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Elliot Norton Reviews; Boston Ballet 1980-81


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Elliot Norton Reviews
Boston Ballet 1980-81
Series Description

Boston theatre critic Elliot Norton interviews prominent actors, directors and producers on their craft. (Aired from October, 1958 to 1982. Winner of both Peabody and Tony Awards.) Series release date: 1958

Program Description

Elliot Norton interviews E. Virginia Williams and Violette Verdy, Artistic Co-Directors of the Boston Ballet. They discuss the move to the newly reconstructed Metropolitan Center as a new beginning for the ballet company, which will open with “The Nutcracker” on December 11, 1980. They talk about their upcoming season, which will include their first full length production of “Swan Lake” in March. Williams has been with the Boston Ballet for 16 years and she speaks about how her dream of creating a major dance company in the U.S. outside of New York has come true. Verdy, a distinguished ballerina and former director of the Paris Opera Ballet, joined forces with Williams in 1980.

They discuss the difficulty of recruiting boys for the ballet school in the U.S., which is not a problem in France. Verdy mentions Edward Villella, who dances for the New York City Ballet, as a good example of someone whose performances have helped bring more boys into the theater. Williams mentions that since ballet has been televised, people can see how difficult it is and more boys have been inspired to take part. They talk about how great choreographers are difficult to come by. Verdy even refers to them as “unicorns”. Williams talks about the need to recruit dancers from all over the world for their company, because there are simply not enough dancers in one city.

They speak about the government’s growing acceptance of ballet as something to fund, as a result of Jacqueline Kennedy’s influence and President Ronald Reagan’s son as a ballet dancer. The Massachusetts Council of the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities have all begun funding ballet. They talk about the difference between France and the U.S. in funding ballet. Verdy claims that the quality of performance has been compromised in France because dancers expect to get paid and maintain their jobs regardless of quality. In the US, dancers have to fight to keep their jobs, so the performance quality remains high.

Director: Joanna Lu. Taped 11/25/1980.

Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Talk Show
Performing Arts
Chicago: “Elliot Norton Reviews; Boston Ballet 1980-81,” 11/25/1980, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed December 17, 2018, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_CB72A8C8B8F34EFCAEC9A359FA65F9F5.
MLA: “Elliot Norton Reviews; Boston Ballet 1980-81.” 11/25/1980. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. December 17, 2018. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_CB72A8C8B8F34EFCAEC9A359FA65F9F5>.
APA: Elliot Norton Reviews; Boston Ballet 1980-81. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_CB72A8C8B8F34EFCAEC9A359FA65F9F5
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