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A Tribute to Retiring Dancer, Principal Deanna Seay

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Miami City Ballet held another of its Open Barre Series performances today, this time dedicated to the official retirement of Principal Miss Deanna Seay. I couldn't attend-(got off work at 7 PM)-and even the intermezzo was over by the time I got there after barely making my way to the horrible traffic by driving like a madman.

I was very upset to read here via bart about her injury while dancing her last performance in West Palm Beach, hence canceling her scheduled numbers for the Open Barre . I'm SURE she would have put on a beautiful performance in this intimate, warmer venue, the MCB own little theater in the school facility.

Now,if Miss Seay is reading this, I want her to know that down here in South Florida we truly thank her for all the beautiful dancing that she gave us all this years. I believe that each and every dancer has at least one specific, unique quality that distinguish her/him from the rest. In Seay's case it was the noble feeling that she always gave to her role approaching . She is a dancer with a very distinctive CLASS, which along with her exquisite classical line, maturity and wonderful delicacy made me believe even more in that there's way more beyond mere technique.

...and she also "opened" my eyes to the Diamonds Pas de Deux. :wub:

We love you, Deanna, and we will certainly miss you! :flowers::flowers::flowers::flowers:

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I was there for the matinee, and I agree with everything Cristian has said.

I want to add that this was ALSO a marvelous program. It was still a "Tribute to Deanna Seay" but with three principals dancing the roles, all of them associated with Seay, that she had planned to dance herself. Seay did a really impressive and moving introduction to each piece. The even ended with the entire cast and audience giving her an ovation. Lots of smiles and tears for a real ballet artist, and a woman who has always brought thoughtfulness, serious preparation, and a sense of humor to every ballet she worked on. Seay clearly feels a responsibility to the integrity of the work she is dancing -- understanding it, exploring it, showing it at its best. This is a quality, I am certain, she has helped communicate to younger dancers at MCB.

Seay mentioned that the problem was a tear in the ACL (a knee ligament, I think). She was not in pain, though standing on crutches as she introduced each act. She was wearing a long slender evening gown and high-healed sandals -- and looked just as super as she sounded! I envy her attitude as much as I admire her intelligence.

Highlights for me:

-- a chance to see Callie Manning dance Seay's favorite part of Emeralds, the 2nd principal's variation and the walking pdd. Seay mentioned the help that villella had given in preparing for this role. For the variation, she imagined herself walking through a wood at evening time. Villella said, she may be thinking about or looking for "the man who isn't there." For the walking pdd -- a piece that has always puzzled me when I've seen it, though the music and movements are gorgeous -- he said: "This is the man who isn't there ... but he IS there ... but she doesn't know he is there." Manning had only a couple of days to work up the role. Her performance was inevitably unfinished, but there was much the at was beautiful and moving. Manning was completely in sync with her partner Didier Bramaz, who understood exactly what was going on. I will never see Emeralds again without thinking of this performance and "the man who isn't there ... etc."

-- Tricia Albertson, dancing Allegro Brillante, with three principals men taking turns: Penteado, Guerra, Zou. Albertson, whose precision and energy sometimes gets lost on the main stage, is an astonishing dancer in a smaller setting. I loved this performance.


-- Jennifer Kronenberg and Carlos Guerra in Theme and Variations, with a really marvelous corps in support. Kronenberg, seen from 20 feet away, is just as perfect and goddess-like while dancing as she is on the big stage. Guerra was an attentive and affectionate partner. I hadn't seen this in more than 25 years. An entire evening of Seay and Kronenberg alternating the parts, again and again, would have given me a kind of bliss.

-- The film clip of interviews (unfortunately made with an inadequate microphone that picked up a vast amount of ambient noise) and videos of Seay . She talked about the importance of a sense of humor in dealing with life, and reminisced about a fall during a fish dive in (I think, but I can't recall exactly) Swan Lake. The video showed the fish dive (grand preparation, rather sillyl fall) several times. Seay's philosophical attitude before we saw the clip allowed us all to laugh about it.

In connection with that, Seay mentioned that this injury last Sunday was her first in her entire 21-year career. As she talked, her love of ballet and gratitude for having been able to dance so long and with a company like MCB, were palpable. Those are qualities which I also associate with her dancing: I love this art, I take it seriously, I do my best, I'm really delighted to be exactly where I am, on this stage, at this moment, dancing to this music, with this group of dancer-friends, in this role.

What an artist. Best, of course, would have been to see the program as original planned, with Seay dancing. Second best -- and a very respectable second best -- was to see her colleagues dancing in her honor.

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I forgot to mention a scintillating and impressively danced Swan Lake pas de trois by three school apprentices: Skyler Lubin, Nathalia Arja, and Kleber Rebello. Each has the spirit of youth combined with the strong technique of older, more experienced dancers. And each already has a distinct and attractive stage personality.

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Thanks to both cubanmiamiboy and bart for their reactions to this special tribute.

Seay mentioned that this injury last Sunday was her first in her entire 21-year career.
My first response was the cruelty of fate, but on second thought, I realized how extraordinarily lucky Seay and her audiences have been. One performance missed to injury in 21 years! I think she deserves some kind of medal for that!

I wish her all the best, and trusting bart's judgment, join him in hoping that MCB will use her intelligence, humor and love and respect for the art in a new capacity.

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