The August visit by Juilliard Dance to the Edinburgh Festival brought together two generations of Juilliard dancers in a lovely and most unexpected encounter. After a well-received opening-night performance at the Edinburgh Playhouse, our dancers were treated to a post-concert reception hosted by the Lord Mayor of Edinburgh in the city’s ornate City Chambers. We were toasted and feted alongside members of a production from the Royal Shakespeare Company, a Russian theater troupe directed by Dmitry Krymov, and Leigh Warren + Dancers from Australia.
During the welcoming remarks by Jonathan Mills, the director of the festival, we learned that Leigh Warren had studied at Juilliard in the mid-1970s. A coincidence, but not entirely a surprise in the small world of the arts. In chatting with Warren later, though, we learned of a much more extraordinary intersection—he had danced in the world premiere of José Limón’s Waldstein Sonata at Juilliard, in 1975, the very same work danced by our current generation of Juilliard students earlier that evening!
Word got out quickly and the 2012 Limón cast members flocked to compare notes with Warren—two casts of the same work joined across the generations. He came to see the Juilliard Dance performance of the Waldstein Sonata the following night and happily confessed that the physical memory of the choreography began to come back to him after a few minutes of the piece. Once a Juilliard dancer, always a Juilliard dancer …