This has been an awful year for ballet deaths and we are only in the ninth month. I was particularly sad to hear about Andre Prokovsky as he was a mainstay of London Festival Ballet (now ENB) for many years and I must have seen him dance countless times. During his time with LFB he was dancing alongside exceptional male dancers such as the incomparable John Gilpin and the exciting young Peter Schaufuss but even in the very starriest company he still stood out as a dancer of stature.
Prokovsky was a technician of the old school with remarkable elevation and ballon, his cabrioles looked as if he was taking a seat in mid air. He was a talented actor too with his performances as the leading convict in Piege de Lumiere unlikely ever to be bettered. He formed a memorable partnership with his then wife Galina Samsova dancing performances of benchmark quality in Giselle. Prokovsky and Samsova went on to found the New London Ballet, a company of which I became quite a fan and he also began choreographing some very fine works.
Of the ballets he choreographed my favourite was always Vespri, a hugely entertaining piece that stood up well to multiple viewings. Prokovsky obviously had quite a sense of humour and a self deprecating one at that as I always remember a moment of high comedy in Vespri where after being treated to a show of bravura dancing by the males, featuring outstanding virtuosity from Prokovsky himself, the ballerina (Samsova) selects those she will dance with. She does not select Prokovsky. He steps forwards and mimes ‘why not me?’ to which the ballerina replies in her own mime, You, pointing her finger, Beautiful, circling her face with her hand, No Way! with a emphatic gesture of denial. Crestfallen Prokovsky steps back into the corps with drooping shoulders as for all his prodigious dancing gifts Prokovsky (bless him) was no looker.
A very great dancer, may he rest in peace.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituar ... ovsky.html
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/commen ... 815450.ece