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Dance in Time: March/April
March birthdays include those of choreographer Lev Ivanov (1834–1901; Moscow, Russia), sidekick to Marius Petipa on Swan Lake and The Nutcracker; Ballets Russes founder Serge Diaghilev (1872–1929; Novgorod province, Russia); pioneering modern dancer and choreographer Hanya Holm (born Johanna Eckert, 1893–1992; Worms, Germany); Kirov Ballet and Broadway dancer Tamara Geva (Tamara Gevergeyeva, 1906–1997; St. Petersburg, Russia); Cyd Charisse (born Tula Ellice Finklea, 1922–2008; Amarillo, Texas), who starred in The Band Wagon and Brigadoon; jazz dancer and choreographer Eugene Louis “Luigi” Faccuito (1925–2015; Steubenville, Ohio); choreographer Jiří Kylián (1947–; Prague, Czech Republic), who directed Nederlands Dans Theater; Armitage Gone! Dance founder Karole Armitage (1954–; Madison, Wisconsin); former Bolshoi Ballet and ABT dancer Nina Ananiashvili (1964–; Tbilisi, Georgia), now director of State Ballet of Georgia; and choreographer Christopher Wheeldon (1973–; Yeovil, United Kingdom), of An American in Paris fame.
April birthdays include those of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840–1893; Votkinsk, Russia), whose three ballet scores are widely beloved; Erick Hawkins (1909–1994; Trinidad, Colorado), who became a major force in Martha Graham’s company and founded Erick Hawkins Dance; Jack Cole (1911–1974; New Brunswick, New Jersey), who choreographed dozens of Broadway shows and films; Harkness Ballet founder Rebekah Harkness (1915–1982; St. Louis, Missouri); modern dance choreographer Merce Cunningham (1919–2009; Centralia, Washington), whose collaborations with composer John Cage were hugely influential; musical theater star Joel Grey (1932–; Cleveland, Ohio), best known for Cabaret; former dancer with and artistic director of Stuttgart Ballet Marcia Haydée (born M.H. Salaverry Pereira de Silva, 1939–; Niteroi, Brazil); choreographer Mats Ek (1945–; Malmö, Sweden), who danced with Nederlands Dans Theater and Cullberg Ballet and directed the latter; and former Royal Ballet dancer Darcey Bussell (born Marnie Mercedes Darcey Pumberton Crittle, 1969–; London, United Kingdom).
Quotable: About Dance
“You have to love dancing to stick to it. It gives you nothing back, no manuscripts to store away, no paintings to show on walls and maybe hang in museums, no poems to be printed and sold, nothing but that single fleeting moment when you feel alive. It is not for unsteady souls.”
(as quoted in The Dancer and the Dance: Merce Cunningham in Conversation With Jacqueline Lesschaeve, 1985)