The excitement of my Boston Ballet experience, which, taken as a whole, seems almost unbelievable.

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We Love The Waltz of The Snowflakes, and Surprises!
Twirling Snowflake A New Polaroid Photo of Boston Ballet's Nutcracker 1969 or 1970 Twirling Snowflake
"Waltz Of The Snowflakes," A Performance of The Boston Ballet Company's Nutcracker in 1969 or 1970
Second Row, L. to R.: 1. Debby Bryan; 2. Nina Bator; 3. Stephanie Moy; 4. Reva Wildorf 5. Stephanie Marini
Front Row, Left to Right: 1. Edra Toth standing; 2. Cecily Travsky; 3. Ellen O'Reilly; 4. Kathy Murphy 5. Bonnie Wycoff; 6. Veronica Fell

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Does anyone know of any older color photos of BB performances?
Or of any other company for that matter?
There must be some. This cannot be the first. Or is it?
Single Snowflake Dancing "What Will We Do Today?" "We'll Reminisce About Our Boston Ballet" (;-)

I am going into my personal time machine to travel back to the last half of an exciting dance decade - the Groovy 1960s. I have been reminiscing about my experience as a young, eager ballet dancer who was lucky enough to dance my way into The Boston Ballet School and Company under the direction of that great New England Grande Dame, E. Virginia Williams. I have tried to convey the excitement of the whole experience, which when taken as a whole, seems almost unbelievable. I feel very lucky to have had such an unusual artistic education in a very happening place during an unforgettable period of time. Boston was, is, and should always remain, quite "The Place" to get an education in many fields, as most everyone who cares about quality is well aware. If you have never visited Boston, put it on your Bucket List. Boston is amazing in oh so many ways...

In fact, as it appeared to my teenage eyes, not just Boston but the whole world was experiencing a pop culture boom; ballet was blazing into people's consciousnesses, propelled in large part by the defection of Rudolf Nureyev in 1961. This is the stuff of which spy thrillers are made. Suspense. Drama. Glamour. Talent. Audacity. Try to imagine, if you will, an incredible intensity and optimism about the thing you care most about in all the world. For me, that "thing" was Ballet.

Imagine the headlines -

Great Soviet Artiste defects in a French airport, refusing to go home to the country and Parents he actually adores because of fears that "they" - the political authorities - will not ever let him leave again. In search of "Artistic Freedom," Nureyev captures the attention of the whole world. He is sensational. Everyone wants to see him. Everyone is excited about ballet. Keep in mind that pop culture in every area was in full-explosion mode with the Beatles and the entire British Invasion in music, and graphic artists like Andy Warhol and Peter Max practically inventing pop culture. We had Twiggy, Mary Quant, and the Maharishi Mahesh Yoga. We had Lennon and McCartney. Simon and Garfunkel. Nureyev and Fonteyn. Balanchine and Suzanne Farrell. Bobby Blankshine in Clowns. Just to name a few that mattered to me...Powerful images were everywhere I looked. Good and Bad. The excitement was palpable. Everyone who was breathing wanted to create and participate. Exploration was encouraged in every area. if it was too much, you could drop out, join a commune, grow your hair.

Leading the charge in Massachusetts as far as the Wonderful World that is Ballet, there was E. Virginia Williams, teaching daily in at least one of three possible locations, Boston, Malden and/or Stoneham - planning performances, inviting guest stars, hiring choreographers and stepping back from that herself even though she had some true choreographic chops. I can only imagine the many leads she was pursuing in her truly mysterious way while I was obsessing about my turn out, hoping to become as flexible as Bonnie and as strong as Linda DiBona.

So in all this excitement, what were E. Virginia's ballet classes actually like?

They were short, first of all - scheduled for an hour only. No hour and half classes that I recall at all. Everyone was there from Carol Ravitch to Laurie Young. The barre work was very repetitive and to the proverbial pointe. Probably about twenty minutes long. Is that even possible? The center moved. That was where the action was. Miss Williams packed in a short adagio usually involving a developpe croisse and a promenade in first arabasque. We did quite a bit of petite allegro. Short combinations with lots of beats. Then, to the corner where we drilled like construction workers (haha). Always pique turns, always chainees, usually a waltz turn combination, always a Big Jump - saut de chat or grande jete. Move. Move. Move. Dance. Jump. Fly. Pointe your feet. Stretch your legs. Push off the floor. More.

Every weekday afternoon Boston School of Ballet held a four o'clock class followed with barely a breath in between by a five o'clock class (usually at least ten minutes late); most dancers took both.

I hope I have captured some of the flavor. The classes were absolutely addictive; I was never bored for one short second.

That's it for today's installment. Thank you for reading it.

This is Cecily, Thinking Back in Time with a Smile, a Wink, and a Nod