Cover

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Half Title, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

Over the years, I have been asked to recount tales of my dancing days with Boston Ballet—stories not only about my career and the company’s beginnings but also about the “dance boom” that exploded all around America in the 1960s and 1970s. Knowing what an enormous task that would be to put on paper, ...

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Prologue | Romeo and Juliet, Life, Death, and Dancing

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pp. 1-2

While lying “dead” on the bier in my debut as Shakespeare’s famously doomed, star-crossed Juliet, tears started to well up as my thoughts turned to the one who had been my guiding mentor, E. Virginia Williams, Boston Ballet’s founder. Just days earlier, she had died unexpectedly, ...

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1 | If the Shoe Fits

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pp. 3-9

My first pair of pointe shoes didn’t fit properly. That was not a big surprise, as technically speaking, they weren’t mine to begin with. They had been my mother’s, and they were so big I had to stuff socks into the toes. After all, I was only seven years old when I found them while playing in my grandmother’s attic. ...

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2 | Grand Jeté

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pp. 10-16

My big leap into the big pond of the Boston School of Ballet metaphorically wavered between excitedly testing the waters and treading water. I did manage, for awhile, to stay afloat: it probably helped that during that first year, I still had the comfort zone of Miss Baker’s school to return to, for Miss Williams, ...

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3 | Return to Forever

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pp. 17-24

That letter, signed “With affection, Miss Williams,” went on to state that even some of her most prized students—such as Sara Leland and Fern MacLarnon, who had gone on to successful careers with New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theatre respectively—hadn’t in her opinion been as advanced as I was when they were my age. ...

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4 | Relevé

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pp. 25-32

On January 25, 1965, Virginia and we, her steadfast band of hardworking dancers, teachers, staff members, and volunteers, began the first official season as a professional entity, The Boston Ballet Company. While this “inaugural” program, at John Hancock Hall, still included guest artists, more and more of the homegrown dancers ...

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5 | Allegro

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pp. 33-41

Yes, I was growing up. We all were: my fellow dancers and the company itself, all very quickly. Not only was Boston Ballet relying less and less on guest artists to perform the leading roles, but also we “homegrown” dancers were even beginning to perform elsewhere as the guest artists ourselves. ...

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6 | Onstage, Offstage

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pp. 42-51

My big moments of doubt about whether I was suited to ballet as a career may have been behind me, but a lifetime of dealing with injuries was just beginning. Fortunately, I wasn’t overly prone to injuries, but they are an unavoidable part of the profession, and I had my share. A dancer, like any other athlete, is going to have aches and pains by nature of the work. ...

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7 | Pas de Bourrée and Bourrée

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pp. 52-60

With my ankle the culprit again, I was out for the first two sets of performances of Boston Ballet’s fourth season in January and March 1968. As I told writer Joan B. Cass the following summer, I took a certain amount of the blame for my moody right ankle. “The first trouble came from overstressing the joint,” I told her. ...

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8 | Arabesque Voyagée

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pp. 61-68

The Boston Ballet WILL have a Spring season.”
So began Margo Miller’s February 16, 1969, article in the Sunday Boston Globe. That capitalized “WILL” says it all: despite the company’s continued artistic strides, critical acclaim, and a supportive, growing audience, our future was uncertain. ...

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9 | Fouetté

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pp. 69-77

If my whirlwind romance with Tony made my personal life positively dizzying that year, I was flying rather high professionally too. In February, during the company’s first subscription performances of 1970, we performed Les Sylphides in Boston’s Savoy Theater. ...

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10 | Tour Jeté

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pp. 78-87

Well, it’s a good thing we were newlyweds in love, because we did indeed struggle professionally at first. Although I had received an offer to take daily company class at Joffrey and learn and rehearse parts from the ballet Petrouchka, I got the distinct message that Mr. Joffrey didn’t want to have to “deal” ...

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11 | Ballon

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pp. 88-98

Despite the meagerness of technical and artistic challenges I’d experienced during my time in New York City, I returned to Boston a much stronger dancer. While I had lost weight from hauling those ponderous costumes around (and the natural slimming that often comes with adulthood), ...

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12 | À Terre; en l’Air

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pp. 99-109

A writer once described Virginia as “plumpish, smiling, and almost neighborly,” but this unassuming appearance notwithstanding, she could be quite bold. Her opening program for the company’s eleventh season included two works by one of dance history’s most unconventional modernists, Merce Cunningham, ...

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13 | La Belle au Bois Dormant

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pp. 110-117

When he was a child, George Balanchine made his debut in The Sleeping Beauty as a page. How fitting that the man whom many consider to have been the standard-bearer of ballet choreography in the twentieth century should have gotten his start in this masterpiece by the man seen as the king of ballet in the nineteenth century, ...

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14 | Pas de Chat

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pp. 118-128

Because of the rehearsal, technical, and performance schedules that revolve around The Nutcracker, ballet dancers—and everyone else involved in the show of course—rarely join the multitudes who make annual pilgrimages to their family homes for Thanksgiving. For many years, Lefty and her husband David hosted an “orphans’ Thanksgiving” ...

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15 | Tendu

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pp. 129-139

Art is subjective,” so goes the maxim. I will never figure out how one person could love a certain ballet while someone else could loathe it. And forget about balanced perspective if you are actually dancing in that ballet. Indeed, there were very few pieces that I thought were subpar when I was rehearsing and performing them; ...

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16 | Tour en l’Air

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pp. 140-152

One of my favorite pastimes over the years, and especially once I had a little backyard, has been gardening. And one of the most important things I’ve learned from gardening is that plants will grow according to the space given them. In 1979, Boston Ballet took the bold step of spreading its roots onto the international stage. ...

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17 | Rudi, Rudi, Rudi

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pp. 153-162

No time to rest for the weary—that became our mantra when we returned from our tour, triumphant but tired. Soon after stepping foot back in Boston, it was time to turn our focus toward a new adventure: New York City. For visiting companies, performing at this mecca of the dance world is daunting, especially the first time. ...

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18 | Manèges

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pp. 163-174

Naturally, performing with Rudolf Nureyev in general was daunting, particularly in places like New York City and London. But our biggest test came when we finally danced with him at home for our local audience, many of whom were longtime followers and had seen our ups and downs throughout the years. ...

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19 | Temps de l’Ange

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pp. 175-183

While Boston Ballet was busy rebuilding its relationship with Boston, my personal connections with friends and colleagues old and new continued to be sources of joy and inspiration. In particular, my onstage partnership with Donn Edwards grew. In addition to being a beautiful classical dancer, tall and handsome, ...

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20 | En Avant

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pp. 184-193

It wasn’t technically a vacation, but no one had to twist my arm to join the group of company members that traveled down to Bermuda in January 1985. Billed as “The Boston Ballet Chamber Company,” we performed as part of the tenth-anniversary season of the Bermuda Festival. Although my sections on the mixed program we presented were physically taxing, I was determined to sneak in plenty of beach time. ...

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21 | Changement

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pp. 194-204

Most dancers, at one time or another, have been asked the same question: what is your favorite dance/role? I’m sure that often the answers are the same: whatever one I’m dancing at the time. That maxim was usually true for me too, but of course there are standouts, roles that particularly resonated at the time and that remain powerfully in my mind’s eye now ...

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22 | Révérence

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pp. 205-214

In 1989, two years after I celebrated my twenty-fifth year as a Boston ballerina, it was Boston Ballet’s turn to mark its own silver anniversary. There was indeed much to revel about, and accordingly, a fancy gala evening was presented for the next-to-last performance of the March program to commemorate some of the company’s proud history. ...

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Epilogue | My Fourth Act

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pp. 215-218

In 2014 Boston Ballet celebrated its fiftieth anniversary season, which meant that, yes, I observed fifty-­two years with the organization. As a part of that anniversary celebration, I was asked to assist with the company timeline, which would highlight Boston Ballet’s “milestones” from its inception to the current day. Given my long tenure with Boston Ballet, ...

Notes

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pp. 219-224

Index of Ballets

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pp. 225-228

Index of Names

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pp. 229-238

Illustrations

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