DANCE ENCOUNTERS
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by Leland Windreich

Coppélia in Victoria: Dorothy Wilson had returned to Victoria for her retirement after a long residence in British Columbia's northlands and Wynne Shaw was carrying on her work as a ballet teacher when we met to discuss their careers in 1978.

Anna Istomina: I had no idea that the exotic Anna Istomina, whom I saw in the title role of Nijinska's The Snow Maiden in San Francisco in 1943, was a Canadian girl named Audree Thomas. Photos and stories in the Vancouver press of the 1940's, which I perused years later, made the connection clear.

Robert Lindgren: I missed meeting Bobby Lindgren on his home turf at Winston-Salem in 1979 when I was in North Carolina for a Dance Critics Conference, and he was out of town. Several years later he passed through Vancouver ...

Balanchine's Salad Days: Although I have only the highest respect for the genius of George Balanchine, I am often distressed by the blind worship that his acolytes manifest. In his catalogue of 425 works there are as many trivial and inconsequential pieces as there are masterpieces.

The National Ballet School: The conference that Betty Oliphant organized in 1979 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the National Ballet School afforded me my first chance to cover an event outside of Vancouver. What I recall most vividly was that the February weather was bitterly cold ...

Duncan Noble: Duncan Noble visited his family in Vancouver frequently, and I met him at a reunion with his colleagues at the apartment of June Roper in 1979. Over the years we have become staunch pen pals ...

Alexandra Denisova: I tracked down Patricia Meyers Galian by writing to her Ballet Russe colleague, Tatiana Riabouchinska. Pat, a long-time resident in Studio City, still had family in Victoria, B.C., whom she visited regularly.

Ian Gibson: Ian Gibson was the most celebrated of the dancers who emerged from June Roper's Vancouver studio. He was the hardest to track down as he was no longer involved in the dance profession.

Whither the Programme Note: This article was inspired by a panel discussion I moderated called Dancing in the Dark on the subject of clarity of purpose in choreography.

Léonide Massine's Aleko: Perhaps Léonide Massine's greatest achievement lay in his ability to convey so vividly in his dance works the conceptions of the painters who created his décors. Picasso, Matisse, Miro and Dali were early collaborators.

Karen Jamieson and Sisyphus: Sisyphus was Jamieson's breakthrough dance work and it captured the hearts and minds of Canadian audiences. Her husband, David Rimmer, reveals the impact of the piece as an enduring record in a film.

Erik Bruhn: I was fortunate to have witnessed nearly the entire cycle of Erik Bruhn's North American dancing career, from his emergency appearance in William Dollar's Constantia at ABT to his unique interpretation of Dr. Coppelius for the National Ballet of Canada.

Ballet British Columbia and L'Affaire Neary: The Patricia Neary affair at Ballet B.C. inspired the largest volume of commentary in the press that any arts faction or event in Vancouver has ever produced - a unique situation in a town covered by two newspapers that are generally impervious to its cultural life.

The Bournonville Legacy: I had not been to Denmark for thirty-two years and found it basically unchanged when I took a group in 1992 to watch the second celebration of Bournonville's contributions to Danish Ballet.

James Kudelka: James Kudelka and I share a birthday and a mixed heritage of British and Eastern European stock. I had optimistically hoped for more intimacy than was forthcoming in the interview on which this piece is based.

Ballet Blues in Moscow: On this, my third trip to Russia and the first after the fall of communism, I did not get my visa until the day before I boarded a Delta flight to Moscow in New York City. On our excursion to the ballet a bodyguard accompanied us with a pistol in a holster on his hip.

Agnes: My debt to Agnes de Mille is immeasurable. She encouraged me to continue writing about dance over the years, convinced that I had a future as a critic. At one point she contacted the arts editor at the Washington Post, recommending me as a potential when an opening occurred. Nothing came of this attempt, but her faith in my abilities kept me active.

Nana Gollner: Two dancers whose work I loved were Nana Gollner and Lupe Serrano, both reigning stars of American Ballet Theatre for long periods of time. Neither wrote about herself or was discussed in depth by writers or historians. The neglect of these two remarkable women demonstrates how quickly a dancer's life and contribution can be overlooked or forgotten.

Tudor's Psyche: A negative review I had written in Ballet Review of Donna Perlmutter's Shadowplay: The Life of Antony Tudor incurred the wrath of the author who blasted me in a subsequent issue as "just one member of New York's critical dance community [who] remains insulated from the world of letters."

Hanya Holm's Dance of the Blessed Spirits: Hanya Holm's Orpheus had an indelible effect both on dancers who performed in the work and audiences who marvelled at its magnificent staging.

The Anderson Films in Australia: For years I had entertained fantasies of seeing Ringland Anderson's fabled movies of the de Basil Ballet Russe but never expected that I would get to Australia.

Kent Stowell creates a brilliant ballet to the music of Jerome Kern: One of the privileges of my life has been seeing Pacific Northwest Ballet grow over twenty-five years from a fledgling regional troupe to a major force in American ballet.


 

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