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Subject: "Desmond Kelly" Archived thread - Read only
 
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Ann Williams

24-09-01, 11:31 PM (GMT)
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"Desmond Kelly"
 
   Comments from Jane S and Martinjay on another thread prompts my curiousity about Desmond Kelly (that, and the fact that I had an uncle called Desmond Kelly).

I was at the Fonteyn conference Jane mentions and well remember that coaching session with Belinda Hatley, not least for Desmond Kelly's unexpectedly deep, rich and plummy voice which was weirdly off-putting at first. However, it was soon forgotten in the fascination of observing his deft, effective coaching. I also remember what a witty speaker he was later, recounting an early experience of partnering the mature Fonteyn in rehearsal when he was a very young dancer. In the middle of a complicated lift, he dropped on her knees and thought that was the end of his career, but after a moments' moaning and groaning on the floor, Fonteyn stood up, rubbed her knees, and said 'Darling! That's the best my knees have felt in years!'

Desmond Kelly is now Assistant Director of BRB and I was fascinated to learn from the programme for their recent Sadler's Wells visit that 'since joining the Royal Ballet companies in 1970 he has danced all the major classical roles and is particularly noted for his interpretation of the Balanchine repertory'.

Has anyone here (Helen, for instance) Seen him perform? I would be fascinated to hear any recollections.


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Desmond Kelly tony newcombe 25-09-01 1
     RE: Desmond Kelly pmeja 25-09-01 2
  RE: Desmond Kelly Ted 25-09-01 3
     RE: Desmond Kelly Helen 25-09-01 4
  RE: Desmond Kelly Ted 26-09-01 5
     RE: Desmond Kelly Ann Williams 26-09-01 6
         RE: Desmond Kelly p.s.stammers 26-09-01 7
             RE: Desmond Kelly mark 27-09-01 8
         RE: Desmond Kelly Ted 27-09-01 9
         RE: Desmond Kelly Ted 27-09-01 10
         RE: Desmond Kelly Ted 27-09-01 11
             RE: Desmond Kelly Ann Williams 29-09-01 12
                 RE: Desmond Kelly Paul A 02-10-01 13
                 RE: Desmond Kelly Ted 03-10-01 14
                     RE: Desmond Kelly Tim Powell 03-10-01 15
                         RE: Desmond Kelly Fuzzyface 03-10-01 16
                         RE: Desmond Kelly Ted 04-10-01 17

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tony newcombe

25-09-01, 01:11 AM (GMT)
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1. "RE: Desmond Kelly"
In response to message #0
 
   I suppose Hobson in Hobson's Choice hardly counts. Seeing him off stage, you would not think it is the same person.


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pmeja

25-09-01, 01:20 AM (GMT)
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2. "RE: Desmond Kelly"
In response to message #1
 
   i seem to remember that it was desmond kelly whom i saw with maina gielgud in her show 'steps, notes and squeaks'. i remember him as a good partner and very handsome, but it was over 20 years ago and the only time i saw him; i wish i could remember more.


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Ted

25-09-01, 02:32 AM (GMT)
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3. "RE: Desmond Kelly"
In response to message #0
 
   Desmond Kelly was an excellent partner, technically adequate but not brilliant but definitely a danseur noble. I remember watching him partnering Merle Park in her debut in Swan Lake at the age of 35 at Covent Garden, they brought the house down that night!


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Helen

25-09-01, 09:07 AM (GMT)
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4. "RE: Desmond Kelly"
In response to message #3
 
   Oddly enough, although Desmond Kelly is a very familiar name to me, I can't remember ever seeing him dance, though I'm sure I must have. I missed a lot of ballet in the 70s because that was when I had small children. In Fonteyn's autobiography she includes Kelly in a list of young men (which also includes Dowell and Macleary) who she claims tempted her away from her regular partners because of their "irresistible charm". Quite a compliment!


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Ted

26-09-01, 10:08 AM (GMT)
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5. "RE: Desmond Kelly"
In response to message #0
 
   I think the main reason why most people don't remember Desmond Kelly as a danser is because he was very much 'underused' by the Royal in the 70's. The box office winners were Fonteyn, Nureyev, Makarova, Sibley, Dowell, and sometimes Park, Wall, and later on Collier. Others like Jenner, Penny and Bergsma (too tall, could only be partnered by Macleary) were normally casted for the odd evening and mostly afternoon performances. Kelly and very rarely Coleman would normally partnered them in those odd performances. Sometimes Seymour and Beriosava would dance a few performances but they were few and far in between.


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Ann Williams

26-09-01, 11:15 AM (GMT)
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6. "RE: Desmond Kelly"
In response to message #5
 
   Ted

This is fascinating stuff. If you have had the incomparable good fortune to have seen all of the dancers you mention, then it is positively yur duty to tell us a little about each of them.

For instance, Jennifer Penney. She didn't write a book as far as I'm aware (most of the other female dancers, apart from Beriosova and Bergsma did, I think) and very little is known of her. Many of us will probably have her on video in 'Manon', which further fuels our curiousity. Do you think you could provide at least a thumbnail sketch of what she was like - preferably starting another thread?


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p.s.stammers

26-09-01, 09:32 PM (GMT)
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7. "RE: Desmond Kelly"
In response to message #6
 
   I can not remember Desmond as a Prinicpal dancer, but have seen him in a wide range of character parts with BRB.
He is memorable father to Clara in Nutcracker, with David Morse, the other senior character dancer at BRB as grandfather.
He moves well, and is the character he is portraying.
Pauline

Pauline


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mark

27-09-01, 01:18 AM (GMT)
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8. "RE: Desmond Kelly"
In response to message #7
 
   He was a very moving Elgar too


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Ted

27-09-01, 03:15 AM (GMT)
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9. "RE: Desmond Kelly"
In response to message #6
 
   Ann
I would love to oblige but I just don't have the time. Just a few words about Penny - she could do the 6 o'clock extension just as impressive as Guillem if not better. But that was not particularly appreciated in the 70's! She was a very good ballerina, technically strong and well presented on stage. Unfortunately she was never given the opportunity to shine. I remember seeing her in Afternoon of a Faun (Robbin) with Nureyev and she was really 'cool' (using the modern description!) I thought she was exceptional in Swan Lake - especially very impressive in the Black Swan ppd. Unfortunately, she was 'normally' casted in the pas de trois in Swan Lake and the Blue Bird ppd when Sibley or Park was dancing Aurora. So she never received much attention from the audience and the critics. I think she shared her life with Coleman until she retired and went back to Vancouver.


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Ted

27-09-01, 03:15 AM (GMT)
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10. "RE: Desmond Kelly"
In response to message #6
 
   Ann
I would love to oblige but I just don't have the time. Just a few words about Penny - she could do the 6 o'clock extension just as impressive as Guillem if not better. But that was not particularly appreciated in the 70's! She was a very good ballerina, technically strong and well presented on stage. Unfortunately she was never given the opportunity to shine. I remember seeing her in Afternoon of a Faun (Robbin) with Nureyev and she was really 'cool' (using the modern description!) I thought she was exceptional in Swan Lake - especially very impressive in the Black Swan ppd. Unfortunately, she was 'normally' casted in the pas de trois in Swan Lake and the Blue Bird ppd when Sibley or Park was dancing Aurora. So she never received much attention from the audience and the critics. I think she shared her life with Coleman until she retired and went back to Vancouver.


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Ted

27-09-01, 03:15 AM (GMT)
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11. "RE: Desmond Kelly"
In response to message #6
 
   Ann
I would love to oblige but I just don't have the time. Just a few words about Penny - she could do the 6 o'clock extension just as impressive as Guillem if not better. But that was not particularly appreciated in the 70's! She was a very good ballerina, technically strong and well presented on stage. Unfortunately she was never given the opportunity to shine. I remember seeing her in Afternoon of a Faun (Robbin) with Nureyev and she was really 'cool' (using the modern description!) I thought she was exceptional in Swan Lake - especially very impressive in the Black Swan ppd. Unfortunately, she was 'normally' casted in the pas de trois in Swan Lake and the Blue Bird ppd when Sibley or Park was dancing Aurora. So she never received much attention from the audience and the critics. I think she shared her life with Coleman until she retired and went back to Vancouver.


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Ann Williams

29-09-01, 10:30 AM (GMT)
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12. "RE: Desmond Kelly"
In response to message #11
 
   Ted -
Many thanks for these well-chosen words - they tell me a lot about Jennifer Penney and are exactly the sort of thing I'm after. Could I push my luck and ask you to provide a few words about Michael Coleman? There is such a shortage of information about him it's almost as if he never existed..


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Paul A

02-10-01, 05:23 PM (GMT)
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13. "RE: Desmond Kelly"
In response to message #12
 
   An excellent Colas with Samsova in her debut in Manchester in 1976. Off when he should have been Albrecht with Barbieri in Giselle.

Noble, effacing, competent in the best sense.


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Ted

03-10-01, 03:50 AM (GMT)
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14. "RE: Desmond Kelly"
In response to message #12
 
   Ann -
Just a quick word about Coleman. Technically, he was excellent. His leaps were high and he was a very strong dancer. Although he was a principal dancer, he very rarely danced the actual principal roles. Like Penny, he was performing mostly in the supporting roles such as the pas de trois in Swan Lake, etc. I always wonder if his face let him down as to a lot of the 'regulars in the 70s I spoke to, the general opinion was that he did not have that classical look of a prince or what was expected of a danseur noble. Perhaps its his curly hair that makes him look more like a peasant than a prince. Anyway, he was a good Colas (as recorded in video with Collier) but I found him disappointing but in Giselle (with Collier at Sadler's Wells) and in La Bayadere with Park. Perhaps he suffered from stage nerves when he was casted in the principal role which he was not used to. In my humble opinion, I think it was definitely a waste of talent and a good dancer.


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Tim Powell

03-10-01, 11:17 AM (GMT)
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15. "RE: Desmond Kelly"
In response to message #14
 
   A brief follow up on Michael Coleman who was a versatile and very valuable member of the company for some years. he was thought to be unmusical but had a positive personality with a great sense of comedy and an element of vigour which is thin on the ground at ROH at present. In contract with Ted I saw him give some excellent performances in the single act La Bayadere
and he was a good to very good Blue Bird.
He was excellent in his created roles in Dances at a Gathering and Elite Syncopations and very good in the Tango in Facade.
An underated dancer.


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Fuzzyface

03-10-01, 01:04 PM (GMT)
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16. "RE: Desmond Kelly"
In response to message #15
 
   Michael Coleman was excellent as Bottom in "The Dream", and he was one of the best Widow Simone's I've ever seen in "Fille". I also really remember him as a charming Lescaut.


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Ted

04-10-01, 03:33 AM (GMT)
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17. "RE: Desmond Kelly"
In response to message #15
 
   I forgot to mention that Michael Coleman was an excellent Mercutio in R&J but the critics didn't quite like his interpretation.
Whilst I agree with Tim that Coleman was excellent in those created roles, in fact he was funnier than Nureyev in Side Show, but none of those roles were technically demanding and certainly did not use him fully.


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