Jerome Robbins in your living room 3

The buzz on the PBS American Masters documentary about our brilliant American choreographer Jerome Robbins is very positive. I’m looking forward to it so much. Air time: Wednesday evening, February 18 @ 9 pm.

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Apropos Robbins, while in Paris in 2002, I encountered, totally by accident, a dance-film festival taking place in the downstairs screening room of the Centre Pompidou.

There I watched a documentary called Violette et Mister B. The film shows the great French-born ballerina of New York City Ballet, Violette Verdy (costumed deliciously, at right), coaching dancers from Paris Opera Ballet in works by Balanchine and Robbins. 

During the screening I wept with joy at my good fortune to see this marvelous film in Paris!

In a clip from the movie, you get to see Violette coach Isabelle Guerin in Robbins’s classical ballet masterpiece, Dances at a Gathering, set to piano music of Chopin.  

Watch it here.

[If you want to see what an exquisite French ballerina looks like up close, enjoy Isabelle Guerin!]

[What about when Violette says, "patinage artistique"?! ]

I saw the effervescent Violette Verdy dance many, many times with NYCB. She was a very great trouper and her performances never disappointed. The opposite: she was a stellar dancer, a huge, radiant star. Violette was in original cast of Dances  (1969), as was Edward Villella. His company, Miami City Ballet, performs the work very well and he discussed the work when I interviewed him in 2006.

[Breaking news: Violette Verdy to be granted French Chevalier de l'Ordre du Légion d'Honneur, the nation's highest award, this June.]

3 thoughts on “Jerome Robbins in your living room

  1. Diane C. Mar 5,2009 12:31 am

    Will PBS be repeating Jerome Robbins? I hope so! If yes, what month? Thanks!

  2. Mark Feb 24,2009 5:11 am

    Thanks for the tip. I loved watching the b’way stuff – hated the ballet stuff! But the whole show was worth it to see Imogene Coca flirting with the fawn. I found the overview to be pretty superficial and wished they spent more time on the two most interesting themes: testimony before HUAC and mental illness.

  3. Janice Keilly Feb 15,2009 5:46 am

    I am looking forward to watching PBS on Wednesday. You write like you are painting a picture. You make me want to see what you see!

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