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RIP Violette Verdy


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very sad news. Reported that she had a massive stroke yesterday and died not long ago.

John Clifford just posted

She is with Balanchine now.

From Sharon Wagner: "It is with a heavy heart that I have to tell you that Violette Verdy, my dear friend for over 50 years and one of the world's leading ballerinas passed away this afternoon after suffering a stroke. She had joie de vivre and gave 100 percent to the dance world. Violette will be missed by everyone who knew her around the world."

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Thankfully, this post BT John Clifford is public-facing, and we can offer our condolences to her friends, family, colleagues, students, and mentees.

What a loss for the ballet world...

Rest in peace, Mme Verdy.

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A great ballerina and a great person passed away. Just think of the amazing roles that were made for her (Tchaik pas [although it was started on Adams], Emeralds, the Act II pas de deux from Midsummer, the central role in Divert, Episodes, Liebeslieder, Dances at a gathering, La Source etc...). And think of all the dancers she taught and coached. I was lucky enough to see some coaching sessions with her live and just thinking about them brings tears to my eyes. She had the ability to bring so much joy and personality to those sessions while still imparting the important details of the role she was coaching. She was special.

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Very sad news. Such a beautiful, charming, generous soul. Recently thinking

about her when watching her Company heirs in Sonatine and Liebeslieder.

She leaves a brilliant legacy to her friends and fans. Condolences to all

she knew and those that admired her from afar.

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A loss to the art for sure. She is one I was hoping would live forever! I heard her speak on a panel about Balanchine a couple of years ago and she was unforgettable. I'm thankful that we have videos of her coaching young dancers. In case you haven't seen it, this great one:

Damian Woetzel is the host and Tiler Peck and Jennifer Ringer among those being coached,

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Now that "Violette" - as we spoke of her - has made her final exit, it's good to be with those who also notice. Thanks, especially to those who have posted links to media showing Verdy, particularly the early still images I had never seen before with her frequent partner Edward Villella. (For what it's worth, however, her usual partner in Emeralds was Conrad Ludlow.)

Back in the day, Balanchine's audience was a pretty canny and coherent lot; we were mostly regulars - "It was our civilization," Arlene Croce wrote afterward - and applause at the wrong time was rare. But when it was time, was there ever! And shouts, sometimes, and bravo's, and so on. And for one dancer in particular, there was "Viva! Viva!" Usually her name wasn't included, though sometimes it was, but she always seemed to know it meant, "Viva Verdy!" and she would light up even more and come down to the footlights and express her gratitude in body language.

VIVA! VIVA!

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Verdy was also uniquely articulate and analytical, a great “explainer” of ballet and Balanchine. She is irreplaceable.

Marina Harss’ profile of Verdy for The Nation here. It has already been posted elsewhere, but it has a special resonance now.

All this, in a minute or so of choreography. The explanation is typical Verdy, a mixture of the intellectual (Shakespeare), the physical, the emotional, and the domestic (food, a frequent point of reference for the former ballerina, who knew hunger during the war). Like Laracey during the Sonatine taping, the young dancer on the receiving end of this deluge of references strains to keep up with her train of thought, to sift through it for ideas with which to color her own performance. Verdy’s mind is like a ticker tape, clicking incessantly, a never-ending stream. It’s impossible to grasp it all, but even a tiny fraction can profoundly change a performance. “I just walked away with a new sense of self and perfumes to play with onstage,” Laracey told me of working with Verdy. “It’s like nourishment; I still try to think about it daily.”
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Violette! Oh, I loved her so much. I have so many memories of working with her starting from SAB when I did gigs with her and Eddie. Watching her at NYCB in Emeralds, Donizetti, Liebeslieder, Tchai Pas, La Source..... Violette's soul, her charm, her strong technique, her perfume, her humor. She was so womanly and luxurious in her way, bringing warmth and sensuality along with surprising sparks to every role. For me there will be no other as the green skirted girl in Dances at a Gathering.

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Verdy was also uniquely articulate and analytical, a great “explainer” of ballet and Balanchine. She is irreplaceable.

Marina Harss’ profile of Verdy for The Nation here. It has already been posted elsewhere, but it has a special resonance now.

I totally agree that she had great things to say about, and great insight into, the Balanchine and Robbins choreography she was involved with. The Harss article was one of the best of that year.

Nelly "Violette Verdy" Guillerm was the first female artistic director of the Paris Opera Ballet - it's interesting that there hasn't been an official acknowledgement of her death/contribution, so far, from the POB. Perhaps they are in too much of a kerfuffle over Millepied. ;)

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When I was a teenager one of the first ballets I saw at NYCB was Verdy in The Firebird and I was totally blown away by her performance. I knew I had just seen something incredible. I remember it still. If this is professional ballet, I thought, I want lots more.

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Anna Kisselgoff's obituary in the Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/10/arts/dance/violette-verdy-ballerina-with-flair-dies-at-82.html?_r=0


Violette Verdy, a French-born ballerina who became one of New York City Ballet’s most acclaimed stars by bringing her deep musicality, effervescent presence and theatrical flair to George Balanchine’s plotless ballets, died on Monday in Bloomington, Ind. She was 82.

Her cousin Annick Horville-Chateaureynaud said she died after a brief illness. Ms. Verdy lived in Bloomington and taught there at Indiana University. She had earlier directed the Paris Opera Ballet and the Boston Ballet.
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Oh no, somehow one thought that she was one of those who would go on forever and ever. Many many years ago I was actually in class with her - if I close my eyes I can see her right there - so sparkling, so full of joy and that in a class! She was a true inspiration to all of us. RIP Madame Verdy.

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