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PATRICIA McBRIDE TAPES VIDEO SERIES FOR THE GEORGE BALANCHINE FOUNDATION

Former New York City Ballet principal dancer coached excerpts choreographed by Balanchine on her and Jacques d'Amboise for the ballet Who Cares?

New York City and Charlotte, NC — Patricia McBride, whose stellar career with NYCB spanned three decades, coached on camera two memorable dances from Balanchine's Gershwin ballet, Who Cares?. "Fascinatin' Rhythm" a solo, and "The Man I Love," a pas de deux, were created by Balanchine on McBride, the latter with Jacques d'Amboise as her partner. The resulting video will become part of The George Balanchine Foundation's Interpreters Archive. The aim of this video series is to document the insights of the originators or important later interpreters of key roles in the Balanchine repertory and to preserve and pass on this knowledge to the dancers, scholars, and audiences of today. Taping took place March 22, 2016, at the Patricia McBride and Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux Center for Dance, Charlotte, NC.

McBride worked with Alessandra Ball James and Josh Hall, principal dancers with Charlotte Ballet, of which McBride is associate artistic director as well as master teacher at the Charlotte Ballet School. Pianist Kazuko Adachi played for the coaching session. Nancy Reynolds, dance writer and historian, who is also the Balanchine Foundation's director of research, supervised the shoot and conducted an interview with McBride.

Jaunty, exuberant, serious, playful, meditative—Who Cares? is a ballet of many moods. Expressed in a classical movement vocabulary heavily tinged with jazz, the choreography hints at Balanchine's background in the commercial theater. He selected seventeen songs as a score for the work, of which the two for McBride were considered highlights. "'Fascinatin' Rhythm,' dazzlingly danced by McBride, is a perfect gem of musicality and invention, marvelous in its starts, stops, and emotional swirls," wrote Clive Barnes in the New York Times (2/15/70), while Robert Sealy observed, "In ‘The Man I Love,' McBride and d'Amboise together, angular, cat-wary, in and out of each other's arms, alternately aloof and impassioned, have the memory-burning dance of a lifetime" (Ballet Review III 3/70).

PATRICIA McBRIDE, in a long and illustrious career with New York City Ballet, had an extraordinarily large number of major works created on her by George Balanchine, including "Rubies" (from Jewels), Tarantella, Who Cares?, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Harlequinade, Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet (Intermezzo), Union Jack, Coppélia, and Divertimento from ‘Le Baiser de la Fée,' among several others.  McBride was also favored by Jerome Robbins, who created principal roles for her in Dances at a Gathering, The Goldberg Variations, In the Night, The Four Seasons, and Opus 19/The Dreamer, among others.   With her frequent partner Edward Villella she performed on concert stages all over the world.  Among her other partners were some of the most noted male dancers of her generation, including Mikhail Baryshnikov,  Helgi Tomasson, and Peter Martins.  McBride danced for five American presidents.  She is the recipient of a Dance Magazine Award and the Kennedy Center Honors.  After her retirement from performing in 1989, McBride, with her husband Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, joined the faculties of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and the Chautauqua Institute before taking up positions at Charlotte Ballet (formerly North Carolina Dance Theater) in 1996.

ALESSANDRA BALL JAMES is in her eleventh year with Charlotte Ballet.  She trained with Gwinnett Ballet Theatre under the direction of Lisa Shephard and with the Russian virtuoso Stanislav Issaev.  She went on to compete in the Premio Roma International Ballet Competition, winning third prize as well as the Grishko Prize for Charm and Elegance.  Ball James spent one season with Colorado Ballet before joining Charlotte Ballet in 2002.  After six years, she moved to Madrid, where she danced with the Victor Ullate Ballet, then returned to Charlotte.  She has danced leading roles in nearly all of the Balanchine repertory in Charlotte, including Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, Agon, Apollo, and Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker.  She has appeared as well in leading roles in Twyla Tharp's Nine Sinatra Songs, Mark Godden's Dracula, and Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux's The Little Mermaid.

JOSH HALL attended the North Carolina School of the Arts, where he studied with Warren Conover and Ethan Stiefel, and participated in summer intensives on full scholarship at Miami City Ballet, Charlotte Ballet, and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.  He is now in his fourth year with Charlotte Ballet, where his repertory includes leading roles in The Nutcracker (Snow King and Cavalier) and Swan Lake (Prince Siegfried) and in several works by Balanchine, including Four Temperaments and Western Symphony, as well as in works by Sasha James and Dwight Rhoden.

The George Balanchine Foundation (www.balanchine.org) is a not for profit corporation established in 1983. Its mission is to create programs that educate the public and further Balanchine's work and aesthetic, with the goal of advancing high standards of excellence in dance and its allied arts. Among the Foundation's major initiatives are the Video Archives (http://www.balanchine.org/balanchine/03/gbfvideoarchives.html), in which dancers who worked closely with Balanchine teach and coach their roles to the dancers of today (Interpreters Archive) or recreate Balanchine ballets that are rarely performed and in danger of disappearing (Archive of Lost Choreography). Legendary dancers who have taken part in this project include Alicia Markova, Maria Tallchief, Frederic Franklin, Alicia Alonso, Melissa Hayden, Allegra Kent, Todd Bolender, Merrill Ashley, Suzanne Farrell, Rosella Hightower, Marie-Jeanne, Violette Verdy, Edward Villella, Patricia Wilde, Yvonne Mounsey, and Helgi Tomasson, working with leading dancers from such companies as New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, and The Suzanne Farrell Ballet, among others.

In 2007 the Foundation announced the completion of another major initiative, the online publication of the Balanchine Catalogue, a fully searchable database giving first-performance details of all known dances created by Balanchine, supplemented by lists of companies staging the ballets, a bibliography, a videography, reference resources, a database of roles Balanchine performed, and additional related materials (http://www.balanchine.org/balanchine/03/balanchinecataloguenew.html). The project was made possible by a leadership grant from The Jerome Robbins Foundation.


 

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