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Gay History: Seattle ballet - The Russians are coming!
Gay History: Seattle ballet - The Russians are coming!
by Don Paulson - SGN Contributing Writer Ballet blossomed in the Italian Renaissance, which inspired the rest of the world to the breathtaking performances of today. Karin Irwin created the dance department at Seattle's Cornish School of Arts and taught for years many a Gay brother and sister on the road to ballet excellence and fame. Other smaller ballet schools existed in Seattle where Gay students studied. The question always comes up, and the answer is: Generally one-half of male students are Gay, according to one professional dancer, and the women are mostly straight. In 1956, the Russian Bolshoi Ballet shocked a more classical ballet venue with their intensely dramatic and technical virtuosity.

The Bolshoi had an enormous energizing impact on world ballet. When Rudolph Nureyev graced (and sexualized) the Seattle stage, 10,000 Seattle Queers left the church forever and began writing poetry! Rudy's enormous popularity, good looks, and astonishing charisma placed in motion what star-struck ballet students called "Rudy Envy.' A reputable Seattle art dealer attended a party for Nureyev after his 1960 Seattle performance and said, 'He smelled of the sweat of performance.' Professional dancer, Mark, comments; 'Only football is more physically grueling than ballet, and then there is the stress factor of being replaced because of lack of talent or injury. To be a ballet star requires enormous energy for body maintenance, preparing for performance and proper protection of limbs and feet which can lead to serious injuries - all for the illusion of making it look easy, flowing, clouds, softness, concept. But Nureyev was lucky to have the right body, amazing discipline, and good looks, but from the second balcony, looks don't mean a thing. It's not about glamour, form is what matters.'

Daryl Stipek (pictured here), a spectacular student of Karin Irwin, went back to New York to dance with a New York ballet company. He was one of the lucky ones because there were not enough ballet companies to absorb all the aspiring students. Everything about Daryl was beautiful. He was much in-demand for his expertise and his strength and ability to lift the heavier ballerinas. He was propositioned by Nureyev, but turned him down because 'He can't have everyone he wants, and I was curious to feel what it's like to refuse the advances of world-famous celebrity.' Later, he regretted his decision. The virus took them both out.
 

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