PATRICIA McBRIDE COACHES THREE BALANCHINE VARIATIONS FOR THE GEORGE BALANCHINE FOUNDATION VIDEO ARCHIVES
New York City: On October 11, 2021, in the New York City Ballet studios, acclaimed former principal dancer Patricia McBride coached Ashley Bouder, principal dancer, and Ashley Laracey, soloist, both of NYCB, in three solos created on her by Balanchine. These included Hermia’s "lost" solo from A Midsummer Night's Dream (in which McBride coached Laracey), and two variations for Columbine, the heroine of Harlequinade (in which she coached Bouder). Of Hermia's touching solo, P.W. Manchester of Dance News wrote, "As she drifts distractedly about the stage, blown by her love and fears, McBride makes this one of the high points of the evening." She was just 19 when she premiered this role. Of the Harlequinade Act II solo Arlene Croce of the New Yorker wrote that it provided "one of McBride’s finest moments . . . with its long, long and slow déboulés on point, ending in a curtsy and three blown kisses," calling it "a marvelously gentle dance to lullaby music." McBride chose this dance for her Farewell performance.
The video recording, supervised by Nancy Reynolds, the Archives Founding Director, was accompanied by Nancy McDill, solo pianist with NYCB, and was followed by an interview with McBride by critic and author Marina Harss.
The GBF Video Archives document the insights of dancers, often principals from original casts (as in this case) 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).
PATRICIA McBRIDE, in a long and illustrious career with NYCB, had an extraordinarily large number of major works created on her by George Balanchine, including "Rubies" (Jewels), Tarantella, Who Cares?, A Midsummer Night's Dream (Hermia), Harlequinade (Columbine), Brahms-Schoenberg-Quartet (Intermezzo), Union Jack, Coppélia (Swanhilda), and Divertimento from 'Le Baiser de la Fée,' among several others. McBride was also favored by Jerome Robbins, who created principal roles for her in Dances at a Gathering, The Goldberg Variations, In the Night, The Four Seasons, and Opus 19/The Dreamer, among others. With her frequent partner Edward Villella she performed on concert stages around the world. Among her other partners were some of the most noted male dancers of her generation, including Mikhail Baryshnikov, Helgi Tomasson, and Peter Martins. McBride danced for five presidents. She is the recipient of a Dance Magazine award and the Kennedy Center Honors. After her retirement from performing in 1989, McBride joined the faculties of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and the Chautauqua Institute before taking up a senior position at Charlotte Ballet (formerly North Carolina School of Ballet) in 1996. For the GBF Video Archives she has been recorded coaching her created roles in "Rubies" (Jewels), Tarantella, Who Cares?, and Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet.
ASHLEY BOUDER, principal dancer, began her ballet training at six at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet with Marcia Dale Weary. She joined NYCB in 2000, became a soloist in 2004, and was promoted to principal in 2005. Her large repertory includes such Balanchine works as Apollo (Polyhymnia), Jewels (Rubies, Emeralds), Harlequinade (Columbine), Liebeslieder Walzer, Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2, and Western Symphony (Rondo), among many others, as well as leading roles in works by Jerome Robbins, Peter Martins, and Alexei Ratmansky. In the film of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker® she danced the prized role of the Dewdrop. For the GBF Video Archives she was coached by Nancy Mann in an excerpt from an early Balanchine work, Reminiscence (1935).
ASHLEY LARACEY, soloist, began dance training at 5 in her native Florida (Sarasota Ballet School and Harid Conservatory). She joined NYCB in 2003 and was promoted to soloist in 2013. She has danced featured roles in Balanchine’s Agon, The Nutcracker® (including Sugar Plum Fairy and Dewdrop), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Hermia), and Robert Schumann's 'Davidsbündlertäntze', among others, and in works by Jerome Robbins and Peter Martins. She was also featured in the 2010 film adaptation of Robbins's N.Y. Export Jazz. For the GBF Video Archives, she was coached in Sonatine by Violette Verdy and Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux.
MARINA HARSS is a writer, journalist, and critic covering all aspects of dance and occasionally opera. Her features, profiles, think pieces, and interviews have appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Guardian, Playbill, and the online journal dancetabs.com, among others. She is currently working on a book about the choreographer Alexei Ratmansky. For the GBF's Archival Video of Sonatine, she interviewed coaches Violette Verdy and Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux.
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.