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ABT male dancers, early 70's


ajsnyc

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ABT had at least one season in the NY State Theatre...of a summer. Can someone give me the name of those fellows who would have partnered these ladies in the Grand Pas from Don Q? As I write this a TED comes to mind.

New to this site, I will ask to get a direct reply if that is appropriate: ajsnyc@msn.com

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In the DonQ pas (alone), don't believe I ever saw anyone but Baryshnikov partnering Kirkland, but I remember Kivitt and Bujones both partnering d'Antuono.

Yes, I remember that ABT sometimes followed NYCB into the State Theater in the summer. I wish they still performed there, instead of the Met.

Please stop by our Welcome Page and introduce yourself, ajsnyc. :clapping:

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There was one year when we saw Eleanor D'Antuono and Ted Kivitt do the Don Q pas de deux at every performance of our 4-performnance subscription. That's how I remember it, anyway. Other males of about that time, beside those previously mentioned:Ivan Nagy, Terry Orr, Jonas Kage, John Prinz, Marcos Paredes, Charles Ward, et. al.

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There was one year when we saw Eleanor D'Antuono and Ted Kivitt do the Don Q pas de deux at every performance of our 4-performnance subscription. That's how I remember it, anyway. Other males of about that time, beside those previously mentioned:Ivan Nagy, Terry Orr, Jonas Kage, John Prinz, Marcos Paredes, Charles Ward, et. al.

Also Royes Fernandez. He mostly partnered Lupe Serrano but sometimes partnered D'Antouno.

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Ted Kivitt danced with D'Antuono quite a bit. I think he went on to run the Milwakee Ballet.

Michel Denard and Jonas Kage were among the tall men brought in to partner Cynthia Gregory, I believe.

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Well, I think the original question has been answered. If it was a "Ted" then "Ted Kivitt."

But assuming it's okay to expand a little on memories of D'Antuono/Kirkland pairings...I have a distinct memory of seeing Kivitt partner Kirkland in a Corsaire Pas de Deux at City Center--perhaps one of her earliest seasons with the company. (She was ravishing and very strong in that performance.) Otherwise I mostly saw Kivitt with D'Antuono--and I remember the two of them in a Corsaire Pas de Deux at Kennedy Center. Kirkland also did a full length Raymonda in New York (that I did not see) with Nureyev. Barnes gave it a rave review. In D.C. however, Nureyev danced the ballet with D'Antuono. I don't think Kirkland was even announced for the D.C. Raymondas. I was disappointed, but remember thinking it was the loveliest I had ever seen D'Antuono dance. So either she was inspired by dancing with Nureyev and/or he worked with her very carefully on the role.

The "half-Nutcracker" in New York did have Dowell partnering Kirkland. I am pretty sure I saw them do the entire ballet in D.C. though oddly I wouldn't swear to it. I saw Kirkland dance Nutcracker many times with many different partners in D.C. (Baryshnikov, Schaufus, Cragun--the latter especially effective) but, oddly, performances with Dowell -- my favorite male dancer!!! -- are not altogether clear in my memory.

Kirkland did a lovely Coppelia with Charles Ward in D.C. also late 70's but I don't know that that casting was repeated in New York. I remember a particularly gorgeous overhead lift in which she just floated to the ground--he was so tall and she so delicate (appearing) that it was like watching a slow motion feather descend to earth -- a feather with exquisite balletic form...Johann Renvall partnered her in Great Galloping Gottschalk in the early 80's. On this board someone once said that she was miscast in this ballet--I found the performance fluid and fun. I could not take my eyes off of them.

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Kirkland did a lovely Coppelia with Charles Ward in D.C. also late 70's but I don't know that that casting was repeated in New York.
Also a Giselle. I didn't see it, but I found a gift for a friend at the Ballet Shop, a photo of three her favorite dancers -- Kirkland, Ward and van Hamel -- in Act II of Giselle.
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Didn't Patrick Bissell partner Kirkland and, perhaps, d'Antuono? Maybe the heights are off...but I do think I remember Bissell with Kirkland in something. Or, Bissell is--sadly was--the youngster in the bunch (?), maybe didn't come onto the scene until the 80s?

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Oh, my! That just jolted free a memory fragment. Wasn't it Dowell who danced the Nutcracker for that half-Nut of Gelsey's which was valiantly completed by Rebecca Wright?

Yes! And Dowell and Wright collided in midair during the Grand Pas. It clearly hurt but they gathered themselves and finished rather brilliantly. At least he did. I never watched anyone else when Dowell was onstage.

Dowell was Kirkland's Basil in DC as well.

And they did a gorgeous Romeo & Juliet with the Royal in London just after her departure from ABT.

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Oh, my! That just jolted free a memory fragment. Wasn't it Dowell who danced the Nutcracker for that half-Nut of Gelsey's which was valiantly completed by Rebecca Wright?

Yes! And Dowell and Wright collided in midair during the Grand Pas. It clearly hurt but they gathered themselves and finished rather brilliantly. At least he did. I never watched anyone else when Dowell was onstage.

Dowell was Kirkland's Basil in DC as well.

And they did a gorgeous Romeo & Juliet with the Royal in London just after her departure from ABT.

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Didn't Patrick Bissell partner Kirkland and, perhaps, d'Antuono? Maybe the heights are off...but I do think I remember Bissell with Kirkland in something. Or, Bissell is--sadly was--the youngster in the bunch (?), maybe didn't come onto the scene until the 80s?
Oh, my yes! Tudor cast Kirkland and Bissell as the leads in that strange and prescient ballet, Tiller in the Fields, in which Kirkland's encounter with Bissell results in evidence of uncountenanced behavior (pregnancy, in the ballet), leaving her ostracized from her community. It had a momentary shelf life, but I recall some lovely dances for the ensemble. I'd love to see it again, if only for those.

GK & PB also guested together as their -- or at least her -- drug use increased.

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I have often wished ABT would revive Tiller in the Fields--though I remember it best for the pas de deux between Bissell and Kirkland and Kirkland's wondrous yet uncertain -- as if embarrassed yet hopeful -- expression as she showed her pregnant belly to her lover. I' m not sure audiences knew quite how to take that moment.

I remember Ted Kivitt as a big strapping guy with a likable grin. I wasn't a fan but I must say I would love to see more big strapping guys among the principals in major companies. Of course, it would be helpful if they could dance as well as Herman Cornejo...

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[...] I must say I would love to see more big strapping guys among the principals in major companies.

Why? Just as eye candy, or another aesthetic reason? Big strappers sometimes come with big strapping egos, even if the talent is tiny.

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To answer Ray's question--I sometimes feel that I simply see "more" with a bigger dancer. Balanchine said something along these lines about his preference for tall dancers though, of course, he was not speaking of male dancers. The lines are bigger and more expansive, the overhead lifts are grander--one can have long, lingering beauties as he lets the ballerina down from those lifts--and there is potential for great effects of contrast--a large male dancer who lands softly from a series of jumps has a different kind of 'flavor' than a smaller one. From a more practical point of view, he can typically partner a wider range of ballerinas.

A talented smaller dancer can certainly achieve some comparable effects, but it's not identical. Also, we happen to live in an era when a lot of male talent does seem to be on the slighter, shorter side, so, yes, I wouldn't mind at all seeing some talented male dancers who were taller and broader. As I said at the end of my post, one does of course want to see talented dancers--like the not-at-all big and strapping Cornejo.

As for ego--uh...I think that comes in all shapes and sizes. But though it's always charming to learn the dancers one admires are admirable human beings, it's not one of my criteria for what, say, makes a good Siegfried.

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As for ego--uh...I think that comes in all shapes and sizes. But though it's always charming to learn the dancers one admires are admirable human beings, it's not one of my criteria for what, say, makes a good Siegfried.

But if they're bigger they can do more damage. And of course, I'm only carping about the ego of bad stropping male dancers. They're just painful to watch (and, if you should have the misfortune to have to work with or for them, painful to listen to).

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A little Ted Kivitt history:

1961-1978 (ABT)

1978-1980 (Pennsylvania Ballet)

1980-1986 (Milwaukee Ballet - artistic director)

It's a pity that Kivitt and the Milwaukee Ballet board had a falling out because I think he was really on to something with the Milwaukee Ballet and it could have become a strong regional presence in the Milwaukee-Chicago-Madison triangle. As it is, the Milwaukee Ballet has been in the artistic wilderness ever since.

I agree with Drew that I would like to see more big strapping guys on stage. I saw the Cornejo cast in Romeo and Juliet this spring and I was amazed at how slim and slight most of the males were. I found my eye drifting to Craig Salstein precisely because he was more "mesomorphy" than so many of the others.

I wonder if a male dancer with a Ted Kivitt-type body would incline more toward modern dance these days given the general drift in ballet to slim. Just asking . . .

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I"ve just stumbled into this thread and haven't followed it from the beginning. Before I do that, I wanted to bring up one "strapping" dancer I remember fondly from his guest appearances at ABT a bit later than the early 70's, but not much later - Peter Breuer. He mostly partnered Martine van Hamel, and what a charming "lug" he was - not much in the way of precision and refinement, but lots of power, brio and a winning "regular-guy" appeal. I haven't thought of him in ages......thanks for reminding me!

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[...] He mostly partnered Martine van Hamel, and what a charming "lug" he was - not much in the way of precision and refinement, but lots of power, brio and a winning "regular-guy" appeal. I haven't thought of him in ages......thanks for reminding me!

This is getting to the heart of what I'm trying to understand. I can appreciate the erotic appeal of the "regular guy" but what is it that's appealing about seeing him in tights on stage? Perhaps it is the a kind of sexuality that we want to see onstage projected from men--it seems to me weirdly tied into notions of ballet "purity" that I'm trying to get my mind around. By contrast, we certainly wouldn't say anything comparable about a female dancer--she must be thoroughly transformed from any trace of the "regular."

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We are way off topic here....but...I would add that not all larger male dancers need be 'regular guy' types; Kivitt was--and that style can be appealing especially in certain roles (Frantz, say, in Coppelia). But for example, in Grigorivitch ballets, one tends to need a heroic image (think Mukhamedov) that is easier to convey if one is not a willowy or particularly short dancer. Now, in fact, the new 'star' at the Bolshoi, Ivan Vasiliev is said to be preparing Spartacus and he is definitely a shorter dancer. He may pull it off--but I do not think it is most natural, body-image for that role.

In the past on this board we have had discussions of traditional "emploi" -- and of how dancers in the nineteenth-century and earlier twentieth-century were often cast very much according to body type and temperament as well as talent. (No one ever said talent does not matter.) I would guess many of us on this board--myself certainly--are happy enough to see a more flexible vision of casting and type in present day ballet companies, but that does not preclude noticing that 'emploi' can still tell us something about ballet as an art form. And one cannot help noticing that certain 'types' seem more OR less prominent in today's major companies.

I also don't think it is the case, that the question of women's body types--including more and less 'regular'--never comes up in discussion. I recently commented (on a thread about the Bolshoi) that I thought it was a "plus" that the Bolshoi, despite having Zakharova as their star ballerina, does not seem to fetishize super-thin, long-limbed, hyper-extended ballerinas. Can I enjoy that kind of ballerina--wow yes! I often enjoy Zakharova and hugely admire Guillem--it does not preclude my wanting to see other types, particularly in certain roles...Apologies though for citing myself!

Thanks Miliosr for additional information about Ted Kivitt

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