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Falling in love with ballet -- what performance, ballet

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It's been said that Fokine, Balanchine, Pavlova, Ulanova "acquired a burning passion for ballet" after seeing Sleeping Beauty.

Many of us probably fell in love with ballet -- or became aware that we were in love -- after the experience of watching a particular ballet or dancer.

For me it wasn't a single ballet. Rather, it was seeing -- in quick succession -- THREE very different ballets: NYCB's Firebird, a version of Swan Lake Act II, and the newly minted Agon. All the work of George Balanchine.

It was the late 50s. I was in 10th grade and was bowled over by everything -- but especially by the the realization that these very different works, set to very different scores, had been created not too long before by a man who was probably not much older than my parents. It seemed incredible that this man was most likely standing in the wings in that very theater, watching, guiding, and thinking about future new work. Great ballet -- possibly the greatest? -- was being created right here on this stage, right now.

Everyone who reads and posts on Ballet Talk has had his or her own road to falling in love with ballet. What was yours?

P.S. If you are busy right with the holidays -- or someone who usually prefers not to post -- a simple what? when? who? won't take much time. It could even have happened just a few years ago!!! I'm sure many of our fellow members would enjoy hearing them.

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I saw some ballet on TV. I don't know if it was Bell Telephone Hour -- like Jock Soto seeing Villella -- or Firestone Theater or the Ed Sullivan Show, which my grandparents, with whom I spent weekends, watched religiously. I fell in love, although my grandmother wasn't pleased: she wanted a tap-dancer in the family :dry: It took until Junior High School for me to actually get someone to take me see an entire ballet performance, and it was Makarova and Nagy at ABT in the Blair "Swan Lake."

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Violette Verdi performing the Grand Pas de Deux in the Nutcracker with Royes Fernandez in the Garden State Ballet's very first Nutcracker at Symphony Hall in Newark, New Jersey was the vision that first inspired me to fall in love with ballet. This littlest mouse was struck on the spot with visions of fairies and lovely music for life! :dry: To this very day the merories of her performances continue to inspire my work and my love of ballet.

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I can't remember falling in love with ballet - I was too young when it happened. My mother tells me she took me to see a local ballet production when I was four (I was apparently very good in the theatre, sitting dead still, mouth gaping). During the interval I needed the bathroom. On hearing the bell, I wanted to know what it was for. When my mom said it meant the ballet was starting again and I'd better hurry or I'd miss it, I apparently fell into the toilet bowl from shock.

Anyway, that seems to have been the beginning of my love affair with ballet.

One later performance that stands out for me as having cemented my love for ballet was watching (on video) Grigorovich's Swan Lake with Bessmertnova. This was at around age 10and probably explains why I still prefer Grigorovich's Swan Lake to all others I saw later.

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Violette Verdi performing the Grand Pas de Deux in the Nutcracker with Royes Fernandez in the Garden State Ballet's very first Nutcracker at Symphony Hall in Newark, New Jersey was the vision that first inspired me to fall in love with ballet. This littlest mouse was struck on the spot with visions of fairies and lovely music for life! :dry: To this very day the merories of her performances continue to inspire my work and my love of ballet.

Ohh...I saw this too. Although I must admit I don't remember it, I only recently came across with the program.

What really got me into ballet was a performance a couple years after this one, in May 1969 with the RB's Romeo and Juliet danced by Fonteyn and Nureyev.

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I think I must have loved ballet from the start. My mother put me in ballet class around the age of 4 and I loved it from then on. But the first bona fide performance I saw was when my ballet school was taken to the Shrine Auditorium in LA to see a touring company - I'm not even sure who it was anymore - it might have been the Royal Ballet or the Kirov. I was transported, even the curtain calls thrilled me. I tried to write a school essay about the experience and either I was unable to express myself correctly or my teacher was an imbecile (quite possible; she was an old-school nun) but I was berated for being impressed with "wolf whistles in an auditorium". Lucky that didn't dampen my spirit. A few years later our school saw a Romeo and Juliet by the Royal Ballet, also at the Shrine. I was dying to see Margot Fonteyn but our tickets turned out to be for Merle Park and Donald MacCleary (sp?). No mind, I fell in love with Merle Park and have loved her ever since. Another "falling in love" memory is of buying my ballet slippers. This was in the days when they weren't readily available at the local suburban shoe store. It meant a trip on the bus to downtown LA to the Capezio store. They used to put little B&W 3x5 photos of dancers in your box of shoes. My favorites were of Marge & Gower Champion and Maria Tallchief. Wish I had saved them. Thanks Bart for suggesting this trip down memory lane.

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P.S. If you are busy right with the holidays -- or someone who usually prefers not to post -- a simple what? when? who? won't take much time.

I'm working right now, and the salon is full!!..(manager is not around :dry: so let's proceed...briefly...)

When: 1988.

Which ballet: "Giselle"

Who: Ms. Lourdes Novoa (ex principal at Ballet Nacional de Cuba and former Jose Manuel Carreno's wife)

I was still living in my hometown, Cienfuegos, and i had seen some local ballet groups performances, but this was the FIRST time that i saw professional dancers live from Ballet Nacional de Cuba while on a national "Giselle" tour, in our beautiful local XVIII Century theater...I was totally strucked..Then in 1991, when i moved to Havana to study, i saw Mme. Alonso's dancing for the first time, in a contemporary ballet called "Flora". Still, i must admit that was Ms. Novoa's performance that really touched me very deeply. :wub:

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I tried to write a school essay about the experience and either I was unable to express myself correctly or my teacher was an imbecile (quite possible; she was an old-school nun) but I was berated for being impressed with "wolf whistles in an auditorium". Lucky that didn't dampen my spirit.
I'm willing to bet that it was a super essay. I suspect that we've all had our little run-ins with people who think we're a bit off in the head. Fortunately, people like your teacher tend not to become readers of Ballet Talk. So, please, keep the memories coming. :thumbsup:

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The ballet was Graduation Ball. My mother took me to see Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo

at Kleinhan's Music Hall in Buffalo. I was already a ballet student. My teacher,

Miss Shirley, had taught us pirouettes to the music of "the Drummer Boy."

When I made the connection between the steps I was learning and what they

could look like on stage with costumes, lights, sets and an orchestra - I knew

I wanted to be a Ballerina....

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Who: Natalia Makarova

What: Swan Lake

When: 1971

Falling in love again:

Who: Suzanne Farrell

What: Concerto Barocco

When: 1975

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London Festival Ballet - 26th May 1984 @ London Coliseum - Onegin - Marcia Haydee and Richard Cragun

I only liked contemporary dance before that performance. I didn't realise whom I had seen until some years later when I looked the programme out.

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Royal Ballet, Fonteyn & Nureyev in Swan Lake circa 1965-67. My grandmother had been taking me to the ballet since I was 4 or 5 years old and I liked it – but I remember being absolutely thunderstruck at that one performance. That's when I fell in love with ballet – when it went from a pleasant entertainment into one that provided an artistic high so intense that I've craved it ever since. Fonteyn & Nureyev made such magic together – each was an extraordinary artist on their own but the effect they made together was pure magic, much more than just the sum of their individual talents.

Since Fonteyn/Nureyev?

Fracci/Bruhn in Giselle, Makarova/Nagy in Swan Lake, Kirkland/Baryshnikov in Giselle & La Sylphide, Farrell in Concerto Barocco and with Martins in Diamonds, Ferri/Bocca R&J, Part/Gomes Swan Lake, Ananishvilli/Gomes in Ballet Imperial, Vishneva/Malakhov Giselle, Pavlenko/Zelensky Swan Lake, Kyra Nichols in Serenade & Mozartiana, Wendy Whalen in 2nd movement Bizet and After the Rain

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Wow!!!! I love reading posts like this!!! I have been dancing for a while now, and at my studio we used to have a friend of my teacher's come and do dance history twice a month. We loved it because we got to sit for 2 hours watching movies instead of doing class. I remember one day, I don't remember the theme of our lecture, we watched Nureyev/Fonteyn "Lady of the Camellia's," and Gregory/Nagy (the "Great CG" she always used to say) "In a Rehearsal Room". To date after many years of dancing, these are still my favorite ballets. I realized that ballet was more than just hurrying in to class with tights baggy at the knees and hair in a messy bun- we were learning an artform, so pure and beautiful. Oh, I think I will break out the VHS tapes....

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In 1974, I saw pictures in a Life Magazine from the mid-60's of Nureyev up in the stratosphere!!! I asked my mother if Rudi used a trampoline to get up there. She said, "No dummy, he can do that by himself! That's the guy I wanted to you to see last year!" I saw him with Sleeping Beauty with the Canadians at the Met in 1974!!! I've been hooked on ballet and dance ever since!

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What a great thread!! I think I really loved ballet all my life. The first ballets I saw (on video), when I was around five-ish, were The Nutcracker (Kirkland/Baryshnikov), Cinderella (Guillem/Jude), and Swan Lake (Makhalina/Zelensky). Whenever my mom put on the videos on I would dance while watching the ballet in my nightgown or little pink tutu. My first live ballet performance I ever saw was a local Nutcracker for a 7th or 8th birthday present. It was magical. And the rest is history. :)

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I don't remember really a moment when I fell in love with ballet--I started pre-ballet class at 3 and adored it.

I do remember looking forward to the first(?) showing on tv of the nutcracker with gelsey and misha--and getting sick and sleeping through it and being heartbroken.

I don't remember this myself but my parents went to see the baryshnikov/harvey don q which was shown on great performances.

When they came home near midnight I was sitting by the door GLOWERING and demanded to know WHY HADN'T THEY TAKEN ME!!!??? I was 8.

I've watched it many times to make up for that. :)

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I fell in love with ballet at age 3.5 watching the men in Princeton Ballet's first Nutcracker, particularly in the Russian dance.... It was decades before I had much use for the ballerinas in the pink tutus...

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I think it was La Bayadere, with Alina Cojocaru and Angel Corella, that put me over the edge.

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A combination, maturing over about 10 years, of Nureyev in 'Sleeping Beauty' with Royal Ballet, Hayden in 'Swan Lake Act II', Farrell in Mejia's 'Romeo and Juliet' and Balanchine's 'Mozartiana', and McBride in 'Le Baiser de la Fee'.

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Everyone who reads and posts on Ballet Talk has had his or her own road to falling in love with ballet. What was yours?

Life surprises you in many ways.I wanted to become a professional hip hop dancer.I attended hip hop classes and was quite good.So I decided to start studying professionally but I had to face the fact that there was not a school of hip hop dance,but most of the professional schools were about ballet.They told me that first I had to learn some ballet and then could specialize in modern dances later on.So I had my first audition and found myself at the barre,taking my first lesson.I cannot say i soon realized the change that was coming.It's lesson after lesson that my passion and love for this wonderful art have grown.

If I had to say a ballet that really made me understand what i wanted to do in life it was Giselle maybe.Not one of my favourites now,but was enough to make me say:"I wanna be part of it".

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