Howard Sayette will be here again this week completing his staging of “Les Biches” and he will be joined by ballet legend Georgina Parkinson. As Adam Sklute explained to us last week Parkinson was the original ‘Page’ for the Royal Ballet revival of “Les Biches” when Nijinska staged it. Adam said that Georgina was a muse for Nijinska and he is very happy to be able to bring her here to pass on her knowledge to us.
Georgina Parkinson was born in Brighton, England and studied at The Royal Ballet School before being taken into the company in 1955. She became a soloist in 1959 and was then promoted to principal dancer. She first came to prominence when she created the title role in Andrée Howard’s “La Belle Dame Sans Merci” and with her performances as the Gypsy Girl in “The Two Pigeons” and the Wife in Kenneth MacMillan’s “The Invitation.”
Known for her strong classical technique and great dramatic abilities, Parkinson has been particularly noted for her performances as the leading woman in The Song of the Earth, the Girl in Blue in Bronislava Nijinska’s “Les Biches”, as well as Juliet in MacMillan’s “Romeo and Juliet”, and Odette Odile in “Swan Lake.” Her other roles included Lady Capulet in “Romeo and Juliet”, the Wife in Jerome Robbins’ “The Concert,” the Tsarina in MacMillan’s “Anastasia” and Raymonda in “Raymonda, Act III.”
Parkinson has created several roles in her career including Rosaline in MacMillan’s “Romeo and Juliet,” Winifred Norbury in Sir Frederick Ashton’s “Enigma Variations”, the second movement in “Monotones” and Chloë in John Cranko’s production of “Daphnis and Chloë” with the Stuttgart Ballet, partnered by Erik Bruhn as Daphnis. Her last created role was the Empress Elisabeth in MacMillan’s “Mayerling,” marking the end of her career with The Royal Ballet.
Parkinson was appointed Ballet Mistress with American Ballet Theatre in 1978. In addition to her duties as Ballet Mistress, she performs the roles of Anna Vyrubova in “Anastasia,” the Fairy Godmother in “Cinderella,” the Stepmother in “Fall River Legend,” Madame in “Manon,” Madame Larina in “Onegin,” the Countess Sybelle in “Raymonda”, Lady Capulet in “Romeo and Juliet,” the Queen in “The Sleeping Beauty” and the Queen Mother in “Swan Lake.” She created the role of Mrs. Harriman in Twyla Tharp’s “Everlast” and a leading role in Robert Hill’s “Reverie.”
Also this week Steven Woodgate who is formerly a dancer with the Australian Ballet and currently Ballet Master for Houston Ballet will begin staging Stanton Welche’s “Madame Butterfly”.
Australian Steven Woodgate joined the artistic staff of Houston Ballet as Ballet Master in January 2004. In 1985, he graduated from The Australian Ballet School. He performed with The Australian Ballet progressing through the ranks to senior artist in 1996. In 1988, Mr. Woodgate was presented with the Victorian Green Room Award for best male dancer for his role as Bim in Gaîté Parisienne. He represented Australia in the International Ballet Competition in Moscow in 1989, where he was awarded the Moscow Music Magazine Award. In 2000, he was awarded The Churchill Fellowship, which enabled him to observe many ballet masters from around the world and study their various teaching methods. As well as performing, Mr. Woodgate has taught both student and professional classes around the world. Mr. Woodgate reproduced Stanton Welch’s Madame Butterfly for the Singapore Dance Theater, The Royal New Zealand Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, and Atlanta Ballet.
I’ll try to get studio shots for you!