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Marius Zirra

Guest mzdancer

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Guest mzdancer

Hi everybody! I was just wondering whether anyone knows who Marius Zirra is? He is my ballet master and has been for over ten years. Everyone in our studio loves him. As he gets older, he gets sicker. So, we (a group of girls in my studio) have decided that we would like to put together a book of memories of Marius. If we can ever get him to talk about himself, then we will put some biographical stuff in too. I was wondering if anyone knew him and had something to add to the book? For those of you who don't know Marius, he was born in Romania, trained in the Kirov, then defected and worked in the San Diego Ballet Company. He married one of the girls in the company, Suzan, and then ended up moving to a small, hick town in Idaho where we wish more people could appreciate him. If you do know him, please reply and i can give you info about where to send the stuff you would like to contribute.



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Guest mzdancer

Ms. Slayden,

We have thought of asking his wife to help us, however, she suffers from severe depression (I can't remember the specific name). She stays inside a "shell". She doesn't come out of it very much...only if she knows you really well, and feels really comfortable with you. She has even stopped coming and running the sound system during performances. We invite her to everything, but she will not come. We are trying to find former students of his from San Diego, this was one of the ideas.

Thanks for the ideas!


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I just learned of Marius Zirra's death. I took company classes with him when he was the Ballet Master of the California Ballet Company. I was there for two years and beyond learning the technique, I was most impressed by the attention he got from the company by barely speaking over a whisper.

I believe your project of making a memory book of him is wonderful! I'm sorry that I don't personally have any significant biographical information to add.

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I post the following at the request of Greg Gianas. It is self-explanatory.

I read, today, in a back issue of "ballet talk" that "mzdaner" wants to learn previously unknown information concerning Marius Zirra, a Romanian ballet dancer and choreographer.

I have such information. Please contact me, and I'll send this information to anyone who is interested. Here's my contact information:

Greg Gianas

16044 N.E. 106th St.

Redmond, WA 98052

Phone: 425-881-1776

email: gianas@earthlink.net

My apology for the timing of this post. Here is a brief explanation:

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, I was a college teacher of writing, humanities, and literature, as well as a dance, drama, and visual art critic for several, southern California newspapers. I wrote articles about Marius; produced a ballet of Marius', "The Choice"; and became his friend.

Marius became angry with me when I trashed the ballet he choreographed and I produced. When I moved to Seattle in 1981, Marius and I lost touch. I googled his name today and found "mzdancer"'s 2005 request for information about Marius that is not commonly known.

I valued Marius as a person, man, veteran, and ballet choreographer. He was heterosexual and loyal to his wife; neither are common among many males in the dance world, from my perspective. As a Viet Nam combat veteran, I often have an immediate affinity with people who have experienced prolonged exposure to war and find it hard to make friends with someone who hasn't been annealed by unusual, tragic experiences. Marius was the youngest fighter pilot in the Romanian Air Force. He was also a tortured prisoner, yet emerged from these tribulations as a gentle, cultured, generous man. He didn't wear his expansive life on his sleeve, and his quiet humility didn't match his prodigious accomplishments in more than a few arenas. Marius had a rare mix of passion and intelligence without bravado. He was silently brave in every aspect of his life I witnessed. One of our mutual friends, Quinn Mizer, a visual artist, who did the sets for Marius' "The Choice," died in 1981, and I couldn't bear to lose another friend. That's why I chose to lose contact with Marius. (I haven't had Marius' courage as a civilian.)

Marius is a man, war veteran, husband, ballet dancer, and ballet choreographer to be honored, and I would gladly contribute to honoring him in any way possible.

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mzdancer...i was feeling nostalgic of my old dancing days and googled "Marius Zirra" and this popped up.

I danced with Marius from 1999 - 2003...so part of my training was at the same time as you! considering our studio wasn't that large, we probably know each other. My name is Brittney Terry.

I know you posted this quite a while ago, so I was wondering if you ever put together the book or not.

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Welcome to BalletTalk, Brittney.

As you note, mzdancer posted quite a while ago and is not now a member of either BalletTalk or our sister board, BalletTalk for Dancers. Perhaps the best way to find whether she (presumably a she, since "we" is described as "a bunch of girls from our studio) ever published her book is to search Amazon's book listings.

Perhaps you have some special nostalgia about Marius Zirra that you'd like to share.

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I was a good friend of Marius Zirra for a few years in San Diego around 1980. He had a couple of dancers whom he favored artistically, Ellen Richardson (from the Atlanta region, I think) and Sue? Wingate, who was married to a prosecutor. Both were excellent ballet dancers. Marius told me of his gross anatomy lessons to learn of the physical structure of muscles, tendons, and ligaments so as best to instruct his students in a more healthy manner. I miss him dearly.

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