Patricia Wilde (b. 1928)
Patricia Lorrain-Ann White followed in her sister Nora's footsteps to become a dancer. She was born in Ottawa, Canada, where she and Nora received their early training from Gwendolyn Osborne. At the age of 13, Patricia came to New York and studied with Dorothy Littlefield at the School of American Ballet.
A year or so after her arrival she appeared with the American
Concert Ballet, and then joined the Marquis de Cuevas's Ballet
International. She accompanied George
Balanchine and a small group of dancers to Mexico City in
the summer of 1945. They danced with the opera company at the
Palaciodes Belles Artes and gave a few all-ballet performances,
dancing Les Sylphides, Apollo and Constantia. Upon her return
to New York City Patricia White joined the Ballet Russe de Monte
Carlo. Because her sister was already a member of the company
she changed her name from White to Wilde.
Patricia Wilde remained with the New York City Ballet for many years. She once said, "Those were the years in which Balanchine's company hit its prime. Working from 1950 to 1965 was a beautiful time to be working with Mr. B. You had the feeling that what you were doing there was important; what was going on was marvelous."
Balanchine created many roles for Wilde, including the Highland
Girl in Scotch Symphony, the Pas de Trois in Swan Lake, and Glinka
Pas de Trois, Square Dance, Waltz-Scherzo, Native Dancers, and
Dance critic Toby Tobias wrote, "Her forte was allegro. She was a terre-à-terre dancer, the girl with the gorgeous jump. She has the fastest feet on the City Center Stage."
It was clarity, that beautiful sharpness in Wilde's dancing that gave it its focus. She had projection and showmanship. She has said that her idea of a good dancer is one who has the ability to hold the audience.
In 1965 Wilde left the New York City Ballet. Balanchine,
as always, lost interest in his mature dancers as new young talent
(First published July 1998)
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