Contact: Mel Schierman
PATRICIA WILDE AND ROBERT BARNETT TO TAPE VIDEO SERIES FOR
THE GEORGE BALANCHINE FOUNDATION VIDEO ARCHIVES
Wilde, New York City Ballet principal dancer (1950-1965) and
Barnett, NYCB soloist (1949-1958) will coach principal roles in
Western Symphony and Bourrée Fantasque.
New York City — Wilde and Barnett will work with NYCB dancers Indiana Woodward and Roman Mejia and Miami City Ballet’s Jordan-Elizabeth Long and Shimon Ito in coaching sessions for the cameras of The George Balanchine Foundation’s Video Archives on Western Symphony’s third- movement scherzo, originally choreographed on Wilde, and Bourrée Fantasque’s spirited first- movement. The recording will take place on Monday, May 7th, 2018, at the New York City Ballet studios in the Rose Building, Lincoln Center, New York. Nancy McDill, solo pianist of the New York City Ballet Orchestra, will accompany the coaching session. At its conclusion Holly Brubach, international journalist and author, will interview Wilde and Barnett. The filming will be supervised by Paul Boos, Video Archives Project Associate, aided by the Video Archives founder Nancy Reynolds, former film professor Virginia Brooks, and filmmaker Gus Reed.
The resulting video will become part of the GBF Video Archives, now numbering over 50 programs. The aim of this series is to document insights of the originators or important later interpreters of key roles in the Balanchine repertory and to preserve and pass this knowledge on, particularly including references to Balanchine’s ideas at the time of creation, to the dancers, scholars, and audiences of today. The GBF Video Archives are available world-wide through public and university libraries. In addition, the interview components are available on the Balanchine Foundation’s YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/blnchn).
Walter Terry wrote in the New York Herald Tribune of the 1949 Bourrée Fantasque “Sheer delight … The fun is spontaneous and not at all contrived … yet its vocabulary, both balletic and gestural, is primarily academic and its choreographic form is as flawless as that to be found in any one of Balanchine’s pure-dance masterpieces.” Shortly after joining NYCB, Barnett was cast opposite Tanaquil Le Clercq, who with Jerome Robbins originated the opening section; he would later dance the same comic movement with Wilde, who gave a decidedly contrasting interpretation to the lithe Le Clercq.
1954 was a prolific year for Balanchine. He choreographed his blockbuster George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®, two provocative ballets to Schoenberg and Ives, Opus 34 and Ivesiana, as well as numbers for the musical The House of Flowers. He also composed the four-movement Western Symphony to popular plainsman folk tunes orchestrated by Hershey Kay. The third movement Scherzo with its nonstop jumping and batterie was custom made for Wilde’s technical virtuosity. Originally she was partnered by premier danseur André Eglevsky in the role subsequently taken over by Barnett.
ROBERT BARNETT, born in 1925 and a former NYCB soloist began studying ballet seriously with Bronislava Nijinska in 1946 in Los Angeles after he was released from the Navy, having served in the South Pacific and Japan. Subsequently he joined the Original Ballet Russe and in 1949, after studying in Paris with Lubov Egorova and Olga Preobrajenska he returned to the US, dancing on Broadway and TV. He was hired for the NYCB corps de ballet that December. Barnett’s first Balanchine principal role was in Bourrée Fantasque, opposite Tanaquil Le Clercq. In 1950 Frederick Ashton created the ‘Dandy’ in Illuminations for Barnett and, in 1952, the role of Merlin in Picnic at Tintagel. He married NYCB company member Virginia Rich in 1955, and they moved to Atlanta GA where he worked with The Atlanta Civic Ballet as a principal dancer and Associate Director. He was named Director in 1961 and remained until 1994, taking the company to full professional status. For the Video Archives Barnett has coached roles choreographed on him by Balanchine in Stars and Stripes and George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®.
PATRICIA WILDE’s sweeping career in dance encompassed seasons with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, which she joined as a teenager in 1945, and continued when she became a long-standing NYCB principal dancer who inspired Balanchine throughout the 50’s and much of the 60’s. He created several ballets to showcase her forceful allegro dancing, and she has coached her principal roles in Square Dance, Raymonda Variations, Caracole, Divertimento No. 15, and soloist roles in La Valse, Scotch Symphony and Swan Lake for the Video Archives. Among other choreography he created on her are principal roles in Pas de Trois (Glinka), Waltz-Scherzo, and Native Dancers. Wilde retired from the stage in 1966. In the 70’s she became a committed dance advocate and educator, and from 1982 to 1997 was Artistic Director of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.
SHIMON ITO, born in New York, NY began his training at The School of American Ballet and went on to train at The National Ballet of Canada for five years before completing his training at The San Francisco Ballet School. Ito joined Miami City Ballet in 2011. In 2016 he was promoted to soloist and he danced Bourrée Fantasque at Lincoln Center.
JORDAN-ELIZABETH LONG, a soloist with Miami City Ballet, was born in Blacksburg, Virginia. She trained in Virginia and Florida, and danced with the Dutch National Ballet and the Royal Swedish Ballet before joining MCB. It is with MCB, in 2016 that Long performed Bourrée Fantasque at Lincoln Center.
ROMAN MEJIA, New York City Ballet corps de ballet member as of 2017, was coached in Tarantella for the Video Archives by Patricia McBride. He trained with his parents, Maria Terezia Balogh and Paul Mejia, in Arlington, Texas, before entering SAB full-time in 2015.
INDIANA WOODWARD, New York City Ballet soloist, was born in Paris, France, began her dance training in Venice, California and continued her studies at the School of American Ballet. In August 2012 she joined NYCB and was promoted to soloist in February 2017. Woodward can be seen in the Video Archives coached by Wilde in Marzipan from George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®, Caracole and Swan Lake pas de trois.
HOLLY BRUBACH has written extensively on fashion and dance for Vogue, The Atlantic, The New Yorker and The New York Times among other publications. Brubach has also written for television and film, including numerous programs for the PBS Dance in America series, most notably the 2-hour documentary “Balanchine”. She’s collaborated on Choura: The Memoirs of Alexandra Danilova and is currently working on a biography of Tanaquil Le Clercq.
NANCY REYNOLDS, a former dancer with New York City Ballet, has been the Director of Research for The George Balanchine Foundation since 1994. She conceived and continues to direct the Video Archives program. Also an author, in 2013, she received a “Bessie” award for “outstanding service to the field of dance.”
PAUL BOOS, since 2015 the Video Archive Project Associate, is a former dancer with NYCB and répétiteur for the George Balanchine Trust. He teaches abroad and locally.
VIRGINIA BROOKS, Professor Emerita of Film at Brooklyn College/CUNY and director of several dance documentaries, has been an editor of the Balanchine Foundation's Video Archives since its inception in 1994.
GUS REED, a New York City-based filmmaker, specializes in creating video for and with dance. He has served as an editor of the Balanchine Foundation's Video Archives since the fall of 2014.
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.