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March 27, 2014


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I remember Danilo at ABT. He was married, i think, to Chrisa Keramidas at that time. I wonder ,what happened to her? She danced the sleepwalker role in ABT's premiere of La Sonanbula.

I remember that, too, Jose. Don't know what became of her - other than she returned to Australia at some point.

Good evening, Haglund.

I have just returned home after an evening at the Australian Ballet and it was good that I could not pass up a chance to write a post about it.

Last week I saw one of the Manon performances with Lucinda Dunn partnered by Adam Bull. It was first class.

This evening's performance was, however, something really special. The Australian Ballet has brought out for two performances, of which tonight's was the first, Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg. I knew both by name and repute, but had never previously seen them dance.

They were both simply outstanding, even though they are not well matched in height, he being, at least as seen from my seat in the fourth row of the stalls, a tad shorter than she is. (Mr Bull, by way of contrast, stands at 6'4" and it made a great difference for the better to his partnering).

That said, what magnificent teamwork, especially in those dazzling spin-and-throw turns in the final pas de deux.

Splendid though Mr Kobborg was, it was Miss Cojocaru who made the performance for me. She was like an animated piece of fine Meissen china: beautiful, elegant, poised and stylish. She had some very difficult steps and passages, and she threw them off with a mesmerising combination of technique and panache. Her acting was of a piece. To see these two superb artists as our guests here in Sydney was a wonderful Easter present.

The performance overall seemed to me to have an extra polish that I thought was almost certainly due to the example and encouragement of the guest principals.

Sadly, I shall miss the Brisbane ABT performances, but I hope to catch them again in New York during October/November.

I am so pleased to find that your column is still flourishing.

A happy Easter to you.

Mr S.

"When Chequerboard first met Chrissa Keramidas she was about to embark on her first solo role. That was the start of a career which gave her many more solo roles. Eventually she decided it was time to leave Australia for foreign shores. She wanted to know how good she really was and felt that the only way to tell was to test herself on the world stage.

"She was away a very short time before she landed a "dream" job with the prestigious New York Ballet Theatre. She now looks back on those years as the richest period of her dancing career. Over the ten years she spent in New York she danced with some of ballet's greatest including Mikhail Baryshnikov.

"Whilst in New York she married a fellow Australian, a dancer called Danilo Radojevic. After 8 years of marriage their lives took different paths and Chrissa eventually returned to Australia alone. She joined the Sydney Dance Company but quickly decided that it wasn't for her since she was really a classical dancer at heart. Also, after years of dedication to her art, Chrissa was worn out. She knew it was time to hang up her pointe shoes and try something else.

"Initially she loved the sense of freedom life without the ballet gave her - no rehearsals, no classes, no performances. But the freedom also had its down side. She found she no longer knew who she was since all she knew was her life as a ballet dancer. Returning to New York didn't help. She found the world she left had changed. She was no longer part of the ballet world and didn't move in the same social circles. It was all a great shock and she became very depressed.

"Chrissa returned to Australia and over time began to feel better about herself. She worked in various occupations and finally found happiness working in the cosmetic industry which she says is easy work with lovely people.

"Although Chrissa stated in the original Chequerboard program that she wasn't happy when she wasn't dancing she is now content with her life, both past and present. She has proved she could make it on the world stage and is proud of her achievements. Even though she didn't have the children and family life that most good Greek girls do, she doesn't really have any regrets. Life dealt her many wonderful experiences."

from the Australian ABC website (http://www.abc.net.au/documentaries/chequerboard/episode5.htm) - the show was broadcast in late 1999-early 2000. In 1994 she was associate AD at West Australian Ballet (then-AD Barry Moreland.

Incidentally, please please go and see Xiomara Reyes' Manon on 4 or 6 June as her partner will be one of my favourite Australian Ballet principals, Kevin Jackson - his des Grieux in Melbourne a month ago had me in tears in the port and floods in the swamp!

Mr. S. --

Thank you for the report. You may have just seen one of Cojocaru and Kobborg's last performances of Manon together. It sounds like it was quite thrilling and magical.


Thanks for bringing us up-to-date with Chrissa Keramidas.

It sounds like Australia has been going bonkers over MacMillan's Manon lately - well, don't we all? Thanks for the Jackson alert.


My first Manon was in July 1974, with Merle Park and Rudolf Nureyev, Desmond Kelly as Lescaut and Lesley Collier as his Mistress, and Derek Rencher as Monsieur GM. Wayne Sleep was the beggar chief, and Gerd Larsen Madame. So this is my 40th anniversary year, and TAB gave me the present of seeing it again - and Lucinda Dunn's debut in the role. I shall be attending Tuesday night's Kobborg/Cojocaru performance, also Wednesday night's Final Appearance By My Favourite Aurora Ever aka Lucinda Dunn. Mayhap a report shall be written ;)

Wow, Anna, you've been to the swamp with some great ones!

Bear in mind that Tuesday night's performance could possibly be the last time that those two artists dance Manon together.

I know, and I'm beyond excited at two such fantastic Manons to end the season. I have packed a jumbo size box of tissues :)

The last time I saw Manon here (2008?) was with Leanne Benjamin, so I do think I've been very lucky.

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