And I can’t let another day pass without noting that Fernando Bujones, one of the superstar male ballet dancers of the 20th century, has died of skin cancer at 50. The Washington Post, Daily Telegraph, and New York Times all offer tributes. From the Telegraph:
“Fernando Bujones, who died on Thursday aged 50, was considered the greatest American male ballet dancer of the 1970s and 1980s; but he had the bad luck to make his sensational debut at 19 just as the Soviet star Mikhail Baryshnikov defected to the United States.
The rivalry that followed as the two men battled for the same roles inside the leading American international company, the American Ballet Theatre, took on a bitter personal note. “Baryshnikov has the publicity while I have the talent,” declared Bujones, an unwise remark that came back to haunt him when the older Russian became his boss six years later.
Meanwhile, however, the duel for supremacy created unparalleled excitements for the public. Gelsey Kirkland, the ballet partner and girlfriend of both, reported that when the two had performances of Giselle on one day, Bujones deliberately danced Baryshnikov’s personal variations in the matin?e performance, forcing the Russian to spend a frantic hour inventing something even more spectacular for the evening show. “