March-April 2016 | Bulletin Board: Pin, Post, Share

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Dance in Time: March/April

March 4, 1877: First performance of Swan Lake, at Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre. Perhaps surprising to today’s balletomanes, critical and popular response to the original production was overwhelmingly negative.

March 8, 1933: The “backstage musical” film 42nd Street premieres, with choreography by Busby Berkeley.

March 17, 1938: Rudolf Nureyev is born on a train near Lake Baikal, Siberia. (This is the official birth date; the Rudolf Nureyev Foundation notes that the actual date probably was two or three days earlier.)

March 30, 1958: First performance of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, at New York City’s 92nd Street Y.

April 1, 1991: Martha Graham dies in New York City, age 96.

April 8, 1950: About 30 years after retiring from the stage because of his mental collapse, Vaslav Nijinsky dies in London at age 60.

April 11, 1936: The ballet-themed Rodgers and Hart musical On Your Toes, with choreography by George Balanchine, premieres at the Imperial Theatre on Broadway.

April 16, 1919: Merce Cunningham is born in Centralia, Washington.

April 18, 1944: Ballet Theatre (now American Ballet Theatre) premieres Jerome Robbins’ Fancy Free at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City.

April 25, 1995: Ginger Rogers dies in Rancho Mirage, California, age 83.

April 25, 1996: Savion Glover’s Bring in ’da Noise, Bring in ’da Funk opens on Broadway, at the Ambassador Theatre.

April 30, 1983: George Balanchine dies in New York City, age 79.

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Quotable: Dancers on Dance
What I saw simply and irrevocably changed my life. I saw the dance as a vision of ineffable power. A man could, with dignity and towering majesty, dance . . . as Michelangelo’s visions dance and as the music of Bach dances. José Limón

(about seeing Harald Kreutzberg perform in New York City in 1928; from The Modern Dance: Seven Statements of Belief, edited by Selma Jeanne Cohen, 1966)

I have spent all my life with dance and being a dancer. It’s permitting life to use you in a very intense way. Sometimes it is not pleasant. Sometimes it is fearful. But nevertheless it is inevitable.Martha Graham

(“History,” Martha Graham Dance Company, marthagraham.org)