ADAM LÜDERS COACHES ROBERT SCHUMANN’S DAVIDSBÜNDLERTÄNZE FOR THE GEORGE BALANCHINE FOUNDATION VIDEO ARCHIVES
New York City: On December 20, 2021, in the New York City Ballet studios, former principal dancer Adam Lüders was recorded coaching Ashley Laracey, soloist, and Russell Janzen, principal, both of NYCB, in selections from Robert Schumann’s Davidsbündlertänze.
Adam Lüders, principal dancer with the NYCB from 1975 until his retirement in 1994, taught and coached the role he originated in 1980 alongside Karin von Aroldingen to Russell Janzen and Ashley Laracey. Paul Boos, Director of the Video Archives, oversaw the filming, and recently retired NYCB solo pianist Cameron Grant, accompanied the session. The filming ended with Lüders being interviewed by Janzen. Adam Lüders, principal dancer with the NYCB from 1975 until his retirement in 1994, taught and coached the role he originated in 1980 alongside Karin von Aroldingen to Russell Janzen and Ashley Laracey. Paul Boos, Director of the Video Archives, oversaw the filming, and recently retired NYCB solo pianist Cameron Grant, accompanied the session. The filming ended with Lüders being interviewed by Janzen.
Washington Post critic Alan M. Kriegsman wrote shortly after the ballet’s premiere, “Davidsbündlertänze, which means Dances of the League of David … was an imaginary literary creation of Schumann … his fancied coterie of “good guys,” the defenders of high principle and progressive esthetics who warred unceasingly against “the Philistines,” the benighted, reactionary enemies of true art. Lüders has a solo that appears to depict beyond question the mental derangement which Schumann suffered, and his final shadowed exit inevitably suggest the composer’s suicide attempt and asylum death.”
Lüders, speaking to Jennifer Dunning in the New York Times about his pathos-filled variation, ''It's very close to me. Mr. B. observed something in me that I didn't know. Maybe he saw that my wild eyes could be of use.'' Nancy Reynolds further noted the ballet’s prescient nature, “Whether one sees this ballet as a visual embodiment of Schumann’s emotion-drenched music, as a ravishing suite of dances, or even, as some have suggested, as a premonition of Balanchine’s own artistic leave-taking, it is clearly an extremely personal work.”
The GBF Video Archives document the insights of dancers, often principals from original casts or those who worked closely with Balanchine. The Archives mission is to preserve this knowledge and pass it on to today's dancers, scholars, and audiences. The Archives are available world-wide through public and university libraries. In addition, the interview components can be accessed on the Balanchine Foundation's You Tube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/blnchn).
ADAM LÜDERS first studied dance at the Royal Danish Ballet School and graduated to become a member of the Royal Danish Ballet in 1968. He was principal dancer with London Festival Ballet (1973–5) and New York City Ballet (1975–94) creating roles in Balanchine's Davidsbündertänze, Kammermusik No. 2, and Walpurgisnacht, as well as Robbins's In Memory of… among others. Since retiring he has taught widely, including at the School of American Ballet, and staged Balanchine repertory for the George Balanchine Trust. Trained in the Bournonville tradition, Lüders was the classic ‘danseur noble’. He is part of the last generation of dancers who worked closely with Balanchine at the New York City Ballet and has danced most of the Balanchine and Robbins repertoire. Adam Lüders is famous for his skill in pas de deux, and he has partnered most of Balanchine’s ballerinas as well other international stars.
ASHLEY LARACEY became an apprentice with the New York City Ballet in 2001, joining the company as a full member in 2003. She was promoted to soloist in 2013. Laracey has danced featured roles in Balanchine's Agon, Ballo della Regina, The Four Temperaments, George Balanchine's The Nutcracker® (Sugar Plum Fairy, Dewdrop, Marzipan, Coffee), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Hermia), Raymonda Variations, and Robert Schumann's 'Davidsbündlertänze', among others, and in works by Jerome Robbins. She has been filmed for the Video Archives being coached by Violette Verdy and Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux in Sonatine, and also by Patricia McBride in Midsummer Night’s Dream Hermia solo.
RUSSELL JANZEN is a dance writer and a member of NYCB since 2007. He was promoted to principal dancer in 2017 and has danced virtually all of NYCB’s current Balanchine repertory. He has originated featured roles in ballets by Justin Peck, Pontus Lidberg, Edwaard Liang, and others. The New York Times recently published an essay of Mr. Janzen’s on Covid’s effects on the performing arts and on the dance community in particular. The Video Archives filmed Janzen and Emilie Gerrity being coached by Kyra Nichols and Adam Lüders in the Allegro section of Brahms/Schoenberg Quartet.
NANCY REYNOLDS, a former dancer with New York City Ballet, has been Director of Research for The George Balanchine Foundation since 1994, when she conceived the Video Archives program. Among her books are Repertory in Review: Forty Years of the New York City Ballet; 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, Director of the Video Archives since 2021, 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 Maryinsky, Bolshoi, Paris Opera, La Scala, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Boston Ballet. He also guest teaches abroad and locally.
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 initiatives are the Video Archives (https://balanchine.org/03/gbfvideoarchives.html), in which dancers who worked closely with Balanchine teach and coach their roles with dancers of today (Interpreters Archive) or recreate excerpts of 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 Alonso, Jacques d’Amboise, Suzanne Farrell, Frederic Franklin, Melissa Hayden, Allegra Kent, Alicia Markova, Peter Martins, Patricia McBride, Maria Tallchief, Edward Villella, and Patricia Wilde, working with leading dancers from such companies as New York City Ballet, American Ballet theatre, San Francisco Ballet, Pacific Northwest 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 a major initiative, the online publication of the Balanchine Catalogue, a fully searchable databased giving first-performance details of all known dances created by Balanchine, supplemented by lists of companies staging the ballets, a database of roles Balanchine performed, and additional related materials (https://balanchine.org/03/balanchinecatalogue.html). The project was made possible by a leadership grant from The Jerome Robbins Foundation.