“All-American” and “exotic bird” don’t usually appear in the same context. When Cynthia Gregory appears in an American Ballet Theatre performance of Firebird, however, they do. One of ABT’s brightest stars in the late 20th century, Gregory is incredible in the title role of this 1970s Lincoln Center performance. This adaptation of Michel Fokine’s version also features former ABT principals John Meehan, as Prince Ivan, and Leslie Browne as the Princess.
Don’t have 50 minutes to spare? Skip to the Firebird’s entrance and her pas de deux with Ivan between 6:00 and 13:50. Gregory’s avian affectations are masterful, as is her interpretation of Stravinsky’s score. She punctuates sharp notes with wrist flicks and lightening fast legs, and enraptures with syrupy arms and supple back bends. At once timid and seductive in the arms of Ivan, Gregory has him—and us—hooked. Happy #FlashbackFriday!