VIOLETTE VERDY TO TAPE VIDEO SERIES FOR THE GEORGE BALANCHINE FOUNDATION CONRAD LUDLOW TO CONTRIBUTE TO TAPING SESSIONS
NEW YORK CITY - Violette Verdy will teach and coach on camera George Balanchine's Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux and female solo and pas de deux from Balanchine's Emeralds, roles choreographed by Balanchine for her. Conrad Ludlow, her original partner in both works, will assist Ms. Verdy with the coaching. The tapings will take place on Sunday and Monday, October 26 & 27, 2003, at Lincoln Center's Rose Building, 70 Lincoln Center Plaza, 8th Floor, New York City.
Ms. Verdy and Mr. Ludlow will work with NYCB principal dancers Jennie Somogyi and Peter Boal on Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux. For Emeralds, they will work with NYCB dancer Carla Körbes on the solo. NYCB principal dancer James Fayette will join Ms. Körbes for the pas de deux. Ms. Verdy and Mr. Ludlow will then be interviewed about the ballets and their creation by The New York Times writer and critic Jennifer Dunning. Nancy Reynolds, Balanchine scholar and The Foundation's director of research, who initiated the video series in 1994, will oversee the project.
Emeralds, choreographed in 1967 to music by Gabriel Fauré and part of Balanchine's full-evening ballet Jewels, is described in the Complete Stories of the Great Ballets as "…cool, reserved and elegant. Like actual Emeralds, the cold social restraint hides inner fire. The entire ballet is beautiful in a dreamlike way, the green setting a kind of underwater quality, like Monet's paintings of water lilies." Emeralds, as described in Atlantic Unbound (Atlantic Monthly's online journal), "…has the reputation of being difficult and remote, yet in actuality it shows in very clear terms that love is now and time is fleeting….Any number of other truths are apparent in a revelation of what reverence — and, when called for, a lack of it — can do." In I Remember Balanchine, Ms. Verdy comments, "…in works like Emeralds, Balanchine gave the French ballet its true identity…He showed us the different, several, serious aspects of being French…Emeralds is a very dignified and slightly nostalgic and certainly resigned type of noble French behavior."
Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, a display piece for two leading dancers, was choreographed by Balanchine in 1960 to lost music intended for the third act of Swan Lake, which was rediscovered in 1953 in the Bolshoi archives. In I Remember Balanchine, Ms. Verdy recalls Balanchine choreographing the pas de deux on her: "Balanchine may have wanted to work with me because of a certain clarity in the articulation of the feet and legs. Some sort of eloquence, a pronunciation of the dancing. Something to be joyous about. It's there in the solo of Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux."
In working with Balanchine, Ms. Verdy recalls "I discovered things about myself I didn't know but he knew…he surprised me by asking me to dare to do certain things with speed. I was surprised at what I was able to deliver…I would gain a lot of confidence from Balanchine, partly because I would have to agree with what he had done. It would be so much the best solution…I was carried. He carried you" (I Remember Balanchine).
The tape of Ms. Verdy and Mr. Ludlow coaching will become part of The George Balanchine Foundation Video Archives, housed at the Jerome Robbins Dance Division of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, New York City. Copies are made available for on-site viewing to research libraries and accredited repositories worldwide.
VIOLETTE VERDY began ballet training in her native France. After dancing with Roland Petit's Ballets des Champs-Elysées, London Festival Ballet, and American Ballet Theatre, Ms. Verdy joined the New York City Ballet in 1958. While there she danced more than 25 principal roles in a performance career than extended through 1976. In addition to Emeralds and Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, Balanchine created roles for her in such works as Liebeslieder Walzer, Episodes, Sonatine, La Source, and the second act pas de deux in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Jerome Robbins created roles for her in his Dances at a Gathering, In the Night, and Beethoven Pas de Deux. Ms. Verdy also made guest appearances with a number of the major ballet companies in America and Europe. After her retirement from performing, she became the first woman to be artistic director of the Paris Opera Ballet and was later artistic director of the Boston Ballet. Ms. Verdy has been a guest teacher throughout the world and has been awarded many honors. Since 1996, she has been a full-time professor of ballet at the School of Music at Indiana University, Bloomington.
CONRAD LUDLOW had an illustrious twenty-year career as a principal dancer with both San Francisco Ballet and New York City Ballet, where he was especially known for his skill in partnering. He established exciting partnerships with such well-known ballerinas as Violette Verdy, Melissa Hayden, Maria Tallchief, Allegra Kent, Suzanne Farrell, and Patricia McBride. During his years with New York City Ballet he created 18 roles in works in the repertory and performed leading roles in 46 ballets. In addition to Emeralds and Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, other signature roles that Balanchine created on Mr. Ludlow include Liebeslieder Walzer, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet.
Now a professor, Mr.Ludlow joined the University of Utah Ballet Department (Salt Lake City) in 1985 as resident choreographer, after founding and directing Ballet Oklahoma.. He frequently acts as artistic director for Utah Ballet and Ballet Ensemble productions.
PETER BOAL began studying dance at the School of American Ballet at the age of nine. Two years later he danced the role of the 'Nutcracker Prince' in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker® . He became a member of New York City Ballet's corps de ballet in 1983, a soloist in 1987, and in 1989 he was promoted to the rank of principal dancer.
Mr. Boal has danced principal roles in almost the entire Balanchine repertory, including those in Agon, Apollo, Ballo Della Regina, Coppélia, Divertimento from 'Le Baiser de la Fée, 'Donizetti Variations, The Four Temperaments, Rubies, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Prodigal Son,, Robert Schumann's Davidsbündlertänze, 'La Sonnambula, Square Dance, Symphony In Three Movements, Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, and Vienna Waltzes. He has also been featured in Jerome Robbins' Andantino, Dances At A Gathering, The Four Seasons, The Goldberg Variations, In The Night, Opus 19/The Dreamer, Piano Pieces, and Suite of Dances, and Peter Martins' The Sleeping Beauty, and Swan Lake. Mr. Boal originated roles in Mr. Martins' Black And White, Burleske, Eight Miniatures, and Eight More, among others, as well as roles in works by other New York City Ballet choreographers, including John Alleyne, Christopher D'Amboise ,Ulysses Dove, Twyla Tharp, and Christopher Wheeldon. On television, he has been featured in "Dance in America" specials, including the 1993 "Balanchine Celebration," as well as in Live From Lincoln Center broadcasts on PBS, including Peter Martins' Swan Lake in 1999, and "New York City Ballet's Diamond Project: Ten Years of New Choreography" in 2002. Mr. Boal recently formed his own troupe, Peter Boal and Company.
JAMES FAYETTE began his ballet training at age five. He became an apprentice with New York City Ballet in the fall of 1990 and was invited to join the Company as a member of the corps de ballet in the spring of 1991. Mr. Fayette was promoted to the rank of soloist in spring 1997, and to principal dancer in spring 2002. Since joining the Company, Mr. Fayette has danced featured roles in Balanchine's Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet, Firebird, The Four Temperaments, Kammermusik No. 2, A Midsummer Night's Dream, La Sonnambula, Vienna Waltzes, and Western Symphony; Peter Martins' Fearful Symmetries, Morgen, A Schubertiad, The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Them Twos, and The Waltz Project; Jerome Robbins' Dances At A Gathering, Glass Pieces, Interplay, In The Night, Ives, Songs, and Moves, and many Diamond Project ballets. He also appeared in the Live from Lincoln Center broadcast "New York Ciyt Ballet's Diamond Project: Ten Years of New Choreography." For the past four years, Mr. Fayette has taken a group of dancers to Vermont for benefit performances and led a performing tour of Northern Italy.
JENNIE SOMOGYI began her ballet training at the age of seven and was later cast as Marie in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker®. In the spring of 1993, Ms. Somogyi was made an apprentice with New York City Ballet, and in the fall of 1994 joined the corps de ballet. She was promoted to soloist in 1998 and became a principal dancer in December 2000.
Ms. Somogyi has danced featured roles in Balanchine's Agon, Allegro Brillante, Apollo, Ballo Della Regina, Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet, Concerto Barocco, Divertimento No. 15, Episodes, George Balanchine's The Nutcracker®, Emeralds, Liebeslieder Walzer, Raymonda Variations, La Source, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Symphony In C, Symphony In Three Movements, Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2, and Who Cares?; August Bournonville's Bournonville Divertissements; Christopher Wheeldon's Polyphonia, and works by Jerome Robbins, Peter Martins, and other New York City Ballet choreographers.
Ms. Somogyi appeared in Live From Lincoln Center's broadcast of "New York City Ballet's Diamond Project: Ten Years of New Choreography."
CARLA KÖRBES was born in Porto Alegre, Brazil. She became an apprentice with New York City Ballet in October 1999 and joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet in June 2000.
Ms. Körbes has danced featured roles in Balanchine's Divertimento No. 15, Episodes, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Tschaikovsky Suite No. 3; Peter Martins' Sinfonia and The Sleeping Beauty; Jerome Robbins' Antique Epigraphs, Fanfare, and INTERPLAY; Miriam Mahdaviani's Appalachia Waltz, Angelin Preljocaj's La Stravaganza; Richard Tanner's Ancient Airs And Dances, and Christopher Wheeldon's Polyphonia. She originated featured roles in Albert Evans' 2002 Diamond Project ballet Haiku and Mr. Tanner's Soirée.
Ms. Körbes is a 1999 recipient of the Mae L. Wien Award and is the Janice Levin Dance Honoree for 2001-2002.
JENNIFER DUNNING is a staff writer on dance at The New York Times and is the author of books on the School of American Ballet and Alvin Ailey.
NANCY REYNOLDS, director of research for The George Balanchine Foundation, danced with the New York City Ballet and currently directs the George Balanchine Foundation Video Archives. Her most recent book, co-authored with Malcolm McCormick, is No Fixed Points: Dance in the Twentieth Century, published by Yale University Press in 2003.