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Mon Sep 30, 2019, 12:37 PM

Lessons From Baryshnikov on Robbins (Less Is More)

'Mikhail Baryshnikov is back at New York City Ballet, coaching Jerome Robbins’s “Opus 19/The Dreamer”: “It’s like not a dancer who is a man. It’s just a man who is a dancer.”Lessons From Baryshnikov on Robbins (Less Is More)

The walk was too decorative. The hands were too tense. Mikhail Baryshnikov, coaching the New York City Ballet principal Gonzalo Garcia in “Opus 19/The Dreamer,” wanted to see the person behind the dancer.

In this Jerome Robbins ballet, created for Mr. Baryshnikov and Patricia McBride in 1979 and featuring 14 dancers in total, the interior imagination of a dancer must be ignited. All the same, it’s a subtle fire. The stage can’t burn up with anguish.

“Like everything in dance,” Mr. Baryshnikov said later in an interview, where he was joined by Mr. Garcia, you can’t be “afraid to go deep.” At the same time, he added, you have to be afraid of going too deep, or “it becomes cartoon.”

With this work with Mr. Garcia, Mr. Baryshnikov, 71, the finest classical dancer of his generation, has returned to City Ballet — where he danced for a brief yet invigorating period — to coach. During Peter Martins’s tenure as ballet master in chief, many veteran dancers, including originators of roles in ballets by George Balanchine and Robbins, were not used for this purpose; slowly, that has begun to change.

Since Mr. Martins’s resignation in January of last year, a number of important alumni, including Patricia McBride, Mimi Paul, Edward Villella and Suzanne Farrell, have come back as coaches. In fall 2018, Mr. Baryshnikov worked with Joaquin De Luz on Robbins’s “A Suite of Dances,” another role created for him, as well as on Robbins’s “Other Dances” with Mr. De Luz and Tiler Peck.

Not that he is about to become a full-time dance coach — he runs the Baryshnikov Arts Center, of which he is founder and artistic director — and has pursued a successful career as an actor in film and television, as well as on the stage.

“He comes and he gives you more vitamins,” Mr. Garcia said about being in the studio with Mr. Baryshnikov. “That’s the point about this ballet: Not to lock it and make it the same, but how can you make it still grow?”'>>>

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/27/arts/dance/mikhail-baryshnikov-coaching-new-york-city-ballet.html?

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