Edward Villella in Conversation

The Paley Center for Media, 25 West 52 Street, New York City
Monday, March 11, 2013

The Paley Center was a new venue for me. The building is modern with an impressive entrance and lobby. The auditorium was down two floors, a charming, well-designed small theatrc for presenting events such as this.

The bus I use to take me across the Hudson River normally takes at most 45 minutes, but this time there was a disabled car in tunnel as well as some kind of trouble at the New York exit, so the trip was twice the time. I missed the first twenty minutes of the program, and I am sorry.

Edward Villella is one of my heros because he had confirmed to me that any dance technique can move the viewer if the dancer will “open his skin and let the motion out.” I was not disenchanted.

Villella sat on stage with his daughter Crista as his “straight” man. The format for the evening was simple: Villella introduced the upcoming filmed dance exerpt in conversation with Crista, noting the guidance Balanchine had given and other incidents pertinent to what we were about to see. The film was followed by a question-and-anwer session with the audience. There were fourteen films in the presentation, of which I missed the first three. I had a great evening of dance viewing in conjuction with anecdotal and insightful tales of his relationship with Balenchine, his retirement, his founding of the Miami Ballet, his work with Twyla Tharp, and finally, dancing on television in “The Odd Couple.”
—Ruth Grauert, March 12, 2013