TheEdwardMorganBallet
This was a time in my life that should of been enjoyable for me, it was not enjoyable at all. If you want to understand my feelings in life at this time, you must read the reviews in their entirety. Every time the Joffrey II was reviewed, I received great reviews. Ron Reagan's reviews were not as favorable as mine, and I thought the world was going to take it out on me.
The Washington Post
Keeping on His Toes
By Elisabeth Bumiller March 16, 1981

First he got a hug from his wife. Then his mother. And then his father, the president of the United States.

Ron Reagan Jr. had just made his first appearance on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House in New York.

"We all tend to be a little cynical about the human race, even about ourselves," said the president. "Then you see something this way and say, 'Any creature that can do anything that beautiful, he must be remarkable.'"

Ron Jr. beamed, an "aw shucks" grin spreading from one ear to the other.

The Reagans ended a weekend trip to New York last night by watching their son dance at a gala benefit performance of the Joffrey Ballet. More than 3,000 people were packed into the Met for the company's major fundraiser of the year. The main Joffrey company, the second-string Joffrey II and Diana Ross all performed. Not many were denying that the president's appearance helped things along. But it also made for some anxious dancers.

"Were you nervous?" somebody called out to Ron Jr. as he waited afterward for his father at a reception room at the Met.

"Nervous," affirmed Ron, "very nervous. Never danced on anything that big before." He meant the stage of the Met. He's in the Joffrey II Ballet, considered the farm team for the main company. Usually they dance in small towns and colleges.

Although it was widely reported that this was the first time the Reagans were seeing their son dance professionally, one friend of the Reagans insisted this was not so. Betsy Bloomingdale, the wife of the founder of Diners Club, said during the weekend that the Reagans had actually seen Ron Jr. perform with another company about a year ago in California. Still, it had been a long time since then.

"We waited until he said he was ready for us," said the president to reporters and cameramen who recorded every hug and warm word between the son and father, who are sometimes said to have a distant relationship. Ron Jr. smiled again. For the meetig with his father, who hadn't seen him recently until he leapt across the stage, Ron Jr. had changed from his burnt-orange tights into a blue bathrobe, red sweat pants, and down-filled moon boots which presumably kept his dancer's feet warm.

He performed in the third ballet of the evening, entitled, "Unfolding." A Joffrey spokesman called it "an abstract neoclassical ballet" about "relationships" between the four dancing couples. Ron Jr., like the others, had several dancing solos with his partner Melissa Zanzola. He picked her up, swung her across his body, onto a hip, or in the air.

There were two curtain calls after the performance. Ron Jr. got an enthusiastic hand, but it was another dancer named Edward Morgan and his partner, Julie Janus, who drew the biggest applause.

Before their son's performance, the Reagans had behaved like any anxious parents. At dinner on Saturday at Le Cirque, an elegant East Side restaurant full of purple tulips and such diners as Bianca Jagger, the president had talked to Betsy Bloomingdale about his son's debut.

"Here's your son, dancing in front of all these people for the first time," said Bloomingdale, who smoked a Cigarillo after dinner, "and you're the president of the United States. Well, wouldn't you be nervous?"

The Reagans had been dinner guests of Bloomindale and her husband, Alfred, at the restaurant long favored by the first lady. Others in the presidential party at the corner table, a frequent haunt of New York Gov. Hugh Carey and actor Dustin Hoffman, included Claudette Colbert, the actress, and Jerry Zipkin, the man about town.

Not at the table was Jagger, who was sitting nearby with a gaggle of other guests who looked thin and rich.

Table-hopping was a popular activity, and so after dinner, the Warhol table hopped over to Reagan. More than a few other diners, their eyes riveted in shameless fascination, watched a conservative Republican president warmly greet a liberal chapter of the '60s.

Last night at the Met, Nancy Reagan served as honorary chairman of the benefit, which netted almost $200,000 for the company last year. The Reagans sat in the presidential box with the Bloomingdales, Ron Jr.'s wife Doria Reagan, Carey, Saudi Arabian Ambassador Faisal Alhegelan and his wife, Nouha, and John Coleman, owner of the Fairfax Hotel.

Here's what Ron Jr. said about his performance: "Pretty good."

Here's what Robert Joffrey, artistic director of the company, said about it: "I think it was a wonderful debut for him at the Met."

Ironically, Joffrey's company stands to lose as much as $250,000 because of Reagan's proposed cuts in the National Endowment for the Arts budget. Joffrey didn't mention this last night. Neither did the president.

When Reagan greeted his son, he also shook hands with the rest of the cast. They had been fidgeting and fussing, flexing their toes in apparent trepidation at meeting somebody who was not just another father of a dancer.

"Well," said the president to them, "you all look very beautiful, really."

"When the ballet finished," said Joffrey II artistic director Sally Bliss during a party after the gala, "the president looked at me and said, 'Can I breathe now?'" Reagan sat next to Bliss during the performance. She was the one who plucked Ron Jr. out of the Joffrey school in November 1979, and while she admits that selecting a president's son has brought wonderful publicity to the company, she also insists that she thought at the time he was just another dancer.

"I saw him and I said, 'I like that boy. Who's he?' and the teacher said: 'That is Ron Reagan.'"

"It's a fluke," Bliss continued. "I didn't know. During the ballet I turned to his father and said, 'I can't believe this is happening.'"

Bliss said that Ron Jr.'s performance was a difficult one, especially one particular pas de deux. "He had to lift this girl over his back," Bliss said, "and he really was under pressure. But he didn't goof."










JOFFREY BALLET'S GALA: DIANA ROSS AND RON REAGAN
March 16, 1981

President and Mrs. Reagan joined hands last night, as did more than 4,000 other spectators, at the Metropolitan Opera House to sway and sing, ''Reach out and touch somebody's hand, make this world a better place if you can.''


Like everyone else in the black-tie audience at a benefit gala for the Joffrey Ballet, they did so at the highly persuasive bidding of Diana Ross, the popular singer who headlined the evening. In one instant, Miss Ross transformed a staid house that had spent the first half of the program politely applauding the Joffrey dancers, including the President's son, into a warm if cavernous living room.

The President and his wife, who were seated in a center parterre box above a specially placed presidential seal, sang along cheerfully in what Miss Ross called her ''audience participation event.'' The sight of row upon row of people rocking from side to side and holding hands in the huge opera house was unprecedented at the Met.

It is no secret, however, that the Reagans had attended because it was their first chance to see Ron Reagan dance with the Joffrey II Dancers, the junior company of the Joffrey Ballet. The younger Reagan appeared in ''Unfolding,'' a ballet by Gray Veredon, a choreographer from New Zealand. His parents were both seen observing him through binoculars.

What they saw, as this reviewer has stated before, was a talented dancer who has worked very hard and who has done extremely well for a late starter. In this instance, he pointed his toes and flexed his muscles - as called for by some macho moments in a polished ballet that suggests a courtship ritual between four men and four women. At least he was not the one who dropped his partner. The other members of the good cast were Melissa Zanzola, Ron Reagan's partner, Julie Janus, Edward Morgan, Jeaney McGeary, Jerry Kokich, Lael Evans and Travis Wright.

''Unfolding,'' was the only work presented by the junior company, whose artistic director, Sally Brayley Bliss, was seated next to President Reagan in a box that also included her husband, Anthony A.Bliss, the Met's general manager, Nancy Reagan, Doria Reagan, Ron Reagan's wife, Robert Joffrey, artistic director of the Joffrey Ballet, and Sir John Tooley, head of London's Royal Opera House at Covent Garden.

The evening opened with the Joffrey Ballet itself performing items from its current repertory. Patricia Miller, partnered stupendously by Glenn White was the goddess-like figure carried aloft in what is essentially an adagio act but a very stylish one. Gerald Arpino's sleek streamlined choreography to Shostakovich music is full of tricky tosses and spectacular lifts, to which the audience responded enthusiastically. Jerel Hilding, Andrew Levinson and James Canfield were the other members of Miss Miller's faithful retinue and they were superb.

This accent on physical thrill surfaced again in ''Return to the Strange Land'' by the Czechoslovak-born choreographer, Jiri Kylian. Mr. Kylian dedicated his work to the late John Cranko, director of the Stuttgart Ballet, and usually this is a ballet that has a strong elegaic feeling. Somewhere, some of the solemnity was lost in a gala atmosphere and one was content to look at beautiful bodies doing incredible things. Mr. Kylian constructs some shapes that look unorthodox, even to those of us who have been going to the ballet for some time. The dancers executed them all devotedly: Beatriz Rodriguez, Gregory Huffman and Glenn Edgerton in the first tiro, Cynthia Anderson and Mr. Canfield in the major duet, with Ross Stretton joining the last section.

Luis Fuente, as virtuosic as ever in his turns, led the final excerpts from Mr. Joffrey's ''Postcards,'' featuring also Mr. Stretton and Denise Jackson with an ensemble. The mood was of shipboard romance.

As for Miss Ross, she created a sensation. She had only to rise with a trap door elevator, enveloped in fog of dry ice and a plethora of white pelts. The place went wild. ''I'm very happy tonight,'', she said. The Joffrey should be too. The house was sold out with box seats going at $625 each. Anna Kisselgoff