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NYCB Vol. 6 No. 19 - Firebird

Violette Verdy's thoughts on Firebird: “What I love about Firebird is the quality of entombed independence of that bird who has a mission, who cannot be caught by anybody in particular, who cannot afford to belong to any one person because of its mission. She’s afraid to be captured—not an ordinary animal fear of a bird being caught by a man, but the fear that what she carries will stop there. So she tests the Prince to find out what his intentions are, and once she’s satisfied with the motive, you can see that she was never really that afraid, that the distance she kept was to test and check.”

(left) Violette Verdy and Francisco Moncion, 1963. Photo by Fred Fehl

(right) Violette Verdy. 1960s. Photo by Michael Avedon

Violette Verdy's thoughts on Firebird: “What I adored was the Berceuse, because for a moment there was regret at seeing him leave with his bride—regret at not being part of the ordinary—at being left alone once more. She is not completely a bird, no. Balanchine explained that ‘fire’ and ‘bird’ don’t really go together—how could you represent it? So in a sense, it’s a moment of magic or a creature that doesn’t exist, something that you cannot really pinpoint. It’s half a monster. He was always unsatisfied that, in a sense, it could never be properly solved.”

(left) Violette Verdy and Francisco Moncion,1966.

(right) Violette Verdy,1963.

Photos by Martha Swope

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