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Curtain up.

My letter to you this month is about watching dancers grow into full-fledged artists. When you've been around long enough, you get to say, "I saw him (or her) back when ..." and then beam about how wonderful it is to see their development. In this issue, I can say that about four people.

In the mid 1960s, when I was taking the Advanced Teenage class at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance, there was one boy in our class: Christian Holder. He didn't have a virtuosic technique at the time but he had something better: an interesting presence. He later became a cherished dancer at the Joffrey Ballet, performing iconic roles during the 1960s and '70s. This month has some nostalgia value for Christian and for Joffrey (as well as Ashton) lovers: He is guesting with the Joffrey when they unveil their production of Ashton's Cinderella in Chicago. Read his eloquent account of his years with the Joffrey in "Glory Days" on page 66.

In the late 1980s I performed on a shared bill with Ohad Naharin at Dance Theater Workshop. I remember a solo of his that had an alternating rhythm of dancing and stillness that influenced me to make a solo with a similar structure. Later I saw a haunting group work he made that won a Bessie Award. Now that he is artistic director of the Batsheva Dance Company, and his works are in the reps of many other companies, the world knows what a treasure he is. When Ohad was in New York this summer, I had a chance to interview him about his work and his world view (see "Truth in Movement," page 50).

In 1989 when Charlotte d'Amboise appeared in Jerome Robbins Broadway, many of us noticed that Jacques' daughter was a smashing dancer and singer. She hit it again in Contact, in Chicago, in Sweet Charity. Sylviane Gold's "The Gypsy in Them" tells us, among other things, how Charlotte will get to shine even brighter in the first Broadway revival of A Chorus Line.

The latest "I-saw-her-when" is Misa Kuranaga. Three years ago at the School of American Ballet's spring workshop, she had such a lovely naturalness and fluidity that I singled her out of tire crowd. Now she is a soloist at Boston Ballet and was named a Dance Magazine "25 to Watch" in January. When I went to the USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi, this summer--see "Dance Matters," page 20--I was happy to see her dance again, and thrilled to see her win the women's gold.

It has been a special pleasure to see these dance artists blossom over time--and to share them with you in these pages.
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Author:Perron, Wendy
Publication:Dance Magazine
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Oct 1, 2006
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