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Jenny Dalzell on Thursday, Aug 15, 2013
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In every issue, DM tucks in a little gem from our past, bringing you a snapshot of where we've been and what we've covered since our beginnings in 1927. Check out this month's "From the Vault" on page 75, in which we dug up this cover (above) from 60 years ago. Recognize her? It's none other than Cynthia Gregory—at age 7. Who knew then that 12 years later she would join American Ballet Theatre, and this was to be the first of many Dance Magazine covers? In fact, Gregory has graced our cover seven times. (Compare this to Nureyev's 11 covers and Baryshnikov's 14!) Here are a few of our favorites:
The November 1967 cover, photo by Judy Cameron. The note in the table of contents reads, "In her three years with American Ballet Theatre, Cynthia Gregory has risen from corps member to principal dancer—the title of "principal" having been bestowed upon her just this season and prior to the company's Nov. 28–Dec. 10 season at City Center...The authority of Miss Gregory's style—a rare attribute in a dancer only barely into her twenties—has been recognized and much praised...Miss Gregory started out in small roles with ABT, progressed to Effie in "La Sylphide," and the ballerina in "Theme and Variations," and finally this past spring danced a remarkable Odette-Odile in "Swan Lake."
(Also in this issue: An excerpt from Tanaquil LeClercq's "Ballet Cook Book," published that October. It includes her recipes for guacamole, mushroom broth, swordfish tarragon, chicken breast vermouth, and celery root soufflé. See? Gems)
When Gregory was presented with a Dance Magazine Award in 1975, this portrait by Bil Leidersdorf ran on the April cover. In the issue, Gregory talks about her career, her training, her idols, and her future. Here's a snippet about her signature ballet, Swan Lake: "You go dry in a role unless you make the image fresh again. I could have gone on doing Swan Lake until it was as set as a film—'Cynthia Gregory's Swan Queen.' But I would have died of boredom and I would have bored the audience to death, too. So I looked at all the Swans I could find, to see how other ballerinas were creating their images of Odette-Odile. Then I tried to incorporate all the different images into a new image for myself."
She continues: "In Swan Lake you have a choice: Swan or Woman. To me, Natasha [Makarova] is the perfect Swan. I think of myself more as the Woman, and I bring my own femininity to the role, and try to incorporate the enchanted swan into it."
Here's Gregory on DM's December 1976 cover, photo by Jack Mitchell. (I couldn't help but pair it with her first.) The 1976 issue celebrates Gregory's return to ABT; she had taken a yearlong hiatus, returning for ABT's 1976 season at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. that month. In "Cynthia Gregory Returns," writer Lois Draegin speaks with Gregory, who says, "So that's all I really did—stop for a while, take a rest, get a new perspective on what I was doing. And that's why now I feel like I'm fresh and ready to go again."
With beloved partner Fernando Bujones, September 1984; and alone, June 1991. (Both photos by Jack Mitchell.) On June 12, 1991, Gregory made her final appearance with ABT, though she knew she wasn't leaving ballet completely. Today, Gregory is the artistic coach for Nevada Ballet Theatre, where she coaches professional and pre-professional dancers.
Though she wasn't on the cover in 1988, the September issue of Dance Magazine introduced Gregory in a new role—a mom! Her first son, Lloyd Gregory Miller, was born the previous autumn. Aww. (Photo by Jack Mitchell for DM.)