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    Brush With Greatness - Linda Maybarduk

    This week we hear from listener Linda Maybarduk

    This story comes from a star of ballet, Linda Maybarduk. At age fifteen, Linda was accepted into the National Ballet School of Canada. In 1969, she became a member of the National Ballet of Canada and was promoted to First Soloist two years later. In her fifteen years with the company, she danced many soloist and principal roles, and her partners include some of the greatest male of dancers of her generation, including Mikhail Baryshnikov, Fernando Bujones, Anthony Dowell, and Rudolf Nureyev.

    Hi Terry! How wonderful to hear that it is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Ella Fitzgerald. Happy Birthday Ella! I had an amazing encounter with this legendary singer in 1969. I had just entered the National Ballet of Canada as a very young dancer and had been a professional for only a couple of weeks. To the ballet company's astonishment, a Hollywood choreographer, Joe Cassini came to the studio and choose me and Tomas Schramek to perform in a TV special honoring Lou Rawls. While Lou Rawls sang with his beautiful melodic voice, Something in the Way She Moves, and a song from West Side story, Tomas and I were to dance two pas de deuxs created by Joe Cassini.

    Also performing on the show with Lou Rawls were Ella Fitzgerald , Duke Ellington and all their musicians. We all rehearsed in the ballroom at the Royal York Hotel , and what an amazing experience and privilege it was to rehearse near them and to watch and listen to all of them "jam" in that ballroom. I can still see the musicians crowded around Duke Ellington playing on the grand piano while Ella Fitzgerald stood by his side singing away. They laughed and experimented and played some more... it was electrifying to watch. Tomas and I will never forget that very special experience as well as the warmth and kindness shown to us by all those legends. Again Happy Birthday Ella!

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