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Allegra Kent in Symphony in C 2nd Mvt.


cubanmiamiboy

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On 14 Feb 2017 at 8:02 AM, DanielBenton said:

Very late in GB' life:

 

Here is the quotation from D'Amboise's book:


In the year before his death, I often escorted Balanchine to visit the legendary Dr. James Gould 
for ear tests. Killing time in the waiting room, I once asked, "Mr. B, in the history of all the 
ballerinas you've taught and choreographed for-from the earliest days, Toumanova, Baronova, 
Riabouchinska, all the way up till today-who do you con­ sider the most talented? The most unusual? 
" He immediately answered : "Allegra. She is the most gifted. She is missing only one ele­ ment in 
'the formula to be perfect .' . . . It's like chemistry in a jar . Energy, lots of it, must be 
there. That's the soup that everything cooks in. Then you put in ambition and humility. 'Ah, I'm 
not good enough yet, I can be better.' But, there must be balance-not so much humil­ity that you 
end up saying, Tm not good enough, I'll never be ready.' You must have in the formula pride, but 
not so much that the dancer says, 'I don't do matinees.' You can be stupid and still dance 
beautifully, but you can't become great without intelligence . . . Allegra has the right 
ingredients, but something prevents her from being consistent. I can't count on her. Still, I keep 
her on salary and tell her, 'When you're ready to dance, come dance. If you dance one ballet a year, 
it's enough.' She's worth it.''
 

 

For the moment I'm curious as to how she and George Balanchine saw each other. From  my continued viewing and limited reading she doesn't seem like someone who can be told what to do artistically beyond the basic requirements. On the other hand, based on this quote, it doesn't seem like George Balanchine missed much. So the fascination. Did he lay down the parameters and let her do as she saw fit as long as she stayed reasonably within his vision, or was he trying to guide her as much as possible? The quote above doesn't really explain this. He talks about her abilities, but not her artistic choices. I tend to think that he was respectful, but determined, and that her response was much more subtle, surfacing even in other areas.  Maybe someone here can offer some insight. In any case they produced great art together. 

 

I guess you can write more with each viewing. One important thing that I missed in my post above is how her view snaps to her partner's  face at the very end of the duet as if he was finally the answer to all that she was looking for.

Edited by Buddy
grammatical correction made
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Again returning to the enchantment of the duet starting at 9:00 of the video clip that Cristian first posted, I've tried a once through first impressions. I hope that this might be a pleasant, and perhaps thought provoking, experience for those who read it. 

 

she begins with uncertainty as her partner launches her

 

she rides both for love of the experience and for love of him

 

uncertainty again appears, she literally tries to run away, but is caught up in the beauty and loving

 

again she tries to leave but returns more voluntarily, loving the beauty and also exploring the person making it possible, her partner

 

she then becomes the work of art, herself, the source of beauty, while acknowledging and using his guidance

 

she starts to reach out to the beauty beyond herself and becomes enraptured

 

she becomes a compelling image of  calm, innocence and curiosity amidst the group of returning women dancers as they weave a spell   

 

she joins them

 

it becomes an artistic exploration as she concentrates on exactness and refinement

 

then she’s taken by the joy and magic of it, the actual performing

 

her partner returns and once again she’s caught up in his presence

 

she mixes her performance with her reaching out, her exhilaration and her desire for her partner

 

finally letting herself be brought into him

Edited by Buddy
typo correction
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I've been traveling for about two months and the few chances that I've had to watch the internet have been mainly to see her and Jacques d'Amboise in "A Midsummer's Night's Dream" (Act II Divertissement Pas De Deux). The video is very blurry but has been a wonderful traveling companion.

I'm in London for a week and this seems more appropriate than ever. They are both wonderful. Each of her moves has meaning and enchantment. Her character is all encompassing. From interviews she seems to know the background of every work very well. In this case each inflection seems to be an embracing compilation of Shakespearian imagery. It's one of the finest ballet statements that I've ever seen. 

Edited by Buddy
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On 3/6/2017 at 12:29 PM, Buddy said:

he begins with uncertainty as her partner launches her

she rides both for love of the experience and for love of him

uncertainty again appears, she literally tries to run away, but is caught up in the beauty and loving

ETC

Buddy, this is beautiful. Thanks. (I'm just seeing this thread for the first time.) I love your poetic rendition of this transcendent performance. 

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Thanks, Cobweb. I agree about the transcendence of her performances.

I have not tried such an interpretation with the "Midsummer NIght's Dream" duet because it's more of an aura for me. Again, I have to say that  Jacques d'Amboise's 'background' performance is exceptional. He reinforces both her and the mood wonderfully.

If I call this a "compilation" of Shakespeare, I'm referring to the finest imagery and beauty that he was capable of.

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I'm stretching this topic to the limit, but about two years ago when Cristian started this discussion I suggested that he take a look at Eva Evdokimova. There are very few videos that I can find and the visual quality is not the greatest. I recently returned to viewing this amazing and lesser known ballerina and I find the comparisons to Allegra Kent to be fascinating. I've not really tried to analyze it. I would suggest her Giselles.

Maybe someone else would like to comment on this.

Added: I would like to say this. I've been glued to Allegra Kent and Jacques d'Amboise's "Midsummer NIght's Dream" duet video clip and I find one of Eva Evdokimova's Giselles to somehow be a continuation. The power and significance of expression of both these ballerinas is remarkable and I find the pure beauty of Eva Evdokimova's dancing to add another wonderful dimension.   

 

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Since I discovered it for myself several years ago, I always keep coming back to the video of her and Jacques D'Amboise's Act II Divertissement of "A Midsummer Night's Dream”.

Helene posted it here, the second post of this discussion. Posted February 12, 2017

At this time there is too much beautiful ‘magic’ in this performance for me to want to try to explain it. Instead I would like to recall these comments. There are others as well that are very fine. One word that appears twice is “Poet.”

cubanmiamiboy Posted February 12, 2017

 What is with Allegra Kent that makes this section [from Symphony in C]....almost surreal..???.  There is something on her which I can't quite describe...that comes from within and out.  She dances this all the way from her face to her fingers.  There is as if she truly inhabits the music...as if she BECOMES the music itself.  Very rarely I have seen a ballerina that is able to transmit almost a hypnotic quality to the choreography.

DanielBenton  Posted February 12, 2017

A poet friend of mine, upon seeing the 1973 Berlin video of Allegra in the Symphony in C 2nd movement, said she has a nobility about her...Her autobiographical book referenced above shows her to be an extremely intelligent, articulate, and very witty observer of herself….

KarenAG  Posted February 12, 2017

I have many feelings and thoughts about Allegra - she is one of the most poignant figures in ballet and particularly NYCB history. I think of her as a poet.

Drew   Posted February 13, 2017

I only saw Kent a couple of times, but remember her as always haunting, magical, distinctive...whatever the role. A very special ballerina.

atm711  Posted February 14, 2017

I have always loved and responded to Kent's 'other world'.

 

Added: For me, this performance give images of and touches on what might be the Elevated and the Sublime in life. ( I also feel that  Jacques D'Amboise is exceptional here.)

Edited by Buddy
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