Document(s): Patricia Ruanne: A Conversation With a Ballet Répétiteur

“Patricia Ruanne: A Conversation With a Ballet Répétiteur” is from the Document(s) series, a library of commentary on people and issues in the dance field. This repository of essays includes interviews by writers and thinkers on dance, as well as “dance discursions,” which offer opportunities for reflection on the field of dance commissioned by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

For the dancer, learning a role is more than simply memorizing a series of steps, particularly in the realm of ballet where dances are frequently restaged long after the choreographer has died. Individual coaching and mentoring is essential to the interpretation of a role. Ballet répétiteurs work one-on-one with dance artists to articulate and find the essence of a character or particular portrayal that becomes distinctive to their physicality. This article, along with “Georgina Parkinson: A Dancer in Her Time / Making the Blueprint” and “Julie Lincoln, Répétiteur: Inhabiting the Bodies of Others,” offers a glimpse into the life of an influential woman who inhabited this role.

This interview took place on March 2, 2001, at the Palais Garnier in Paris, where Ruanne was engaged with the restaging of Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon for the Paris Opera Ballet.

From the interview:

“Patricia Ruanne is concerned with the abiding aesthetic and ethical values that constitute ballet as an art form. In this world, artistic values are informed by aesthetics as well as ethics. Her impressive record as a dance artist—as performer, coach, ballet mistress, répétiteur—has yielded a remarkable career. Ruanne’s articulate assessment of the European ballet scene is framed by her early years spent in the Royal Ballet schools and companies, the 1960s through the early 1980s—a period marked by prolific creativity and strong performing personalities—as well as by her long and formative working association with Rudolf Nureyev.”

Download the interview (PDF) >

Red-Eye to Havre de Grace, created by Thaddeus Phillips with support from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, is reviewed in the New York Times.

Tradition – An Evolving Continuum, led by composer and director Kiranavali Vidyasankar and presented by Sruti, is a pioneering effort to bring together prominent Carnatic musicians residing in the United States to form a unique vocal-instrumental ensemble, highlighting the rich history of Carnatic music and its continued evolution.

Grants & Grantees

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Collaborators & Colleagues

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Choreographer and Pew Fellow Merián Soto on legacy, her interest in the body and its relationship to consciousness, and more.

Kimmika L.H. Williams-Witherspoon is a theater artist and a 2000 Pew Fellow.

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Collaborators & Colleagues

Christopher Mekal specializes in strategic planning and implementation, nonprofit organizational development, and financial management.

Grants & Grantees

Robert Smythe is a theater artist and a 2006 Pew Fellow.

The Institute on Disabilities at Temple University presents theater artists Suli Holum and David Bradley’s play A Fierce Kind of Love at Ursinus College.

In August 2011, the Philadelphia Inquirer hailed Opera Philadelphia’s transformation as a “haven for new opera.”

Grants & Grantees

Known for innovation, creativity, and preservation of African-American traditions in dance, Philadanco has been dancing in the Philadelphia community since 1970.