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In Mark Morris’ Dido and Aeneas, Bradon McDonald danced the dual roles of Dido/the Sorceress with such contained abandon that he resembled a young Morris—in spirit. The roles were McDonald’s favorites even before his decade with the Mark Morris Dance Group, from which he recently retired. “When I joined the company in 2000, Mark was still performing them, and I was understudying the piece,” remembers McDonald, a “25 to Watch” in 2004. “I’d squeeze myself into a little ball and sit at the base of the mirrors. So I was looking up at Mark on the bench doing Dido. It was pretty amazing!”
At age 6 in Lowville, NY, McDonald began tap, which he studied for seven years before taking up jazz. In 1997, while he was still a student at Juilliard, he was invited to join the Limón Dance Company. After three years, he joined MMDG, where he became known for his precision, wit, and charisma, and his performances of many of the roles Morris created for himself.
During his professional career, McDonald has moonlighted as a handbag designer, taking his sewing machine on tour and working from his hotel room. He is currently pursuing a degree at L.A.’s Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. After a life at “a very successful not-for-profit dance company,” he is ready to tap fashion’s commercial potential, and his devotion compares to his passion for dance. “I was so scared that I wouldn’t find something I liked as much,” he says. “Fashion showed me that I could be as interested and obsessed as I was about dancing.” While the dance world will miss his riveting presence, look for his emergence on the fashion scene. —Susan Yung
McDonald in Morris' Mozart Dances. Photo by Stephanie Berger, courtesy MMDG
Miriam Golden (1920–2010)
An original member of Ballet Theatre (now ABT), Miriam Golden Ziegler Hailparn died in September. She danced as a “Goldwyn Girl” in several MGM classics in the 1940s.
Born Miriam Goldstein in Philadelphia, she began her professional career in her teens with the Littlefield Ballet before joining Balanchine’s Ballet Caravan. She danced in ABT’s inaugural performance at Rockefeller Center on January 11, 1940. As a principal, Golden appeared in the first American performance of Tudor’s Dark Elegies in 1940. She also portrayed Lady Montague in the premiere of his one-act Romeo and Juliet in 1943, with Hugh Laing and Alicia Markova in the title roles and a young Jerome Robbins as Benvolio.
Golden settled in L.A. in 1944 and appeared as a dancer in film musicals, including Show Boat (1951). She also worked with legends like Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, and Cyd Charisse. With Irina Kosmovska, Golden founded the Los Angeles Junior Ballet, which in 1974 became the official school of John Clifford’s Los Angeles Ballet.