In less than an hour (Pacific Time) our local PBS stations will be broadcasting a new dance segment as part of their ‘Fall Arts Festival-Great Performances’ series and it should be a doozy.
At 9 pm tonight (Pacific time-and most other time zones) ‘Miami City Ballet Dances Balanchine and Tharp’…but only because of the near-legendary vision of its founding Artistic Director, former New York City Ballet star, 18 years under George Balanchine’s (‘Mr. B’s’) direction, Edward Villella.
This may be the last time for many of us on the left coast to see Miami City Ballet while it is still under the loving care of Mr. Villella, since his recent 9/22/11 announcement to retire at the end of the 2012-2013 season. (Click here for the press release).
For those of us old enough to remember his animal magnetism, fierce athleticism, and charismatic artistry, I think I can pretty safely claim that his contribution to American Ballet is unparalleled by any other male dancer. ‘Mr. B.’ himself entrusted him with some of his most important roles. That in itself is good enough for me.
Keeping in mind this is a quick last-minute reminder, I’ll not wax on for paragraphs about Mr. Villella’s life achievements. I will, however, include this photographic tribute, compiled from PBS’ web site, for those inclined to revisit this page for more goodies.
Please join me tonight as we witness one of America’s leading ballet companies as they perform Balanchine’s ‘Square Dance’ and ‘Western Symphony’, and Twyla Tharp’s ‘The Golden Section’.
Thank you Mr. Villella. And thank you, PBS.
‘Miami City Ballet Dances Balanchine and Tharp’, PBS’ ‘Great Performances’, 10/28/11, 9pm (Channel 9 KQED for most SF Bay Area residents.)
Of further interest:
Excerpt from Villella’s autobiography ‘Prodigal Son: Dancing for Balanchine in a World of Pain and Magic’, by Edward Villella with Larry Kaplan published by University of Pittsburgh Press. © Edward Villella 1992, Simon & Schuster