Gregory is now 65, but still working continuously in the dance world. She moved to Las Vegas in 2009, and in the fall of 2010, she became artistic adviser to the Nevada Ballet Theatre and director of the Cynthia Gregory Center for Coaching. Here is part of the recent interview she gave to the SF Chronicle:
Q: You’re nearly 65 now. Do you still work out at the barre?
A: I do a barre now and then. I stretch. I like to feel the posture and the port de bras, the arms.
Q: Why ballet? When did you start?
A: I was 5. My mother came from a very musical family. Her oldest brother was a composer. Her father was an organist. She used to ballroom-dance with my dad at the Santa Monica Pier. When I was very young, I got a lot of colds, and the doctor told her that I needed exercise. So my mother took me to ballet and ice skating.
Q: Lots of little girls go to ballet school. Who started you thinking that it could be a career?
A: I credit Jacques d’Amboise. He was performing with the New York City Ballet at the Greek Theatre in L.A., and he was a teacher-guest at my ballet school in Santa Monica. I was 13. He told me and my girlfriend, “You girls are fabulous,” and invited us to take a class with the company because “Mr. Balanchine will be teaching.”
Balanchine came up to us and said, “I like your dancing – come to New York.” We told him we’d ask our mothers and mine said, “Absolutely not. You can’t go to New York by yourself.” Then when the San Francisco Ballet was in Los Angeles, Lew (Christensen, the founder of the Ballet) invited us to take a class at the Figueroa Hotel. He said to come to study in San Francisco. I was my parents’ only child, but this time, they sold their business and their house, and I went to San Francisco on a Ford Foundation grant.
Q: Is there a difference between coaching and teaching?
A: Coaching is what I do best. People would ask me to help them with a role when I stopped dancing. They’d commission me to do that. Teaching has to do with the basics of class and technique. I’m much more interested in helping a ‘finished’ dancer when they’re looking at a role … it’s like finding your voice.
read all the interview via Ballerina Cynthia Gregory now keeps others on toes.
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