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RIP Violette Verdy


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Sad news of the death of Violette Verdy today after suffering a major stroke. Famous as one of George Balanchine's dancers not least for her role in Emeralds part of the Jewels suite. My condolences to her family.

Edited by Don Q Fan
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Both Ballet Alert and Dansomanie Forum are carrying news of the death today of the great NYCB dancer Violette Verdy following a stroke. She was born in Brittany and taken to Paris by her mother who had decided that she should become a dancer. She was trained privately rather than at the POB school which may help to explain her difficulties when she became director of the POB in the late 1970's.

 

She danced with Roland Petite's company, Ballet Rambert and London Festival Ballet before moving to New York where she became a member of the NYCB. She was not the typical leggy dancer that we tend to associate with Balanchine's company and she was also one of the few dancers to be employed by Balanchine who had not been trained at the SAB. She was an elegant fearless dancer who brought character to her roles through her intelligence and exceptional musicality.

 

She described the Balanchine ballets in which she appeared as his "nineteenth century and a half " repertory by which she meant ballets referring to nineteenth century traditions.She created roles in a number of ballets that have recently been seen at Covent Garden including the woman in green in Robbins' Dances at a Gathering, the woman who reminisces in Emeralds and Tchaikovsky pas de Deux.

As with so many dancers of her generation there is little of her dancing readily available in anything except fuzzy recordings.

 

She was the director of the POB between 1977 and 1980 and later ran at least one US company before devoting herself to coaching and teaching. Anyone interested in finding out more about this great dancer should try to get hold of a copy of Violette and Mr. B which shows her coaching and bringing out the details from

which the role is created.

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I saw her give a rehearsal at the RB a few years ago.  She was wonderful, and so full of life and fun, whilst giving the dancers a wonderful masterclass in how it should be done.  A great loss to the Balanchine legacy and the wider ballet world.  RIP et merci Violette.

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Violette Verdy was the very evocation of life.  Indeed, a celebration of that same in our own time.  Balanchine knew this and capitalised on her distinct capacity for joy.  We, the benefactors, were richly blessed.  

Side note in reference to item #3:  FLOSS, might I suggest that you visit the Robbins Dance Collection in Lincoln Centre Library (free to all comers).  You will find a considerable array of film of/on/about the glorious Ms. Verdy and the incredible inspiration wrought through the storied magic of her dance's preen and wallop.  Enjoy. 

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That's wierd that it was only for those two years, because I seem to remember her as part of Festival Ballet and I was very young then, only about 7/8. I wonder if she also guested with them from time to time.  Otherwise I don't know quite know why it would have stuck in my head!

Edited by Dance*is*life
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I spotted this when it was first announced, but was too busy to comment. I remember Ms Verdy giving a talk to the London Ballet Circle perhaps a decade ago, and being struck by what a good and fascinating communicator she was. The film Violette and Mr. B only reinforces this opinion. I wish I'd seen her dance.

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