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NYCB Vol. 5 No. 27 - Nutcracker

Updated: Apr 2

[27/50] A story from Merrill Ashley's book Dancing for Balanchine (affiliate link)


"At the first rehearsal, taught by Una Kai, a ballet mistress, we were lined up by height and taught the steps. Shortly afterward, I was put in the front of the line. It was important to have someone who could lead the others properly, and I was thrilled to have been chosen.


"New costumes were being made for the Candy Canes and I reported to Karinska’s costume shop to have my measurements taken…. Having a costume made just for me was a thrill beyond words. I said to myself, ‘How lucky that they are making all new costumes this year. Candy Canes for years to come will be wearing my costume.


"At the dress rehearsal, our first time on the stage, Balanchine came up to me and took me by the hand and led me around, showing me where I was to make the first circle. The excitement of it! … It was the highlight of my years at SAB."



Background: Irene Dumont

Middle Ground: Reina Gottesman

Foreground: Victoria Simon.


Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt, 1954. Life Archives.


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