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Here Is Why New York City Ballet Dancers Change Their Names

By Kumar Rahul (KR) on Feb 08, 2017 09:08 AM EST

The New York City Ballet is one of the finest dance companies and the enrolled students have to go through a number of transitions in attitude, aptitude and appearance. In some cases, they also have to go through a change in their names.

According to Brooklyn Daily Eagle, this list of New York City Ballet dancers includes stalwarts like Melissa Hayden who was born Mildred Herman, Allegra Kent from Iris Margo Cohen, Suzanne Farell - Roberta Sue Ficker, Violette Verdy - Nelly Guillerm, Merill Ashley - Linda Michelle Merill, Lynn Seymour - Berta Lynn Springbelt, Ninette de Valois - Edris Stannus, Alicia Markova - Lilian Alice Marks and many more. Not only female but also male dancers, who have graced the stage of the New York City Ballet had their names changed. Distinctive examples are David Lichine - Deivid Lichtenstein and Jaques D' Ambrose - Joseph Jacque Ahearn, Anthony Tudor - William Cook and Anton Dolin - Sydney Patrick Francis Chippendall Healy- Kay as the most memorable.

In the words of renowned dance critic Joan Acocella, one of the prime reasons for the names of so many dancers being changed in the New York City Ballet is "exoticism". Names of New York City Ballet dancers like Allegra Kent, Violette Verdy or Melissa Hayden are believed to represent the charm that is missing from Margo Cohen, Nelly Guillerm or Mildred Herman. Another reason stated is the pride the names on the stage of the New York City Ballet held after the end of the Second World War. The third and probably the most important reason is for the ease of spelling. Even the founder of the New York City Ballet, the great George Ballanchine had his name changed from Georgian Balanchivadze for this reason.

As Joan Acocella depicts, the parents these days are much more concerned about their children's career and whoever want their little ones to become dancers at the New York City Ballet, already Christens them with matching names at birth. The names of the current generation of dancers at the New York City Ballet like Ashley Laracey, Savannah Lowery, Unity Phelan, Tiler Peck, Indiana Woodward point at the fact being true.

According to CBS News, one of the greats of the New York City Ballet, Suzanne Farrell, was born Roberta Sue Ficker and later on in her college days she was given the nickname "Bobby". She loved dancing but was never much interested in ballet dancing. It was her mother who knew she possessed a gift and took her to the New York City Ballet. Regarding her name change, she looked into the Manhattan phone directory and found the ring of the name "Farrell" very charming. Thus, came into being the name of one of the greatest ballerinas of the New York City ballet.

The New York City Ballet always looks for passion and perfection in its members. The name changes indicate it is much more to be a dancer here than just dancing. It also depicts the hunger among the New York City Ballet dancers to glamorize and market themselves.  

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TagsNew York City Ballet, Dance, Melissa Hayden, George Ballanchine, Suzanne Farrell

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