Magazine article Dance Magazine

Wicked Things They Said

Magazine article Dance Magazine

Wicked Things They Said

Article excerpt

Trashing and dissing are not exactly evil, but a temptation to be resisted. Most of us do it anyway and regret it later. But looking back at juicy gossip in history can be fun--certainly more fun than if and when it's said about ourselves. We asked our contributors to recall some of the wiekedest insults they may know about, and we also culled a few from books.

MARIUS PETIPA COULDN'T stand his prima ballerina assoluta, and in his diaries, called her "rotten," "spiteful," a "nasty swine" who refused to share her roles with deserving rivals like Olga Preobrajenska. He thought Agrippina Vaganova, the future Soviet pedagogue, was "dreadful" in The Pearl; that Pavel Gerdt, the first Desire and (Maryinsky) Siegfried was "deceitful." He accused him of "stealing" his choreography. In one entry he wrote, "At 1 P.M., went to the Maryinsky to see the rehearsal of The Blue Dahlia, dreadfully mounted by that swine Gerdt. I wrote a letter to the Director to have my name removed from the program."

"The Diaries of Marius Petipa," trans., ed. by Lynn Garafola, Studies in Dance History, 3, no. 1 (Spring 1992)

THAT DREADFUL, DREADFUL wicked woman, he would say with shining eyes as though each phrase were oxygen to his fainting lungs." Quoting Hugh Laing about Marie Rambert, Dance to the Piper by Agnes de Mille

THEY HAVE NO DANCE IN AMERICA, said Toumanova to me in '34. 'Craham has a sort of technique but no ideas.'" Dance to the Piper by Agnes de Mille

BEIART'S WORK IS S--T. ON MY worst day, with the worst hangover in my life, I could never do anything that bad." Mark Morris in Mark Morris by Joan Acocella

FORGETTING TO DISGUISE MY Southern accent, I say that all us students sure are thrilled that she's finally come. (Theatrically speaking, her two-day-late entrance has been an effective build-up.) Lowering her huge lashes, she whispers that being there is, for her, like atoning for all past sins. …

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