The unsigned editorial from the performance program notes.
“It seems extraordinary now, when every town has a ballet school and every little girl has a tutu in her dress-up drawer, that there was a time when ballet was largely unknown in America.”
Early in her beautiful book, Victoria Tennant makes this observation in a section that recounts her mother’s teenage journey as a Russian artist touring in America.
Then, toward the end of the book, packaged alongside a picture of an aged-but-still-stunning Baronova posing with a tutu-and-tiara-clad young girl, comes these words from Baronova herself.
“It gives me, personally, a lot of satisfaction to feel that my work helped introduce audiences to ballet and made them like it. So, there is a piece of me in all the companies that have since sprung up. The work was not in vain. I achieved something, not just for myself, but for the Art that I love and for the future generations of youngsters coming after me.”
Victoria’s book is not only a loving testament to the life of an artist, a daughter’s tribute to the mother who inspired her, but an incredibly important record of an essential evolution in the art of performance, documenting a significant time period in the history of dance in this country and abroad.
She’s an exceptional storyteller. And tonight, we have the extreme pleasure of welcoming her to the stage to share her stories with us.
Victoria will immerse us in her mother’s journey and her own journey of discovery as she embarked upon the creation of this book, mining a treasure trove of images, stories and memories carefully preserved and left behind by her famous mother.
Many programs on our season this year explore this notion of the art of archive, the potency and beauty there is to be found in the words and images from the past.
The story behind the story, Victoria’s tale, is as powerful as the story of her mother’s incredible life and work.
We’re very proud to have her with us, to share personal and vivid memories of a woman beloved by the public, and to remind us of the great spirit, tenacity, generosity and lasting influence of an artist who came before.
Welcome, and thank you for being here with us.