Violette Verdy has passed on. I’m not very up-to-date with who’s who, but her I had heard of, and read things from (if you recall the Balanchine book a while back). Good gosh.
Here’s a link to an obituary from NYT:
Then there is the news about the Paris Opera Ballet and Benjamin Millepied. It’s quite surprising because a few months back, I came across an interview with him in Dance magazine. Though one did get the sense there were things…he was still being game about it. He mentioned a hierarchy for dancers; the system having a particular sort of style; his desire to modify (i.e. change) the programme by injecting what he may have thought to be a healthy, international balance to affairs – there was a kind of hint that he may have thought the company’s diet to be insular or at least, not as up-to-date (sorry, can’t think of a less prickly word) than, say, some others (unnamed) – and it brought to mind how SDT works to update its repertoire and keep it from looking dated while at the same time appreciating the gorgeous, timeless pieces from its past repertoire. In any case, in the same breath as the issue of programmes, he essentially said, I can’t predict the year after, nor the next, which kind of suggested that he would potentially not be around. Of course, prudence and conservatism and caution are understandable, but I suppose one would imagine a long-term vision was supposed to be on the cards.
I am not in the industry so I do not know what it is like to be inside and to hear such things. In other industries, such news sends ripples and travels faster than a bullet.
Trust me, this is not hindsight. You can obtain the issue from dance Europe online and see it for yourself. Though I must say I haven’t seen the copies I ordered back in late Nov – perhaps Christmas delayed posting? — I ordered that very issue and I can’t recall if it’s the one with the wonderful interview with a dancer who said that there were dancers that she and her friends talked about when they were younger, and those who just didn’t have that je ne sais quoi and whom they thus did not bother to discuss. She mentioned a dancer whom she had seen, at age X, dancing Giselle (I believe) and who danced it like she was more of a 16 year old than the other 16 year olds onstage.
And that is what Margot Fonteyn has, if you watch her old videos. That artistry. That magic.
And on that note, we should look at this video of a most adorable, wonderful dance. What a lovely thing it is to be able to see and hear how a piece should work. It really helps one appreciate the piece. And such a delightful dance it is. Choe Yuhui and Alexander Campbell rehearsing Frederick Ashton. Beautiful. You can see what it’s going to be like, fully-formed.