A memorial for the late ballet dancer and teacher Yvonne Mounsey will be held at 3 p.m. on Oct. 14 at L.A.'s Wadsworth Theatre at 11301 Wilshire Blvd. Mounsey, a former dancer with New York City Ballet and a founder of the Westside Ballet in Santa Monica., died Saturday at 93.
Here is the full Los Angeles Times obituary for Mounsey. The Westside Ballet said on its website that in lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the dance company.
Mounsey was interviewed by The Times a number of times over the years. In December, she was profiled on the occasion of Westside Ballet's 39th annual production of "The Nutcracker." Mounsey said she would "go crazy" if she didn't teach. "Just to see these kids get better and realize their dreams. Plus, ballet is so beautiful," she said.
Born in South Africa, Mounsey gained international prominence as a soloist at the New York City Ballet, where she worked closely with George Balanchine. She retired from the New York City Ballet in 1953 and eventually moved to Los Angeles, where she helped open the Westside Ballet in the late '60s.
In 2008, The Times interviewed Mounsey about her working relationship with the great Balanchine. The occasion was the taping of a video archive by New York's George Balanchine Foundation. "He gave very little explanation," Mounsey said about her former mentor.
"There were things that I wondered, like when the Siren [in 'Prodigal Son'] beats on her chest with her fist. I timidly asked him, 'What am I supposed to be doing here?' and he said, 'Just do it.'"
Back in 1993, Mounsey spoke to The Times about Balanchine's legacy. "Much of what I try to impress on the dancers," she said, "comes from Balanchine."
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