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glories of yesteryear

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St Augustine said there were three things he would have loved to have seen above all.These were :the Lord Jesus Christ when He walked this earth,

; the Apostle Paul preaching, and Rome in all its glory.Inspired by this, I turned my attention to dancers.Here is my list; it is necessarily incomplete.

The Men: Vaslav Nijinsky, Enrico Cecchetti, Mikhail Fokhine, Robert Helpmann, Erik Bruhn, Nikita Dolgushin,Igor Zelensky, Yuri Solyviev ("Cosmonautic Yuri" on account of his extraordinary elevations and resemblance to Yuri Gargarin)

The Women: Olga Spessistseva (an anecdote describes how in class her centre-work was so extraordinary that the dancers behind her were spellbound(and possibly intimidated) and could not dance anymore' so fixated were they upon her.The teacher moved her to the back!

Tatiana Riabouschinska, Tamara Toumanova, Antoinette Sibley, Natalia Bessmertnova, Galina Ulanova.

Finally though not strictly in the category, the great Alexander Pushkin teaching his Class of Perfection.

What dancers would readers of this post choose? Perhaps teachers could comprise a second list.

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The first dancers that came to mind were all women:

-- Anna Pavlova, even more after reading Keith Money's biography with its wealth of photographs. Her's was the most recognized female image in the world.

-- Tanaquil LeClercq, especially after watching the magical film of her performance in Afternoon of a Faun;

-- Diana Adams, whom I do remember vividly from Agon but not from the other ballets which I saw her in. The more I read about her, the more I regret having been fixated elsewhere at the time she danced at NY City Ballet. I have a split-second but vivid memory of opening a program in the late 50s, seeing her name next to Swan Lake, Act II, and actually being disappointed. :)

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Edward Villella in his prime live. I saw the old 'Nutcracker' broadcast, but otherwise only Watermill at the end of his career.

Jacques d'Amboise in the 60s.

Alla Sizova.

Maria Tallchief.


Antoinette Sibley.

Michal Denard.

Martha Graham.

Balanchine when young.

Galina Mezentseva.

Carla Fracci and Erik Bruhn live in Giselle instead of just in the movie.

Alicia Alonso when young.

Marie Taglioni.

Louis XIV.


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Natalia Bessmertnova, Galina Ulanova.

I've seen Bessmertnova's work on DVD, and I would have loved to see her live during her prime in the 1970's. :D I would also have loved to seen Maya Plisetskaya in 1947, right about the time she made her triumphant debut in Swan Lake.

I do know why Ulanova was so beloved--her ability to act as shown in a number of old films of her performances during Ulanova's prime was just amazing. :dunno:

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