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RIP Violette Verdy


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Just learned from a Royal Ballet tweet that Violette Verdy has died. I am so grieved. I have passed her on the streets of the West Side and she exuded joyful life. Her recorded coaching sessions were a reflection of whom she was, an exuberant spirit and brilliant executant. She will be missed as a dancer, a ballet mistress, and a human being of striking joie de vivre. There's an obituary in the February 9 NY Times.

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Beg, borrow, or steal the old video of Agon with Violette as the castanet girl -- she was vivid in everything, but the way she danced that role is singular, sparkling, radiant, sovereign, and nobody else danced it like that. It's truly startling, the way she made it seductive was nothing like the way most NYCB dancers do it, since it was so perfect, so restrained, but so sudden, so impulsive, she melted into a that attitude effacee like a rainbow, soft, but very very fast. The coquetterie was intense, but in no way obvious -- It was pure offering. Nor did she need you to takethe bait -- she was sovereign.

That's what made her Girl in Green so remarkable -- she wasn't needy in any way: she put it out there, as we say, and the boys for some reason did not take it, but she was in no way humiliated nor rejected, they didn't dare and she wasn't going to rebuke them.

THe people who would have the most to say, she has outlived: well, maybe Villella will say something. But Robert Garis, the critic who loved her most, he's gone; and the Ballet Alert fan known as Gleb.... Mark Goldweber, the virtuosic star of the Joffrey -- has been dead for 15 years now. But his posts were once the sort of thing you lived for -- and he talked on here about how when he was a teen-ager, and moved to NYC to go to SAB, he boarded with Nellie and her mother and spoke of her with such feeling. He was himself so sensitive, and such a colossal virtuosic talent, his every insight into her genius was precious.

I can't get he search function to bring up his posts -- but maybe Helene can find them?

I can't also help missing Carley Brodeur at a time like this -- she would have had much to say that would help console those of us old enough to have seen some wonders, and to help the younger folk understand what they have missed. And she would have posted Gleb's remarks already.

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Garis was an admirer of Verdy's on and off the stage, but B. H. Haggin was the most devoted critical observer of the Verdy "operation," to borrow one of his favorite locutions. Haggin also wrote a book on Verdy as part of the Dance Horizons series.

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Dirac, thank you for remembering Haggin -- a wonderful critic, fantastically observant. Yes, he was the first I ever encountered who wrote about the dancer's production as many music-critics write about a singer's, and indeed, his phrase "the ballerina operation" gave me a lot to think about. I think of Garis, whom I studied with at Berkeley when he'd come out here as a guest professor, as being in much the same mold as Haggin.

And thanks, Helene, for the tribute to glebb [though I still can't find any of his posts about Violette, and they showed her in such a human light].

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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,

Thanks for posting this vipa!

I've only watched a quarter of it (looking forward to watching the rest of it today) but I can see why Ms. Verdy was so well loved. She just radiates warmth and passion. Lauren Fadeley, a principal dancer with PA Ballet who went to Indiana University after SAB/NYCB, also wrote a touching tribute to Verdy on her Instagram.

I wish I could have seen Verdy perform. My condolences to her many fans and those who knew and loved her.

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I'm just hearing about this now and I'm so very sad that we've lost another great in the ballet world. Ms. Verdy danced with such joie de vivre and exuded irrepressible charm. And she gave back so much to the ballet world after she stopped dancing. Rest in Peace, Ms. Verdy, you will always be remembered. I'll be thinkng of Violette all day and will keep her in my heart by watching some of the videos I have of her dancing.

Many lovely remembrances in this thread, too, thank you.

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