Tag: ballet

She asked for some pliés. “I did two pliés, and she said, ‘Forget it,’” Walczak said. “‘She will never dance. She has no talent.’ And I was destroyed. For two days, I cried. My parents didn’t know what to do with me. And then I said, No. I’m going to dance.”

At around 14, she auditioned for the School of American Ballet and got in, later performing with Ballet Society, a subscription-based company formed in 1946, in Balanchine’s “The Spellbound Child.” She was insistent on another point, too: “I just really was not his cup of tea.”

She referred to herself as “one of the numbers.” She never auditioned. “He knew that I was a very fast learner,” she said. “He knew he could always count on me. That no matter what happened, I would learn it. I’d get through it. And I think that was the main thing he respected about me. And I think he saw that I loved to dance.”

Walczak was also a sharp observer. (With the dancer Una Kai, she wrote “Balanchine the Teacher,” a jewel of a book examining the fundamentals that shaped the company’s first generation.) “What made him zero in on a dancer was not only the physical, the technical, the height, the look, whatever — and Suzanne Farrell’s the perfect example of it,” she said, referring to Balanchine’s muse of the 1960s and ’70s. “It’s the intangible, uncontrollable timing of her body.”

Walczak, who works with dancers and also designs veils and headpieces for brides, left the company in 1960, realizing that she wasn’t going to go any further. Coming offstage in “Scotch Symphony,” she met Balanchine in the wings. “He said, ‘You know, dear, you are very good dancer, but the ones that are coming are going to be

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The West Australian Ballet’s triple bill Ballet to Broadway is as much a celebration of three renowned composers as it is of ballet.

Featuring the disparate music of Alexander Glazunov, Léo Delibes and George Gershwin, the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, coaxed by the raw power of conductor Jessica Gethin, generated an enhanced intensity of phrasing, timbre, colour and emotion, which in turn seemed to inspire the dancers into moments of scintillating vivacity.

To open the evening, WA Ballet Artistic Director Aurelian Scannella invited globe-trotting choreographer Javier Torres to create a new version of the Pas Classique Hongrois from the third act of Marius Petipa’s Raymonda, first performed in 1898. 

The West Australian Ballet perform Raymonda. Photo © Clinton Bradbury

Raymonda is a Medieval tale of a French noblewoman caught between the desires of her Crusader fiancé and a Saracen Sheik. Here, it opens with a wash of neutral colour, dancers dressed in sparkling tones of beige, the women in tutus and glittering tiaras (Erika Turunen) and posed as though ready to perform before royalty, awaiting music that hasn’t as yet come.

When it does the dancers begin performing the demanding, classical techniques, which need a hefty lot of synchronisation. Javier has added variations from other acts and some extra drama, turning solos into duets and trios to further showcase the skills of the dancers.

With agile insouciance the dancers captured the Slavic nuances of elongated upper torsos and arms, and in their duets Principals Oscar Valdes and Kiki Saito respond to Glaznov’s melancholic music with their usual luminous expression and power and sail through the classical demands with bravura and ease. Torres’ additions gives some dramatic heart to the ‘grand spectacle’ (rather than any concentration on an intriguing plot) that Petipa is said to have wanted.

Sylvia, a

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