Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Edward Villella, Miami City Ballet

Edward Villela is arguably the most celebrated male American dancer.

My first session with him was when the company visited the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, DC in 1995, when they performed George Balanchine’s Jewels.

I photographed him alone and with several individual members of the corps.

I ran into him again that same year when I photographed him backstage at Wolftrap when the Miami City Ballet performed in honor of Kay Shouse’s birthday.

In January of 1996, I was in Washington, DC, and got a call from Victoria Vigorito, the Miami City Ballet's public relations person, who told me that the Miami City Ballet had a photo shoot scheduled for later that week in Miami and that their photographer had become indisposed!  Florida in January!  Photographing the Miami City Ballet! I made my schedule work.

They were fabulous to work with, there was such energy in the company, and they really admired Eddie.

In 1997, I went to the White House with Eddie and his family and photographed him receiving the National Medal of Arts from President Clinton. This was the same year he was named as a Kennedy Center honoree.

In 1998, I did a profile portrait of him for the cover of his reissued book The Prodigal Son.  His wife, Linda, said the resulting portrait (above) had the map of Italy written all over his face.

He was always gracious and he took my daughter backstage at the Naples Philharmonic when the Miami City Ballet performed The Nutcracker.

I photographed him in Miami with his wife Linda several times, and this latest session was taken at the Kravitz Center in Palm Beach, Florida on March 10th, 2012, when the company was performing Giselle.

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