Remembering Liliane Montevecchi
Originally from Paris, Liliane Montevecchi danced for Roland Petit as a young ballet dancer. In the 1950's she signed with MGM studios. Her credits with them include Daddy Long Legs and King Creole (starring Elvis Presley.) In 1958 she performed in the Broadway musical revue La Plume de Ma Tante. She went on to star in the famous Les Folies Bergeres. She was spectacular in the show with her gorgeous body, Italian passion and French glamour.
Liliane was also an elegant, classy and dynamic actress. She looked like a cover girl, and possessed the lean, long physique of a ballerina her entire life. She was on a carefully planned schedule with her eating, always aware that she had to fit into those revealing costumes. When it came to wearing the designers' pieces, she was in a class of her own. Her mother designed for French royalty, and it showed. Liliane recalls in an interview that she never saw her mother look bad. She was raised to be conscious of the image she presented to the public, and it paid off in her extensive career.
At age fifty, Liliane won her first Tony award in 1982 performing in Nine, for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. The award-winning show was directed by Tommy Tune. They had a special connection. He knew how to use her, and she excelled and achieved Broadway stardom in his work. Later in her career she starred again for Tune in the Broadway hit Grand Hotel. Although he made changes to her character very close to the opening of the show, she followed his direction and applied it with meticulous discipline.
She was known by her friends and fellow cast members for her vibrant energy, happiness and discipline. Cast members of Grand Hotel fondly remember her warming up for the show each night with a ballet barre, accompanied by her music on a small tape recorder.
She died of colon cancer on June 29th in her home in New York. She was 85. She had continued to perform her nightclub act until the age of 83. Steven Minichiello hosted a special memorial for the beloved star at Gothan Hall.
The cast of Grand Hotel remember Liliane
On July 9th , the entire cast of the Broadway hit, Grand Hotel, stood in a circle led by Tommy Tune in front of the theater. Liliane's name was written on the ground in pink chalk by Tune with a pink heart circled around it. Each performance had started that way, with the cast saying a prayer together in a circle. Liliane exited New York the same way, reunited with friends, performers and loved ones.
Back in 2011 when Joe Lanteri first approached Katie Langan, chair of Marymount Manhattan College's dance department, about getting involved with New York City Dance Alliance, she was skeptical about the convention/competition world.
"But I was pleasantly surprised by the enormity of talent that was there," she says. "His goal was to start scholarship opportunities, and I said okay, I'm in."
Today, it's fair to say that Lanteri has far surpassed his goal of creating scholarship opportunities. But NYCDA has done so much more, bridging the gap between the convention world and the professional world by forging a wealth of partnerships with dance institutions from Marymount to The Ailey School to Complexions Contemporary Ballet and many more. There's a reason these companies and schools—some of whom otherwise may not see themselves as aligned with the convention/competition world—keep deepening their relationships with NYCDA.
Now, college scholarships are just one of many ways NYCDA has gone beyond the typical weekend-long convention experience and created life-changing opportunities for students. We rounded up some of the most notable ones:
We knew that Ivo van Hove and Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker's production of West Side Story would challenge our preconceived notions about the show.
But a recent Vogue story gives us a taste of just how nontraditional the Broadway revival will be. Most notably, van Hove is cutting "I Feel Pretty" and the "Somewhere" ballet, condensing the show into one act to better reflect the urgency of the 48-hour plot. (The choice has been approved by the West Side Story estate, including Sondheim, who has "long been uncomfortable" with some of the "I Feel Pretty" lyrics.)
"The show must go on" may be a platitude we use to get through everything from costume malfunctions to stormy moods. But when it came to overcoming a literal hurricane, Houston Ballet was buoyed by this mantra to go from devastated to dancing in a matter of weeks—with the help of Harlequin Floors, Houston Ballet's longstanding partner who sprang into action to build new floors in record time.