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Suzanne Farrell "not an allegro dancer"?


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Richard Buckle, in his biogsraphy George Balanchine, Ballet Master, spends some time discussing Suzanne Farrell and the effect that her dancing had on Balanchine's choreography, classwork, etc.

At one point he writes:

She was also not an allegro dancer ...

What exactly does the phrase "allegro dancer" mean in this context? Certainly Farrell seemed quite speedy when the choreography called for it.

P.S. To avoid upsetting all fans of Farrell, let me assure you that Buckle's comment was NOT meant as a criticism. The section is full of praise for her extraordinary dancing and her very real genius.

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As soon as I read this post I thought of Farrell dancing the variations in Chaconne. Very fast allegro dancing but done with a plushness and expansiveness. Personally I think her dancing defied any sort of attempt to place her in a specific category. You can't stick her in a mold because she broke the mold.

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Patricia McBride was an allegro dancer -- small, light and quick. I'd second perky's phrase "plushness and expansiveness." Adagio dancers may have speed, but they also the quality of stillness and beautiful lines.

That's just what I was thinking, without having the expertise to have said so (and I wouldn't have in this case). How nice to find one's instincts confirmed by someone within the field. Before I got to Alexandra's remark, I had McBride in mind as what the 'in-house comparison' might be, as well as the plushness (although I tend to use related words for it, more often voluptuous or luxurious even, although plush is perfect) and expansiveness for Farrell.

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