PATRICIA WILDE TAPES VIDEO SERIES FOR THE GEORGE BALANCHINE FOUNDATION
New York City — Patricia Wilde, a celebrated principal dancer with New York City Ballet, will coach her roles in Divertimento No. 15, La Valse, and Balanchine’s beloved ballet, Serenade, for cameras of The George Balanchine Foundation’s Interpreters Archive. The filming will take place on Monday, September 19, 2016, at the New York City Ballet studios in the Rose Building, Lincoln Center, New York.
NYCB principal dancers Megan Fairchild, Sterling Hyltin, Rebecca Krohn, and Ask la Cour will be coached in Serenade; Sterling Hyltin and Chase Finlay in La Valse; and Megan Fairchild and Chase Finlay in Divertimento No. 15. All of the dancers have participated in previous Interpreters Archive videos.
The aim of this series is to document the insights of dancers, often principals from the original casts, who worked closely in the studio with Balanchine on some of his greatest ballets. The Archive’s mission is to preserve their knowledge and pass it on to dancers, scholars and audiences of today. The George Balanchine Foundation Video Archives are available through many public and university libraries throughout the world. In addition, the interview components of the series are publicly available on the Balanchine Foundation’s YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/blnchn
Nancy McDill, solo pianist of the New York City Ballet Orchestra, will accompany the coaching session, and Nancy Reynolds, founder of the Interpreters Archive, dance historian and scholar, will interview Wilde at its conclusion. The taping will be supervised by Paul Boos, former NYCB dancer and Balanchine Trust répétiteur, assisted by former film professor Virginia Brooks and filmmaker Gus Reed.
Patricia Wilde is remembered for her technical virtuosity and particularly for her split-second brilliance in jumps, beats, and turns. In response to Divertimento No. 15's 1956 New York premiere, Walter Terry of the New York Herald Tribune wrote of her performance, “The most exhilarating solo is that given to Wilde, who performs her fleet and complex patterns with a marvelous brio and a beautiful musical sense.” Mozart’s luminous score was considered his finest composition by Balanchine, who in turn assembled NYCB’s most accomplished dancers, including five ballerinas, to embody the work.
Describing the pas de deux Balanchine created for Wilde and her partner, Frank Hobi, in La Valse, Terry wrote, “[Their] waltz is buoyant, swift, and aerial in nature.” The ballet, choreographed in 1951, opens with Maurice Ravel’s Valses Nobles et Sentimentales and closes with the title score, which was originally commissioned by Diaghilev for his Ballets Russes (although never choreographed for his company).
Serenade is arguably Balanchine’s most treasured work; it is a vital staple of all classical ballet companies. Serenade is the first ballet Balanchine choreographed in America, performed by students of the School of American Ballet as an exercise in choreography. Serenade’s mysterious romantic subtext continues to inspire interpretation and heated discussion from all who cherish this masterpiece. Balanchine expressed his ardent esteem for its composer, “In everything that I did to Tschaikovsky’s music,” he told an interviewer, “I sensed his help. It wasn’t real conversation. But when I was working and saw that something was coming of it, I felt that it was Tschaikovsky who had helped me.” Early in her career, while she was a corps de ballet member of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, Balanchine cast Wilde in two of Serenade’s astonishing leaps into a partner’s arms while twisting in the air. Of this, Wilde observed in her recently published biography, “As much as the actual jumping was the daring: that was the spirit that Mr. B. really loved.”
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 60’s. He created several ballets to showcase her forceful allegro dancing, for two of which, Square Dance and Raymonda Variations, she has coached principal roles for the cameras of the Balanchine Foundation Interpreters Archive. Among other choreography he created on her are solos in Scotch Symphony and The Nutcracker (Marzipan), a pas de trois in Swan Lake, and principal roles in Western Symphony, 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. Her biography, Wilde Times: Patricia Wilde, George Balanchine and the Rise of New York City Ballet, written by Joel Lobenthal, has just been released.
MEGAN FAIRCHILD was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, and began her dance training at the age of four, studying with Judy Levitre and Kaelynne Oliphant at Dance Concepts in Sandy, Utah, and at the Ballet West Conservatory in Salt Lake City, where her teachers were Sharee Lane, Deborah Dobson, and Maureen Laird. She became a student at the School of American Ballet (SAB), the official school of NYCB, in the fall of 2000. In November 2001, she became an apprentice with the Company and in October 2002 a member of the corps de ballet. Fairchild was promoted to the rank of soloist in February 2004 and to principal dancer in January 2005. She was coached by Mimi Paul and John Clifford for the Interpreters Archive in Valse-Fantaisie.
CHASE FINLAY was born in Fairfield, Connecticut, and began his dance training at the age of eight at Ballet Academy East in New York City. He studied at SAB during the summer of 2007 and later enrolled as a full-time student. Finlay became an apprentice with NYCB in September 2008 and a member of the corps de ballet in September 2009. He was promoted to soloist in July 2011 and became a principal in February 2013. Recently Finlay was coached by Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux for the Interpreters Archive in Sonatine
STERLING HYLTIN was born in Amarillo, Texas. She began her dance training at the age of six at the Dallas Metropolitan Ballet, where she studied with Ann Etgen and Bill Atkinson. Hyltin enrolled as a full-time student at SAB in the fall of 2000. In October 2002 she became an apprentice with NYCB, joining the corps de ballet in June 2003. In March 2006 she was promoted to soloist and in May 2007 to principal dancer. Hyltin has contributed to the Interpreters Archives in multiple roles including La Source, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Duo Concertant, and Apollo.
REBECCA KROHN was born in Vestal, New York. In 1995, she entered SAB as a scholarship student. Krohn became an apprentice with NYCB in the fall of 1998 and joined the corps de ballet in spring 1999. She was promoted in March 2006 to soloist and to principal in May 2012. Krohn was included in the Interpreters Archive’s principal cast of Stravinsky Violin Concerto.
ASK LA COUR was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, and began his dance training at the age of nine at the Royal Danish Ballet School, where he studied with Niels Balle, Adam Lüders, and Colleen Neary. He joined the corps de ballet of the Royal Danish Ballet in 2000. La Cour was accepted as a member of the NYCB corps de ballet in the fall of 2002, was promoted to soloist in May 2005, and became a principal in February 2013. While at the Royal Danish Ballet, he performed featured roles in August Bournonville's Napoli (Pas de Six), John Cranko's Onegin (Lensky), and Peter Martins's Hallelujah Junction. La Cour portrayed the role of “The Father” in the Interpreters Archive’s Prodigal Son.
NANCY REYNOLDS, a former dancer with New York City Ballet, has been director of research for The George Balanchine Foundation since 1994. She conceived and continues to direct the Video Archives program. Her most recent books are No Fixed Points: Dance in the Twentieth Century (co-authored with Malcolm McCormick) and Remembering Lincoln. In 2013 she received a “Bessie” award for “outstanding service to the field of dance.”
PAUL BOOS is a former dancer with NYCB and répétiteur for the George Balanchine Trust. His work for the Trust has been presented at several theaters, including the Mariinsky, Bolshoi, Paris Opera, La Scala, Pacific Northwest Ballet and Boston Ballet. He also guest teaches abroad and locally.
VIRGINIA BROOKS, Professor Emerita of Film at Brooklyn College/CUNY and director of several dance documentaries, has been editor of the Balanchine Foundation's Video Archives since its inception in 1994.
GUS REED, a New York City-based filmmaker, specializes in capturing and editing dance. His recent projects include videos for NYCB's "Project Ballet" initiative, the Jerome Robbins Foundation, Emery LeCrone Dance and the Liz Gerring Dance Company. He has served as associate 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. Among the Foundation's major initiatives are the Video Archives (https://balanchine.org/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 (https://balanchine.org/03/balanchinecataloguenew.html). The project was made possible by a leadership grant from The Jerome Robbins Foundation.