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Nora Kimball

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Nora Koito Kimball-Mentzos or simply Nora Kimball is a ballet teacher and former American ballerina, who is often overlooked for being one of the first African American female soloists—the second [1] -- [at American Ballet Theatre (ABT).[2][3] She danced with the ABT in the mid-1980s[4][5] and as an African American who is also Asian American,[6] preceded Misty Copeland, who is often credited as the first. ABT has been described as one of the three great American-style classical ballet companies on the world stage today (along with New York City Ballet and San Francisco Ballet).[7]

Kimball trained in New York City at the National Academy of Ballet before attending The Harkness House for Ballet Arts. Studied further at The American Ballet Theatre School.[8] Kimball has been a soloist with the Nederlands Dans Theater and the Frankfurt Ballet.[9] She has also worked with Eliot Feld Ballet, the Stuttgart Ballett, Karole Armitage and Peter Sellars.[8] She had moved to the Frankfurt Ballet by 1991.[10] She has worked with William Forsythe.[11] She continues to work in Frankfurt teaching for the Zena Rommett Floor Barre Technique TM since 2001 and the Dancedepartment of the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst.[8]

Notable performances[edit]

At ABT Clark Tippet made his first ballet, Enough Said, on Kimball, the rest of the cast being Robert Hill, Gabrielle Brown, Lucette Katerndahl, Kathleen Moore, Ethan Brown, John Gardner and Ross Yearsley.[12][13]

Kimball starred in Peter Sellars' revival of The Seven Deadly Sins with music and lyrics by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht in their final operatic collaboration (the original choreography by Balanchine goes uncredited here.)[14][15] Kent Nagano conducts the orchestra of the Opéra National de Lyon for this performance.[16] Of the twelve scenes on the DVD, the first nine of which are choreographed, Kimball is credited on four.[17][18]

Although the production was filmed in 1993, the 47 minute work was not released until June 10, 2003,[16][19] and intercuts footage from performances in Memphis, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore, and San Francisco.[15][20] Sellars' direction is widely criticized.[19][21]

She was one of three solo dancers in El Niño, an opera-oratorio by the American composer John Adams, during its premiers in December 2000 in Paris and January 2001 in San Francisco. Both premiers were under the stage direction of Peter Sellars and musical direction of Kent Nagano.[22]

Kimball also appeared in David Gordon's 1987 production, Made in U.S.A., which starred Mikhail Baryshnikov. The show included three ballets entitled Valda and Misha, TV Nine Lives, and Murder; Valda and Misha was commissioned for the telecast.[23][24]


  1. ^ Misty Copeland bio on BlackPast.org
  2. ^ McCrary, Crystal (Fall 2008). "A Tale of Two Swans". Uptown (Chicago) (17). Miller Publishing Group: 100–103.
  3. ^ Farber, Jim (March 27, 2008). "This Swan is More than Coping". LA.com. Archived from the original on August 3, 2008. Retrieved August 27, 2008.
  4. ^ Kisselgoff, Anna (September 13, 1985). "BALLET THEATER: HARVEY IN 'GISELLE'". The New York Times. Retrieved September 24, 2008.
  5. ^ Anderson, Jack (June 6, 1987). "DANCE: TUDOR'S 'DARK ELEGIES,' BY BALLET THEATER". The New York Times. Retrieved September 24, 2008.
  6. ^ Harper, Francesca (July 30, 2000). "DANCE; To Europe and Back, A Dancer's Odyssey Of Self-Discovery". The New York Times. Retrieved September 24, 2008.
  7. ^ Jennings, Luke (February 18, 2007). "One step closer to perfection: The best of Balanchine lights up London – but Stravinsky in Birmingham must not be missed". The Observer. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved August 26, 2008.
  8. ^ a b c "Teaching Staff". Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst. Archived from the original on October 21, 2007. Retrieved September 25, 2008.
  9. ^ Edwards, Jeffrey (March 1995). "Steps across the Sea: American dancers abroad". Dance Magazine. CNET Networks, Inc. Retrieved September 24, 2008.
  10. ^ Grove, Robin; Stevens, Catherine Joanne; McKechnie, Shirley (December 2004). Thinking in Four Dimensions: Creativity and Cognition in Contemporary Dance. Melbourne University Publishing. p. 140. ISBN 978-0-522-85145-8.
  11. ^ "The Force of Forsythe". Dance magazine. Macfadden Performing Arts Media LLC. Archived from the original on September 8, 2008. Retrieved September 25, 2008.
  12. ^ Kristy Montee, Miami Sun Sentinel, February 2nd, 1987
  13. ^ A first version of Enough Said appeared at ABT Choreographers' Workshop, the Joyce Theater, New York, September 9, 1986, with Nora Kimball, Ethan Brown, John Turjoman, Ross Yearsley, Clark Tippet, Bonnie Moore, Christina Fagundes and Kathleen Moore.
  14. ^ Internet Movie Database, The Seven Deadly Sins
  15. ^ a b "The Seven Deadly Sins". Turner Classic Movies. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. Retrieved September 24, 2008.[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ a b "Seven Deadly Sins DVD". CD Universe. Retrieved September 24, 2008.
  17. ^ tracks 1, 4, 6 and 9
  18. ^ "CD: Weill: The Seven Deadly Sins/Die Sieben Todsunden". Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Retrieved September 24, 2008.
  19. ^ a b Schiff, David. "WEILL: The Seven Deadly Sins". Opera News Online. Retrieved September 24, 2008.
  20. ^ "Kurt Weill – The Seven Deadly Sins-- "Stolz / Pride" video". NMF.com. IPC MEDIA. Retrieved September 24, 2008. [dead link]
  21. ^ Heisler, Wayne Jr. (Winter 2006). "The Seven Deadly Sins (Die sieben Todsünden) (review, excerpt)" (PDF). The Opera Quarterly. Project MUSE. Retrieved September 24, 2008.
  22. ^ "John Adams | Interviews, Articles & Essays". Archived from the original on August 6, 2011. Retrieved June 24, 2012.
  23. ^ "David Gordon's Made in U.S.A. (1987)". Hollywood.com, LLC. Archived from the original on July 19, 2008. Retrieved September 25, 2008.
  24. ^ "David Gordon s Made in U.S.A.: Show Description, Cast & Crew". Yahoo! Inc. Retrieved September 25, 2008.

External links[edit]