Interview with Edward Villella, 1969Additional title: Selma Jeanne Cohen Papers of Dance Perspectives
NamesVillella, Edward, 1936- (Interviewee)Cohen, Selma Jeanne, 1920-2005 (Interviewer)
Dance Audio Archive
Dates / OriginDate Created: 1969-10-15
Library locationsJerome Robbins Dance DivisionShelf locator: *MGZTCO 3-3304
TopicsVillella, Edward, 1936-Balanchine, GeorgeWilliams, Stanley, 1925-1997Apollo (Choreographic work : Balanchine)Agon (Choreographic work : Balanchine)Prodigal son (Choreographic work : Balanchine)Sylphide (Choreographic work : Bournonville)Midsummer night's dream (Choreographic work : Balanchine)Male dancers
NotesVenue: Recorded by Selma Jeanne Cohen for an article in the Dance Perspectives Journal #40: The Male Image, published winter 1969. Separated from the Selma Jeanne Cohen Papers of Dance Perspectives (S)*MGZMD 56 : open to the public. October 15, 1969. New York (N.Y.)Funding: The conservation and cataloging of this recording was made possible in part by the Barbara Goldsmith Conservation Division of the New York Public Library as well as the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. The support of the National Endowment for the Arts is also gratefully acknowledged.Citation/reference: Separated from the Selma Jeanne Cohen Papers of Dance Perspectives (S)*MGZMD 56.
Physical DescriptionAudiocassetteExtent: 1 audiocassette (approximately 2 hr.) : polyester; quarter-trackSound quality is fair. There is extraneous noise and occasional short gaps. Selma Jeanne Cohen's voice is soft and often difficult to understand. However, the voice of the interviewee, Edward Villella, is easily intelligible.
DescriptionInterview with Edward Villella conducted by Selma Jeanne Cohen in New York City on October 15, 1969 as the basis for an article in the Dance Perspectives Journal #40: The Male Image, published winter 1969.
Streaming file 1 (approximately one hour). [Begins abruptly.] Edward Villella speaks with Selma Jeanne Cohen about quality of movement; posing as compared with moving; mastery of technique as requisite to freedom of movement; learning and performing the role of Apollo in George Balanchine's ballet of the same name, including Balanchine's remarks on the role and why Villella considers it more difficult than that of Albrecht [in the ballet Giselle]; how his interpretation of the role of Apollo has changed over time; the Muses' variations; masculinity, simplicity, and costumes; more on the role of Albrecht, including his version of the character's final moments on stage; the difficulties of performing Balanchine's Agon, in terms of technique and in terms of interpretation; Balanchine's choreography for men as compared with that for women; partnering and his rejection of the idea that the male has a secondary role in ballet; bravura technique as one of his attributes as a dancer; the challenge of using sufficient but not excessive strength when dancing.
Streaming file 2 (approximately one hour). Edward Villella speaks with Selma Jeanne Cohen about how the challenges a dancer faces differ from those an athlete faces; his view that female dancers are better suited than male dancers to adagio movement; taking on the role of the Prodigal son in a revival of Balanchine's ballet of the same name, including the inadequacy of his preparation at the first performance; learning and developing the role by performing it and with the help of an occasional comment from Balanchine; the violence of the choreography; learning the role of James in [August Bournonville's ballet] La sylphide including the experience of dancing in a kilt; Stanley Williams as the teacher who had the greatest influence on his dancing; Balanchine's ballet Rubies [one part of his three-part ballet Jewels] including its demanding choreography and the pleasure of dancing it; performing Balanchine's Tarantella; learning the role of Oberon [in Balanchine's ballet Midsummer night's dream] including Stanley Williams' coaching and the significance of this role in Villella's career.
Type of ResourceSound recording
IdentifiersRLIN/OCLC: 907252893NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b20598967Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): d0fbb680-b8bb-0133-ebbb-60f81dd2b63c
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