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News, 11-18: Only the Good Die Young
National Ballet of Canada, "Movin' Out" Star Marrie Killed in Crash
"They say there's a
Heaven for those who wait
Some say it's better but I say it ain't
I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints
The sinners are much more fun
You know that only the good die young
I tell ya only the good die young
Only the good die young."
By Paul Ben-Itzak
with Shena Wilson in Toronto
and Susan Yung in New York
NEW YORK and TORONTO
-- Earlier this fall, National Ballet of Canada dancers taking over
the role of Katchei the Deathless in James Kudelka's "The Firebird"
cursed William Marrie in jest as they struggled over the steps he'd
found so easy when he created the role two years ago. Saturday night
at the Hummingbird Centre, where the audience issued a collective
gasp when artistic director Kudelka took the stage to announce the
death of his young friend that morning in New York after his motorcycle
crashed, they were mourning their fallen colleague of 11 years.
Marrie, currently starring
in Billy Joel and Twyla Tharp's "Movin'
Out" on Broadway, died at 8:30 Saturday morning at NewYork Presbyterian
Hospital when his heart gave out after three unsuccessful operations
to treat a liver lacerated when his motorcycle crashed with a taxicab
at 46th and Park Friday evening at rush hour.
Marrie. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann
The dancer would have
turned 34 today, the New York Times reported
in today's editions.
Tharp, Marrie's rooommate
and understudy Laurence Rabson, and his girlfriend Aliane Baquerot
maintained an all-night vigil at the hospital, a source close to
the show told The Dance Insider. Along with the rest of the cast,
they then went on to give the matinee performance Saturday at the
Richard Rodgers Theater, dedicating it to Marrie.
"He was a wonderful
dancer and a huge heart," Tharp told the Times's Anna Kisselgoff.
"He was passionate as a human being, very smart, and there was nothing
phony about him. He was just getting the exposure he deserved."
In Manhattan, maybe,
but in Canada Marrie was already a bonafide star and treasure. The
National, as National Ballet of Canada is known, also dedicated
to Marrie Saturday night's performance, a mixed bill including "Firebird."
Kudelka recalled Marrie as a "strapping" young man with a "lust
for life." When the two recently got together in New York, Kudelka
said, an ebullient Marrie talked about how thrilled he was to be
working in the Big Apple, living out one of his dreams.
As Katchei, the DI's
Shena Wilson wrote,
reviewing the premiere, Marrie, "strong, staring, scary and smooth
was indeed everything he could be while 'Deathless.'"
Marrie also created
leading roles in Kudelka's "Miraculous Mandarin" and Jean-Pierre
Perreault's "The Comforts of Solitude." He danced The Man in Kudelka's
"Four Seasons," Nikolai and Peter in "Nutcracker," and A Former
Acquaintance in "The Actress."
Marrie's Uncle Nikolai in "The Nutcracker" as "zany
and magical and full of funny quirky things. He is a sort of beloved
genius-kook. Marrie made all of the demanding allegro and character
work look entirely easy and light." In Cranko's "Romeo & Juliet,"
, he showed himself "an especially engaging actor who
brought suitable sexy-rogue to Mercutio."
Marrie played Onegin
in Cranko's ballet of the same name, and, in June 2000, made a splash
at the Metropolitan Opera House in his American Ballet Theatre debut,
dancing Petruchio opposite new partner Irina Dvorovenko, also making
a debut as Kate, in Cranko's "Taming of the Shrew."
"Mr. Marrie turned a
cardboard role into a major one," Kisselgoff observed, reviewing
the performance June 24 and noting that, "his Petruchio
was complex, with stretched-out phrases of movement that suddenly
changed direction of tempo, the equivalent of asides to the audience.
This was great dance acting that had a rarely seen maturity. His
technique, if initally soft, exploded into speed and bravura by
the end." Reviewing Marrie May 18, 1999 as Rothbart in an early
performance of Kudelka's production of Petipa/Ivanov's "Swan Lake,"
Kisselgoff said he "danced through Rothbart's dramatic role with
stunning resiliency and energy."
Marrie, trained at L'Ecole
Superieur de Danse du Quebec, joined the National in 1990 and was
promoted to principal in 2001. In last year's annual program book,
he credited the atmosphere at the National as inspiring his early
success. "When I came to the company, people like Kevin Pugh and
Gregory Osborne were still around," he said. "They were so inspiring.
I started dancing late -- at 19 -- so I like the freedom in this
company. They rehearse you and then leave you alone to work things
out, so it's up to you to succeed. I like the atmosphere. What do
we need in the future to keep creativity alive? More touring, more
performances, more dancers -- and maybe an opera house."
Marrie never saw his
opera house in Toronto, but he did see the Great White Way, taking
the starring role in one of the two casts of "Movin' Out," directed
and choreographed by Tharp. As the mechanic and Vietnam veteran
Eddie in the entirely danced 'book' woven around Billy Joel classics,
Marrie danced in two-thirds of the 29 song segments, including "It's
Still Rock and Roll to Me," "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant,"
"Angry Young Man," "Captain Jack," "Pressure," and "Only the Good
In working with Marrie,
Tharp told the Times, "The intensity that was part of his charisma
came from an actor's route. He looked emotionally at a scene and
the dancing came from that."
Marrie is survived by
his girlfriend, Ms. Baquerot, and by, reports the Times, his mother
Andree LeBlanc, his father, Claude, two sisters, Maude and Edith,
a brother, Blaise, and his stepfather, Gilles Bleiveise.
"That's all I heard about Brenda and Eddie
Can't tell you more cuz I told you already
And here we are waving Brenda and Eddie goodbye."
The Dance Insider is requesting recollections of William Marrie
from his colleagues and fans. Please send your reflections to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comments received by midnight tonight New York and Toronto time
will be included in a future story.
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