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 Post subject: Lew Christensen...
PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2005 11:21 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 25, 2002 11:01 pm
Posts: 678
Location: Petaluma, California
Today, May 6th, is the birthday of Lew Christensen. It's hard to believe that this year marks the 21st anniversary of his passing. I think that he would be saddened to know that his important work seems to be fading from the world of ballet. His legacy at San Francisco Ballet has all but disappeared. I'm thinking of this on his birthday...


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PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2005 4:35 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2000 12:01 am
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Hi, Gina! As a way of honoring and remembering, can you give us some "sample programs" of Lew's works that you would consider to be the "essential" Lew Christensen? What would your program order be? How about a couple of "ideal" casts -- one with dancers from the original era of the piece and one with current SFB dancers?


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PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2005 7:55 pm 
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Location: Petaluma, California
Hi Francis...Well, I wish I could say that I had seen (or danced) all his ballets, but I arrived in 1966 and left in 1985, so that is my point of reference. And, I wish I could say that I was familiar with all the wonderful dancers at SFB now, but I have not been able to see them on any kind of regular basis for personal reasons and distance. I am, however, going to attend "Romeo and Juliet" this coming Sunday and this will be my first time to see them at the Opera House in two years! Can't wait! I will attempt to list just a few of my favorite ballets with some cast members of the past that I have seen or imagine would have been terrific.

Program 1:
"Filling Station" 1938 Lew as Mac; Paula Tracy and Vane Vest as the Rich Boy and Girl

"Con Amore" 1953 Sally Bailey as the Amazon and John Mc Fall (he was HILARIOUS!) as the Thief; Virginia Johnson as Cupid

"Il Distratto" 1967 I am one of the original cast members...I was an "arm girl"...great ballet!

Program 2
"Vivaldi Concerto Grosso" 1981 Betsy Erickson and Jim Sohm

"Beauty and the Beast" 1958 Jocelyn Vollmar and David Anderson (don't know if they ever danced together, but my "ideal cast")....

Program 3
"Airs de Ballet" 1971 Violette Verdy or Me :wink:

"Four Norwegian Moods" 1976 Keith Martin and Susan Magno

"Don Juan" 1973 Fabulous ballet! Attila Fizere was AWESOME!

And, his masterpiece...Lew Christensen's version of "The Nutcracker"...especially the 1967 Robert O'Hearn production...His "Waltz of the Flowers" is the most beautiful of ANY version I have ever seen...they should bring it back!

Francis, I don't know how to do links, I am sorry to say. Could you do the link to his website at cchris/christensen.html? It might be fun for folks to look at it. If you scroll to the bottom of the homepage there are links listed. In that list is an article entitled "Creators: Does Lew Get His Due?" by Jim William that has some wonderful insight into how Lew choreographed. Thanks! :)


Last edited by Gina Ness on Sat May 07, 2005 11:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2005 12:11 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 1451
Location: San Francisco, CA
Is this the site you mean, Gina?

It's got some great new stuff:
http://pwp.value.net/~cchris/christensen.html


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PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2005 11:08 am 
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Location: Petaluma, California
Yes, mehunt! Thanks very much! When you click on "Airs de Ballet", you'll see me dancing with Alex Topciy...there are better photos of this ballet but, oh well...


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PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2005 3:47 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 22, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 17498
Location: SF Bay Area
Very nice photo!

Happy birthday to Mr C!


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2005 2:14 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 12382
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Thank you, Gina! Your Program #1 matched my hypothetical "Best of..." program!


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