Alumni Comments, Photos, and Letters

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Good Afternoon Boston Ballet Alumni, Dancers, Dreamers, and Teachers,

Today I found an absolutely wonderful message in my email inbox from Rosemary Tipping Timoney.

It is so beautiful.

Thank you Rosemary, I loved reading and re-reading your memories!

Here it is for all Boston Ballet Alumni to read and savor...

From: Rosemary Timoney

Date: September 30, 2008 6:01:57 PM PDT


Subject: The Original BB

Dear Cecily,

As a follow-up to Pat Colgate's letter, I was amazed to see someone from exactly my vintage contributing to the web site the first time I looked at it. I was sure that I went too far back into ancient history for anything to be relevant. I, too, began at the Malden studio at the age of 8, studied (I use the word very loosely here) with Mrs. Wilson and Margie Duff, and, at last with Miss Williams when it came to learn my first role in the Nutcracker - a child, of course.

As the years passed and we became The New England Civic Ballet dancing Virginia's original ballets, set to Beethoven's Appassionata Sonata and Grieg's Concerto, as well as the rollicking Gaite Parisienne and others, in all the major arts fairs around Boston. I grew too fast to join my age peers Nikki Emmanuel , Sally Harrington, and Robin (Dolly) Adair as Snowflakes, and danced with the "big girls" in the Parents' Dance and The Waltz of the Flowers in innumerable Nutcrackers. Sydney, bless her, put us through our paces at rehearsals for Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia, and Cinderella - after Virginia had taught us the choreography, of course. Then Virginia would arrive and put us through those paces all over again.

We learned the value of self-discipline, hard work, concentration, and working through pain at 11, 12, 13, and 14 years of age. We also learned how to read the scores of symphonies and concerti from Mr. Hobbes, how to fence from a visiting fencing master, how to dance in the flamenco mode from the visiting Spanish ballet company, and all the other lessons that Virginia presented to us when we had no idea that we were receiving a dance education without peer in those long ago days.

Even then, I was odd-woman out because I knew that academics would be my primary life, dance my secondary, but Virginia accepted that and she continued to give me her guidance and attention in spite of it. I'm not sure, but I think I may be the only one alive who can say that Virginia Williams used to choreograph my tap routines, including the one I used to audition for the Rockettes. I danced with the Rockettes the summer after graduating from college, before starting to teach English and Latin that fall. In fact, I used Sally's (Sara Leland's) apartment in New York while she toured the City Center that summer. Virginia could manage anything!

I now have a doctorate and am retired from a lifetime of teaching at the high school and college levels, but I still think of Virginia, the Boston School of Ballet, and the fledgling Boston Ballet Company as perhaps the most important formative influences of my life. By the way, my granddaughter is now eight, and she just auditioned for The Boston Ballet's Nutcracker, as did her mother before her.

Tradition ...

It has been fun reminiscing, and as an old alumna, I look forward to reading the words of the young people who followed. I wish that you all could have had the gift of Virginia.

Love to you all,

Rosemary Tipping Timoney

Oh Rosmary, that was so delightful. Do you have any photos for us? I would love to see them.

  • One of my very favorite teachers at the Boston Ballet was Miss Chellie, internationally known as Rochelle Zide. Chellie was a student of Virginia's before joining the Boston Ballet Company, and then teaching at the Boston Ballet School. There is also a set of wonderful photos of the gorgeous Rochelle Zide-Booth on this archival website. It may be the best collection on the internet of photos of the young dancer, Rochelle Zide. If you find a better collection, or any additional photos, please let me know.

  • My very very dear friend and advisor, Stephanie Marini is in a Nutcracker photo in our Nutcracker Gallery. Stephanie is a lot of fun. She and her youngest son Wyatt visited with us in Tucson during Wyatt's 2007 winter break. We all had a wonderful time.

    Stephanie taught some classes at my studio in Tucson, Arizona Ballet Theatre while she was here. She also lectured about auditioning for summer programs and gave individual pointers to each dancer and had long discussions with their parents!

  • Rhonda Lenair, a former Boston Ballet apprentice, sent this lovely email.

    "Dear Cecily:

    Compliments to you for a wonderful, heart-warming, and thoroughly uplifting website. Your vibrancy, strength, determination and whimsicalness jump through the screen! You ‘are’ creativity … not just display it.


    Rhonda Lenair"

    P.S. I had a dream about Bonnie Wyckoff Friday night: I did a search and found you … your last posting about Bonnie came up – Thank you.

    Hi Rhonda, I was delighted to read your very kind (and terrific!!!) comments about this website. Wow! You made my day. Keep writing! When will we see you in Tucson? (;-)

  • I received a wonderfully fascinating email letter containing a photo, from Pat Colgate, who writes:
  • "Hi Cecily,

    Just wanted you to know that I also am an alumnus of the Boston School of Ballet and one of the first members of the New England Civic Ballet before it became the Boston Ballet. I studied with EV for 13 years and danced many times with the company. Among the many dancers I performed and studied with at the time were:

    Eleanor D'Antonio, James (Anthony) Collins, Sally Harrington (Sara Leland). Nicolyn Emanuel, Fern and Nancy McGlarnand, Robin (Dolly) Adair, Earl Sierling (Silverman), Elaine Stouss, Dan Jazinsky, Don Peterson, Bette Ann Shimsky, Kathy Collins, Darlin Buckley, just a few that I remember.

    I've attached a photo that was taken during a ballet festival in Scranton, Pa. 1958 The ballet was Romeo and Juliet."

    Boston Ballet Alumni Network
    Ballet festival in Scranton, Pa. 1958. Romeo and Juliet

    ©Cecily's Dance Tech 2006|All Rights Reserved

    "I'll try and give you the names in the photo:

  • Center on knees Girl, Barbara Moran, Boy, Earl Silverman

  • Center back standing Girl, Nicoyn Emanuel, Boys, front James Anthony Collins, don't know who's in back of James

  • Stage right of Center, Girl, Sally Harrington, known in NYC Ballet as Sara Leland, Boy unknown

  • Stage left of Center, Girl, Bette Ann Shimsky, Boy, my brother, John Colgate

  • Stage right diagonal, front, Robyn Adair, Darlin Buckley, and me, Patty Colgate.

  • Stage left diagonal, front Elaine Stouss, Fern McGarnland (may be spelled wrong), Carol ?

  • Stage right, partners, girl, Elaine Speck,?, Eddie ?

  • Stage left partners, girl ? boy, Anthony ?
  • Downstage right, Kathy Collins
  • Downstage left, ?

  • Miss Sydney Leonard was one of my Teachers as well as EV. and Marjorie Duff in the Malden studio where Virginia called home.
    Carla Barns, her daughter, also lived with her before she married for a second time to our accompanist who's name escapes me. (Cecily adds - It was Mr. Hobbes. I'm not sure of the spelling )

    I have other pictures if you're interested.

    (Yes Pat, please send them and we will post them. Let me know how you want the copyright to be listed on your pictures. Cecily)

    I have a small company, Placer Theatre Ballet in Northen California. Just recently retired from teaching, but still director of the company.
    Please visit our website at Placer Theatre Ballet
    Hope to hear from you again soon.

    Best regards,

    Pat Colgate"

    I will post a bit more of our correspondence soon. I succeeded in posting Pat's fabulous photo in the Boston Ballet Photo Gallery on this website. Right now I have to figure out how to get a copy to appear here. Please bear with me... Success!!

    Hi Pat, I once again visited your website today (Jan 7th, 2008) (click above). It is really beautiful, and very interesting. Hope to hear from you soon.


  • Paul Plesh has written a comment

    "To all of my friends at BB" "Hello all, Paul Plesh here (BB 1978-89)

    What a surprise to see this site. I had no idea it was available.

    I have relocated to Philadelpia in April 06 and transfered to our location here in King of Prussia/Neiman Marcus. I have just purchased a condo in center city so am a city boy again LOL.

    If any of you remember my daughter Erin, she is all grown up and was married this past December. Hope to hear from you all. C:215-421-2262 or""

    All my best wishes are always fond memories,


  • As you probably noticed, BBAN now has its own website. Since my website is no longer connected with this one, here is a link to mine. Arizona Ballet Theatre