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MinkusPugni

Fiona Tonkin

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Fiona Tonkin is Australian and I believe she's the best dancer an Australian stage has ever seen. She's an excellent dancer. Unfortunately, I have only had the opportunity of seeing her in Sleeping Beauty and La Fille mal Gardee as she is before my time (she's not dead, just retired). Has anybody else seen Fiona Tonkin?

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Fiona Tonkin is Australian and I believe she's the best dancer an Australian stage has ever seen. She's an excellent dancer. Unfortunately, I have only had the opportunity of seeing her in Sleeping Beauty and La Fille mal Gardee as she is before my time (she's not dead, just retired). Has anybody else seen Fiona Tonkin?

Fiona Tonkin was born in Singapore and raised and trained in New Zealand. She is not an Australian but I believe she lives there now.

http://www.australiadancing.org/apps/ad?ac...esourceType=All

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Oh yes, I saw her dance a lot when I lived in Sydney & had (could afford!!) a subscription to the AB. I always enjoyed her dancing - very sharp and fast - although, I'm afraid, MinkusPugni, I don't think she was the best dancer Australia has produced :blush: - or rather, her style wasn't so much to my taste. I preferred Christine Walsh, and Elizabeth Toohey. And of course, their regular male dancing partners! To my mind, Kelvin Coe was one of the very best in Australia & the world. The AB's recording of Giselle shows the beauty of his partnership with Christine Walsh. And Liz Toohey & David McAllister were just amazing to watch. IMO (and it's just my opinion), the decision by the AB's AD at the time, Maina Gielgud, and other artistic staff, to limit what Toohey & McAllister did together - to all intents & purposes sidelining Ms Toohey and breaking up a wonderful partnership, was such a misjudgement ...

But Fiona Tonkin shared with a lot of Australian-trained and/or employed in Australia dancers particular quialities of energy, attack, and a sheer physicality that makes Australian dancers (and actors, actually - thinkof Geoffrey Rush) immediately recognisable world wide. The AB in the late 1970s and 80s was a marvellous company - whatever Gielgud did that I would take issue with (the Toohey/McAllister thing for example) she pulled the company together and gave it a precision, and an artistry and a repertoire that made it very exciting to see.

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last i heard, tonkin was teaching ballet in new zealand. but that may be out of date...

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I used to see Fiona's pictures when she did some modeling for bloch dancewear. Unfortunately, I never got to see her dance live, but I think she was in the La Fille Mal Gardee video that the Australian ballet put out. I don't remember the details, but I remember that I liked her dancing.

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Memo, that means she's Australian. If she has Australian citizenship (which she does) she's Australian. I have to say that I hated Christine Walsh's dancing (much as I hate Lynette Wills) but many people like her. She smiled much too much. I mean just take a look a Giselle and she smiles in the most inappropriate places! But again, just my opinion. At the moment I think Australia's best is Madeleine Eastoe (who isn't even principal!?!?!).

Fiona performed so well. She made you watch her. You just can't take your eyes off someone like her. Even in Sleeping Beauty when she's in the Girlfriend's Pas de Six in Act I, I watch her, not the other girls and when the camera goes off her I'm like "WHERE'S SHE GONE!?"

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At the moment I think Australia's best is Madeleine Eastoe (who isn't even principal!?!?!).

:off topic:

I saw Eastoe last December in Sydney, and I thought she was fabulous. I couldn't take my eyes off of her. I love Lucinda Dunn, too, but when they shared the stage, my eyes were on Eastoe.

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Memo, that means she's Australian. If she has Australian citizenship (which she does) she's Australian.

I was simply pointing out that she was born in Singapore and was trained in New Zealand. (I remember hearing her name when I was growing up). She is not Australian trained. I know that Nureyev probably had British or Canadian Citizenship (sorry I dont have the details in front of me I dont know if it matters that much) but would you say he was an Englishman? He is Russian. Barishnikov is probably an American Citizen would you say he is an American Dancer? Please! :off topic:

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Memo, that means she's Australian. If she has Australian citizenship (which she does) she's Australian.

I was simply pointing out that she was born in Singapore and was trained in New Zealand. (I remember hearing her name when I was growing up). She is not Australian trained. I know that Nureyev probably had British or Canadian Citizenship (sorry I dont have the details in front of me I dont know if it matters that much) but would you say he was an Englishman? He is Russian. Barishnikov is probably an American Citizen would you say he is an American Dancer? Please! :off topic:

I believe MinkusPugni was responding to your earlier quote, "She is not an Australian but I believe she lives there now," which sounds like you are talking about citizenship, not the "character" of Tonkin's dancing or her training.

While few if any would claim that Baryshnikov is an American dancer, there have been a number of dancers who were trained in one school (or patchwork of schools), but through a Company affiliation, immersed themselves in the style of that Company, and were re-molded in a style that they weren't trained in. Two prominent examples are Maria Tallchief and Melissa Hayden, both of whom had careers before they met Balanchine. (Tallchief was still young, but Hayden was already an established dancer.) They both described how their technique and even their musculature changed by dancing for Balanchine, and were both "Balanchine dancers."

Tonkin spent the majority of her career at Australian Ballet. Perhaps MinkusPugni could comment on whether New Zealand and Australia training are similar or indistinguishable (based on RAD?) or whether, if different, Tonkin changed her style to an Australian style over the course of her dancing career.

Even if Tonkin hadn't danced in Australia, I suspect she'd still be considered an "Australian dancer" -- meaning "from Australia" -- in Australia, just as if an American dancer trained in at the Royal Danish Ballet school (and there is at least one boy there now) or at the Kirov school and danced his/her career with those companies would still be considered an "American dancer" to Americans, who would show pride in them.

Australia also has a history of immigration, like the US and Canada, and if Tonkin were a naturalized Australian, she'd still be considered Australian, just as Balanchine considered himself an American.

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I don't recall the details of Nureyev's citizenship, but I believe that he maintained a French protection as a political refugee, as a matter of legalities. As he originally defected there, it would make logical sense. Not that this issue often makes any logical sense!

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I don't recall the details of Nureyev's citizenship, but I believe that he maintained a French protection as a political refugee, as a matter of legalities.

He had become an Austrian citizen in 1982, but I don't know which was his citizenship before. He spent quite a lot of time, but I remember reading in a book by Mario Bois (the widow of the late POB dancer and ballet master Claire Motte, who was quite close to Nureyev) that he managed to never spend more than 6 months in France every year, to avoid paying any income tax (which didn't help the writing of some of his POB director contracts, as it could be quite complicated).

Well, sorry to get a bit off-topic.

Ms Tonkin in listed on the Australian Ballet web site as a Ballet Mistress:

http://australianballet.com.au/education/t...tisticstaff.htm

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