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Cynthia Gregory

GeorgeB fan

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Cynthia Gregory lives in Greenwich, CT, and I see her out and about in public from time to time. She is still striking, and very gracious when approached.

Thank you so much for the information. Cynthia and I danced together as children with various teachers including Carmelita Maracci, David Lichine and Pianieff. She was always gracious and enormously talented.

Thanks again


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Except for an ABT performance of "Swan Lake" in Tokyo when I was young--and for which unfortunately I have few specific dance-technique memories--I saw her dance live twice that I can recall clearly...

"Swan Lake" which, in comparison to Makarova, Van Hamel, Jaffe, et.al. that same season, I most noticed her almost continuous accent of bird-like flutters in her wrists and the liquidity of her elbows. I have never seen anyone else (including Plisetskaya once) do as many arm flutters as Gregory. At the time, I thought it rather excessive, but it was the first time I saw O-O truly as a swan, not a woman faking it. Consequently, she was also the only one to truly realize that Odile only wears black so the unknowing masses can tell good-girl from bad-girl--ie. Odile is supposed to be the image of Odette to better dupe Siegfried and so swan-like too. And yes, she was always a very strong commanding presence both technically and dramatically on stage; which worked very well for her in the performance of "Miss Julie" I also saw that season. What a perfect role for her that was! Cold, haughty, distraut at times, and using her technique like a weapon. Wow!

As for her partners, I agree Gudonov didn't quite work, but he had his problems then too which contributed. I think I also saw her once with Patrick Bissell. As always the problem was to find a partner who matched her virtuosic technique and had the height to accomodate her on pointe. I agree with the comment that the Bujones-Gregory partnership was more a gala-worthy bravura competitive excercize than a true melding of characters, but it was fun to see them both 'go for it' in performance.

And my latest memory was the one time I was returning from a performance at the Met rather late and simply passed her on the stairs in front of Lincoln Center. :-) At ABT's 2008 Opening Night Gala, I sat across the aisle from her, and spoke briefly with her as we were leaving.

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I am new to Ballet Talk and just read this forum about Cynthia Gregory. I realize it is a few years old, but I just wanted to share my memory of Cynthia.

I saw her dance Swan Lake in 1979 (April 27) with Rudolf Nureyev at the Met in NY. It was the most phenomenal performance I have ever seen! Rudi was 41 and Cynthia was in her mid-thirties, I guess. They did an encore of Act III - the audience cheered and whistled so much that they just had to do the encore. The encore was actually better than the original pas de deux! The applause was so thunderous, I expected the building to implode. After acknowledging the applause (the crowd expected a second encore), Rudi just wiped his brow and mimed "no more." The two of them were just thrilled, and it showed. Cynthia was a sensational Odile, so alluring and dramatic.

Even though she preferred dancing with tall danseurs, she and Rudi just melded together. Of course, he always stood tall on stage and danced tall. And he was so strong that he could support her very well. Her Odette just broke my heart because it was so heart-felt.

I remember this performance as if it were yesterday.

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Thanks, toeprints, for the reminiscence. Even though this thread is a relatively old one, I hope that there will be others like you to share your memories or thoughts about this exceptional dancer. I did not see her with Nureyev, but I recall that her performances often became even more vibrant when she was feeling a rapport with a special partner. When this happened, I also recall performances -- like the Odette you saw -- which "broke my heart."

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according to a source or two on line, she was born in july 1946, so that when you saw her she was 32.

I believe that this was after her first retirement. If I remember correctly, she had had it with ballet for a variety of reasons and retired. She then came back.

I was a great fan of hers - Her Swan Lake is still the gold standard for me. She brought great intelligence, musicality and technique to every role she danced. I also particularly remember her in Theme & Variations and Lilac Garden.

I did see her Grand Pas Classic with cigarette!!

ABT had female stars with real followings at that time - Gregory, Kirkland, Van Hamel, Makarova, Fracci. It was fun!!

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wow, what a great thread to revive!!! i unfortunately never got to see cynthia gregory live on stage- my ballet studio brought in a ballet historian once a month for "video time," and she showed us the bujones black swan pas and i was hooked!!! she was so statuesque and powerful, but not in a scary "manly" way at all. when i got older, i had the opportunity to take class from "the great cg" (as the historian used to say), and she was the most humble, gracious person. she taught us aurora's act 3 variation and i just loved her little "bits" of info, like telling us the developpes a la seconde at the end were supposed to be "celebratory explosions of technique." i'll never forget that one...

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She danced Firebird with Meehan (it's on tape somewhere) and I thought she had stunning timing -- the sequence after the Prince catches the Firebird and she's trying to escape, where everything is distilled into her wrists and hands (before the music swells and they start the adagio) was just right.

Hi sandik,

YES! Gregory's Firebird remains one of my most favorite performances! My parents taped it when it aired on PBS, and her grace, strength, and the grandeur of her birdlike movements absolutely dazzled me. Unfortunately, my parents' recording accidentally got taped over, and this has been considered an everlasting tragedy in my family. I have scoured the internet on several occasions over the years trying to find a copy of it to buy, to give as a surprise gift to my mom, but to no avail. So when you said that it's on tape somewhere, I HAD to ask: WHERE?!?!?!?! How can I get a copy?!?!?! We would all be so thrilled to see this performance again, and it would really mean so much to my mom to have a copy again!!! And there are several other people I would love to share it with, to help spread the love of ballet! I had just about given up hope of ever being able to find it, but you've renewed the flame!

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I think Miss Gregory deserves for this thread to be bumped up from time to time. I have been watching videos of her non stop for a while now both online and pirate bootlegs, and wow...I think that, would I had been young enough and in NYC during her prime, I would had been her rabid, screaming fan. She is DEFINITELY my type of ballerina, and everything that I look for in a female dancer. She totally reminds me of the strong, perfectly centered, wonderfully balanced, powerfully limbed, great a terre females I saw while growing up that eventually became my ideal of a ballerina. Brava Cynthia!!

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I've been a fan of Cynthia Gregory's for years and have had the pleasure of knowing her and being in classes with her. One thing that always struck me was her calm technique onstage. In many classical variations a step is done and then repeated 2 or 3 times. If a step went badly for Cynthia, she calmly did the technical fix so the second rendition was better and the third rendition was the best. This is a rare thing.

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