the Farrell Ballet. Gallant, noble with a strong technique and a marvelous partner. Here's a dancer you would have think Peter Martins would have done anything to keep in the company.

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I know Ben is a former NYCB-soloist (and from my village  :beg: ) but I lost track of him. I'm sure someone can help me and knows what he's doing now ? thanks !

Ben used to perform Cavalier in my local Nutcracker with one of our former stellar student

dancers. To this day, he is the Best cavalier I have ever seen. Dances and moves with

such grace and fluidity.....thanks for the update!

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Ben Huys guested with the Madison Ballet on Valentine's Day as part of the Madison Ballet's 'Evening of Romance' program. He performed (w/ Christina Fagundes) in a pas de deux ("The Man I Love") from Who Cares? and the White Swan pas de deux from Swan Lake.

I liked him a lot in the excerpt from Who Cares? -- he was sleek, strong and sexy -- and he and Fagundes were dynamite together. I was neutral about the Swan Lake pas de deux but that wasn't really his fault. It was the fourth pas de deux of the night and, by that point, I was "pas de deux-ed out". It didn't help that his costume was unflattering to him. Madison Ballet borrowed the costumes from ABT and it showed. His costume made him look top-heavy and he absolutely isn't. The dancing was fine but I preferred Huys and Fagundes in "The Man I Love".

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Ben Huys was quote about his experience dancing with Balanchine in this article from 28 May in the Arizona Republic.

"Although Balanchine's dances are challenging and difficult for the dancer, they're not awkward," says Ben Huys, balletmaster at Ballet Arizona, who danced with the New York City Ballet from 1986 to 1995 and absorbed the Balanchine tradition.

"They fall on the feet like Chopin falls on the hands of a pianist. It's hard to get injured in a Balanchine ballet."

His ballets also move faster than most and draw more from the corps, whose members don't just stand around behind the principals.

"Everyone gets to dance and you notice everybody," Huys says. "The corps is more than wallpaper.

"The dancers are really working. You can't fake it. When you perform one of Balanchine's ballets, you feel like you've done something, you are gratified and fulfilled. It's a good plate of meat."

Edited by Helene
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This article, about the Shanghai Ballet has another update on Ben Huys.

A brief quote:

Shanghai Ballet will stage the "Magic of Dance - Balanchine and Beyond" with two Balanchine shows next Thursday and Friday, the China premiere of "La Valse" and "Serenade." .............

American dancer Ben Huys, who used to dance with the New York City Ballet, came to teach Shanghai dancers how to perform in the original Balanchine style.

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Thank you for the link, jeff-sh! I hope you'll post your impressions when it appears onstage in our "Recent Performances" forum.

I thought this particularly interesting:

[Artistic Director]Xin adds that when she told the Balanchine Trust she would choose La Valse, it amazed the members of the Trust, as the piece is "Not-that-much in Balanchine-style". "But I love it. It is a dance drama full of suspense. It's all about youth, death and love, " Xin says.

I'm sure Huys is doing a great job with the piece.

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What a wonderful new (to me) source, jeff-sh. Thank you. It's fascinating to see the way western ballet is taking hold in China. The process by which something like Balanchine's choreography is transmitted is especially interesting. I join Helene in looking forward to hearing more from you.

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This is one of my all-time favorite Ballet Talk threads. Since the original query in 2005, Ballet Talkers have identified Ben Huys in locations ranging from Shanghai to Madison, Wisconsin. He's a veritable Zelig or Kilroy for our time -- except that he's real and an artist. I remember him well with NYCB and, most fondly, with Suzanne Farrell Ballet. I wish him well in Seattle and look forward to his continuing appearances here.

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I will attend the dress rehearsal at the theater tomorrow and will try to post my impression. Though it may be difficult to elaborate my thoughts in English, as I am not a native English Speaker.

The program will open with a PDD by ex-NYCB dancer Edwaard Liang commissioned by Shanghai Ballet. I introduced Edwaard to Shanghai Ballet two years ago.

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