KAY MAZZO AND BART COOK COACH PAS DE DEUX IN SESSION FOR THE GEORGE BALANCHINE FOUNDATION VIDEO ARCHIVES
New York City: October 4, 2021 - At the New York City Ballet studios, Lincoln Center, today Kay Mazzo and Bart Cook coached NYCB dancers Miriam Miller and Preston Chamblee in the "Titania and Bottom" pas de deux from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Nancy McDill, solo pianist with New York City Ballet, accompanied the coaching session, after which Elizabeth Kendall interviewed Mazzo and Cook.
Balanchine delighted in choregraphing this enchanting pas de deux, portraying both characters with true emotion and absolute sincerity. Anna Kisselgoff, writing in the New York Times, said, "Kay Mazzo's authoritative, moving portrayal as Titania cannot be praised enough as an example of artistic growth. It is a fully developed interpretation now: nuanced in emotion, regal in manner and technically so secure on the dancing side that it can permit a new and delightful fling of abandonment."
Kisselgoff also wrote of Cook that, "a significant debut came In Bart Cook's first appearance as Bottom. His facial expressions - before and after he wears the donkey's head - were masterpieces of comic characterization."
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 YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/blnchn).
KAY MAZZO, School of American Ballet's Chairman of Faculty. Mazzo became a member of the New York City Ballet in 1961 and was promoted to soloist in 1965 and principal dancer in 1968. George Balanchine created principal roles for her in Tschaikovsky Suite No. 3, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Duo Concertant, Scherzo à la Russe, Union Jack, Vienna Waltzes, and Robert Schumann's "Davidsbündlertänze", among others. She originated principal roles in the Jerome Robbins masterworks Dances at a Gathering and In the Night. She and Peter Martins have coached their roles in both Stravinsky Violin Concerto and Duo Concertant for the Interpreters Archives.
BART COOK, NYCB principal dancer, choreographer and ballet master, joined NYCB in 1971 and in 1979 was promoted to principal dancer. Shortly thereafter NYCB appointed Cook Assistant Ballet Master to Jerome Robbins. Cook excelled in Balanchine's "black and white" leotard ballets. In addition, his interpretations of Balanchine's romantic protagonists were as natural a fit as were those of his character and demi-character roles. In 1993 Cook retired from dancing. He has staged Balanchine and Robbins ballets for over thirty years for a wide range of companies including The Royal Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, La Scala Opera, and San Francisco Ballet. Cook has recently been recorded coaching "Melancholic" from Four Temperaments, the "Sarabanda" from Square Dance and the "Concerto" section of Episodes with Allegra Kent for the Interpreters Archives.
MIRIAM MILLER, a member of New York City Ballet's corps de ballet. While still an apprentice with NYCB, Miller performed the role of Titania in George Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream, as well as featured roles in Balanchine's Harlequinade (La Bonne Fée) and Peter Martins' Swan Lake (Princess). Ms. Miller is a recipient of a 2017 Princess Grace Award.
PRESTON CHAMBLEE, since 2015, a member of New York City Ballet's corps de ballet. Chamblee has been featured in several Balanchine ballets, notably Episodes, Serenade, Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, and George Balanchine's The Nutcracker®.
ELIZABETH KENDALL is a dance and culture critic and an associate professor of Writing/Literary Studies at New York's New School (Eugene Lang College and Liberal Studies graduate faculties). Her book Balanchine and the Lost Muse: Revolution and the Making of a Choreographer was published in July, 2013, by Oxford U. Press (paperback summer 2015). She has also written Where She Danced, (Knopf & U. of California Press); The Runaway Bride: Hollywood Romantic Comedy of the l930's (Knopf & Cooper Square Press), two memoirs, American Daughter (Random House, 2000) and Autobiography of a Wardrobe (Pantheon and Anchor/Doubleday, 2006), and magazine, newspaper and journal articles. She has received fellowships from the Rockefeller, Guggenheim, and Fulbright Foundations, NYPL's Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, the Likhachev Foundation of Russia, and the Leon Levy Center for Biography. She is at work on an experimental biography of Balanchine.
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. 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 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.
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.