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Legacy Oral History Online Collection

Ruud Audio Clip and Transcript

Rudd Audio Clip

Anyway, when I started with Bill, there of course were lots of classes, character classes, technique classes, the pas de deux class, later came the choreography class. During the partnering class, I think within two years, I became very aware that I understood what Bill was saying and could create the images he wanted with a partner.  I've always found it easy, never difficult.  Some of the lifts are hard to accomplish, but all in all, I have to say that most of the girls I've danced with have enjoyed dancing with me because I took good care of them and kept them on balance, got them through things.  It's the sort of thing, again I don't know if you can really teach it. You can only give a craft, and Bill was aware of my ability, and he used me.  And I think that's why, within five years of joining the company, or seeing "Coppelia," I was onstage dancing.  I'm sure I was a little on the raw side as far as a dancer, but the partnering was good.  I've always enjoyed it; it just came very natural to me to be a partner. 

I've taught adagio class and sometimes the people understand what I'm saying and some of them just don't get it – their minds are blocked, you know, with other thoughts like line and design and shape, instead of worrying about the girl.  Almost all pas de deux are a love story and I think you have to look like you're in love with the girl. You just can't go out there and dance.

Of all the different ballets I've done, Bejart and Balanchine and Jerome Robbins and John Butler, San Francisco Ballet, Michael, Lew and the other choreographers, I think my favorite is "Romeo [and Juliet"]."  We opened that the second year I came here. Originally I was learning Tybalt, but Michael decided he wanted me to play Romeo.  I think I was ideally suited for the part - energy, youth, impetuousness, all those sorts of things. 

©Museum of Performance + Design

Tomm Ruud
Ruud Audio Clip and Transcript