April 29, 2001 San Francisco
Jean Babilee apparently hopped from New York City April 23 to
San Francisco April 28 for a 4:30 viewing of the documentary
made by Patrick Bensard under the aeges of the Cinematheque de la
There is some wonderful footage of him just before the premiere
of Le Jeune Homme et la Mort as well as a revival at Marseilles
while Petit was still there, or perhaps it could have been somewhere else.
Venerable figures like Irene Lidova,Marika Besobrasova,Yvette Chauvire, Clive Barnes as well as Nathalie Philippart were
interviewed....There was footage apparently taken by Babilee's
family. Baryshnikov makes an appearance as does Maurice Bejart,
and footage from the ballet Life, demonstrating Babilee's phenomenal physical control.
Among other things there are at least three stories about his
life which are very gripping. One when he sustained an injury
as a child, the second when he was about to be rounded up during the last gasp of the Nazi occupation of Paris and the third when
he escaped a piece of shrapnel during the crash of an American airplane.
Many years ago I saw him in Ballet Theatre in his own version of
Tul Eulinspeigel (forgive the spelling). I didn't particular like the choreography, but I certainly was captivated by his dancing and the singularity of his presence.
If it has not been shown publicly in Europe and England, everyone has a treat in store.