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Who is/was your favorite Kitri? Who was her Basilio?


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A weekend spent with several performances of Miami's Don Q (3 different Kitris) got me thinking of the different "takes" that different dancers I've seen and heard about seem to have for this role.

I was really struck by Patricia Delgado's version of a feisty, impetuous, delightful teenager-with-a-heart-of-gold. But then I also remember the ABT 20-plus years ago with Cynthia Gregory's stylish, glamourous, brilliantly technical version with Bujones, I think --a performance that made me do this :) .

Then there was Cynthia Harvey's gutsy, flirtatious, girllish, but no less technically brilliant portrayal opposite Baryshnikov. This might be my favorite.

And of course there are the wonderful videos with the very different Ananiashvili and Terekhova.

It's not a very deep role -- and it may, as Arlene Croce is alleged to have said, have only three steps. But it does tend to stick in your mind. I can't decide which Kitri I like the best. Nor can I decide how important the Basilio is in making Kitri memorable.

Who is (or was) your favorite Kitri? Who was her Basilio?

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Gelsey Kirkland, without question. Her Basilio was Baryshnikov. Fabulous though he was, he was not my favorite Basilio. That would have been Dowell or Bujones. Dowell's drunk scene in the tavern (sadly gone now, along with other Baryshnikov choreography) was so memorably funny. But the Kirkland/Baryshnikov partnership often produced fireworks and never more so than in Don Q.

Gelsey was spitfire from her entrance (with the glorious Plisetskaya jetes which everyone including Heather Watts was attempting to duplicate for years). An explosive performance. Unforgettable.

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Basilio is in making Kitri memorable.

Who is (or was) your favorite Kitri? Who was her Basilio?

Maximova the wittiest and technically brilliant with beautiful feet, with Vasiliev extraordinary clean in execution and fabulous ronde jambes en l'air alternating legs and with as fast piriouettes a la seconde as Nureyev in his youth. Plisetskaya a breathtaking, thunderous gale, sweeping all before her reducing the rest of the Bolshoi cast on stage to midgets such was the size of her personality and partnered by the elegant supreme actor Maris Liepa. Nina Aniashvilli such a warm personality beautifully danced and partnered by the stylishly elegant Alexei Fadeyechev.

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Well if you're in New York, and keeping in mind that some of this is silent, the NY Library for the Performing Arts has the following:

Recorded in performance at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York, in May 1978, by Lucia R. Wayne.

Credits Scenery and costumes, Santo Loquasto ; lighting, Jennifer Tipton.

Performer Danced by American Ballet Theatre: Gelsey Kirkland (Kitri), Mikhail Baryshnikov (Basil), others.

Summary Excerpts from all three acts, focusing on Gelsey Kirkland and Mikhail Baryshnikov. In the Act III grand pas de deux, the male variation is recorded twice

Don Quixote [excerpts] (ca. 50 min.) / recorded in American Ballet Theatre's studio, in rehearsal clothes, probably in 1978 ; choreography, Mikhail Baryshnikov after Aleksandr Gorski and Marius Petipa ; danced by Gelsey Kirkland. Footage from a series of rehearsals for dance and mime excerpts from the ballet.

2 videocassettes (U-matic, NTSC) (116 min.) : sd., b&w ; 3/4 in.

Note Videotaped in performance at the Opera House, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, D.C., on March 29, 1978 and on another date (?).

Conception/direction: Mikhail Baryshnikov. Choreography: Baryshnikov after Marius Petipa and Alexander Gorsky. Music: Ludwig Minkus, transcribed and orchestrated by Patrick Flynn. Scenery/costumes: Santo Loquasto. Lighting: Jennifer Tipton.

Performed by members of American Ballet Theatre: Gelsey Kirkland (Kitri), Mikhail Baryshnikov (Basil), William Carter (Don Quixote), Victor Barbee (Gamache), Raymond Serrano (Espada), Nanette Glushak (Mercedes), Kristine Elliott (Amour), Ruth Mayer (Dulcinea), and others.

SUMMARY: Acts are out of sequence on tape. Cassette 1 (53 min.): Prologue, Acts I and III. Cassette 2 (63 min.): Act II, followed by a second, incomplete recording of Act II, probably taped at a different performance, possibly with a different cast.

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Well if you're in New York, and keeping in mind that some of this is silent, the NY Library for the Performing Arts has the following:

Wow! When I next visit New York, NYLPA here I come. I never saw Miss Kirkland as Kitri but she was extraordinary in everything else I saw her dance.

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Yoko Ichino was wonderful in the ballet: quick, feather light and very musical, capturing every flute and harp accent, and with fouettes that never travelled more than 2-3 inches.

Her partner at the National Ballet of Canada was usually Kevin Pugh, a brilliant virtuoso dancer, but basically an introvert. He didn't have an exciting stage personality, so I could never really get excited about him.

I believe their Act 3 solos and coda were included in a documentary about the NBoC called Bold Steps, which was made in the mid-1980s.

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Yoko Ichino performed a beautiful -- and valiant -- Kitri when she was with ABT. It was a Sat. Mat., and her Basilio (forget who) suffered an injury in Act II. For the GPdD, Yoko was partnered by two different guys, a third dancing the man's variation.

This may have been her ABT debut in the role. She remained unflappable -- and effervescent. :(

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