GO: Cynthia Gregory in conversation this Friday

To celebrate the release of the DVD “Together”–a
compendium of scenes from ballets that the American Ballet Theatre
ballerina shared with principal dancer Fernando Bujones–Cynthia
Gregory is sitting down with my esteemed colleague Joel Lobenthal, of
the extinguished Sun, at the Lincoln Center Barnes and Noble, 7:30 pm this Friday, October 17.

I know from firsthand experience that Joel is an excellent
interviewer–he was the moderator of a Dance Critics Association panel
this summer that included Laura Jacobs and me, and he asked really
engaging questions. He knows ballet history inside, outside, and upside
down, and has followed glorious Gregory’s career from the start.

case you have yet to succumb to middle age, Cynthia Gregory was a big
deal in the ’70s. Because the New York City Ballet didn’t tour the
States, for those of us in the provinces–the SF Bay Area, say–Gregory
in the classical roles of ABT was one of a handful of dancers that
meant ballet to us. As a teenager, I saw her with Bujones more than any
other ballerina. And while Makarova could feel too Russian (i.e., slow)
and Gelsey Kirkland freakily effete, Gregory was large and strong,
dancing with a forthright clarity that never compromised her grace.

Bujones, her regular partner, was heaven–gentle and long-limbed and as
soft in landing as a cat. Sort of like Marcelo Gomes.

Anyway, the conversation should be interesting.

As for live ballet, don’t forget that the San Francisco Ballet is at City Center through Sunday. They’ve brought a couple of Balanchine masterworks, as well as Morris and Wheeldon New York premieres.

of Wheeldon, I have just posted on the second annual outing of his
company, Morphoses: so much better than the first. In fact, so good in
parts that it was like being carried along by the tide. (The paradox of
experience: when you’re really one with it, you’re not in much of a position to accurately record it.)

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  1. says

    Sounds great! Wish I could go. Is anyone recording/youtubing/podcasting it?
    Hello! Hmmmm…. I don’t know. Perhaps if you called the Barnes and Noble store, they would decide to…

  2. Kathy Costello says

    I was happy to read about Cynthia Gregory again. I have wonderful memories of seeing her dance in New York. My favorite memory is of “Swan Lake.” She danced it with Rudolf Nureyev on April 27, 1979, at the Met. Rudi was 41 and Cynthia was 32, and they were phenomenal!
    The audience went wild following the Act III Black Swan pas de deux– clapping, whistling, yelling. They were tremendous and generously gave us an encore! And the encore was even better. The place exploded with applause, etc. Of course, the audience wanted another encore, but Rudi wiped his brow and mimed “no more.” Both dancers were thrilled, and it showed.
    Cynthia was a beautiful Odette/Odile – her Odette broke your heart, and Odile was so dramatic and alluring. Although she preferred dancing with tall danseurs, she loved dancing with Rudi. They were perfect together; of course, he stood tall and danced tall. He was very strong and supported her beautifully.
    I just discovered this site. It is wonderful. I wish I had found it earlier–when you had the discussion on the Kavanagh book about Rudolf Nureyev. [http://www.artsjournal.com/foot/2007/10/to_make_up_for_all_the_schaden.html] What a terrific forum, and I am so sorry that I wasn’t a part of it as I have numerous problems with that “authorized” biography. It was so obvious that Kavanagh didn’t like or respect Rudi, and she, like so many other writers since his death, was obsessed with his private sex life. It was despicable of her to provide details of his horrific illness (shame on those who gave her so much medical info).
    Thank you for this forum.
    Dear Kathy,
    Thank you for your encouraging words–and your memories of Gregory and Nureyev. Makes me jealous! I haven’t yet seen this “Together” DVD yet, so my memories of Gregory are woefully blurry, but I do remember finding her entrancing–and in “Swan Lake,” in particular. A high school friend and I would leave school early to catch her in the Wednesday matinee at the SF War Memorial Opera House–way high up.
    And, yes, it’s a terrible thing that Nureyev’s authorized biographer had so little feeling for her subject–for his dancing and his ferocity: how it might be a powerfully good thing–and that, to make matters worse, all the critics who ever resented Nureyev his oversized self used the bio as an opportunity to punish him (now that he’s not around to punish them right back). I did think, though, that Toni Bentley’s review in the Times [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/02/books/review/Bentley-t.html?ref=books&pagewanted=all] almost made up for it all.
    Thanks again for writing. (I should warn you–I alternate between ballet and experimental/postmodern dance. So there may be posts that don’t much interest you.)

  3. Kathy Costello says

    Hello Apollinaire,
    Thank you for your response. I did read Toni Bentley’s review, and it was great. Another critic I adore is Patricia Boccadoro at http://www.culturekiosque.com
    She also disliked that book, and she knew and adored Rudi. Her review was terrific (she has a lot of reviews regarding Rudi and the Paris Opera Ballet, etc.).
    Hi, Kathy,
    Thank you for the tip. I’ll definitely check out culturekiosque.com and this Ms. Boccadoro. ~) Apollinaire

  4. JLC says

    Can anyone help me with this: The debut of Baryshnikov at ABT (1974) with Makarova in Giselle. I remember Cynthia Gregory was the Myrta but cannot find a review or my program.
    Dear Joel,
    I don’t have the program, but Arlene Croce wrote about his debuts in “Giselle” and “La Bayadere” in an essay entitled “Baryshnikov’s Day,” published August 19, 1974, which later was reprinted in her collection “Afterimages.” It doesn’t mention Cynthia Gregory, but it does identify Natalia Makarova as his partner (i.e., Giselle) for both ballets. To confirm you might try the Ballet Talk forum. A lot of knowledgeable longtime viewers there.
    Good luck,

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