Wednesday, October 1st, 2008 - Beautiful Reminiscences by Rosemary Tipping Timoney - Including What We Learned at Boston Ballet

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Good Afternoon 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

To: cecily@bostonballet.net

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