His Dancers

Encompassing the Role of Sleepwalker.

Posted by on 01.20.2011

A couple weeks ago I received a question on my Tumblr about the challenges faced by the ballerinas who dance the Sleepwalker in George Balanchine’s La Sonnambula.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with the ballet, the Sleepwalker catches the attention of the principal man (The Poet) as she enters the stage.  This woman wanders around her husband’s mansion like a ghost, entranced, with her hair down and a lit candle in hand. The man begins to dance with the Sleepwalker and attempts to wake her, but to no avail.  This role is very complex, not to mention technically difficult. So in order to better understand what goes into this role, I asked one of the...

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Allegra Kent’s Remarkable Journey.

Posted by on 01.17.2011

I have spent the past few weeks reading Allegra Kent’s autobiography, Once A Dancer.  Right off the bat, I was intrigued by her story.  The triumphs and hardships she experienced in her life captivated me through to the end.  I don’t wish to give you her whole story here, as I highly recommend her book.  However, I do want to share with you a little bit about her, as well as some moments from the book that were highlights for me. - Allegra Kent was born Iris Margo Cohen on August 11, 1937.  Iris’ mother, Shirley, changed her children’s last name to Kent when Iris was 2.  This was Shirley’s way of rebelling against her husband.   When...

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George Balanchine: His Ballerinas.

Posted by on 01.11.2011

This is my next Balanchine series installment as I continue to read “George Balanchine The Ballet Maker” by Robert Gottlieb. Balanchine was notorious for having muses who inspired him throughout his career.  He would find his first major muse when City Ballet moved into City Center in 1948.  Balanchine would end his marriage to Vera Zorina and turn his focus to emerging star, Maria Tallchief, whom he would later marry. In her autobiography Tallchief says, “Work took precedence over everything…. Passion and romance didn’t play a big role in our married life.  We saved our emotion for the classroom.”  However, in the...

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