Edmond Kilpatrick - The Man Who Loved WomenSunday, April 20, 2008
Yesterday Rebecca, Lauren, Rosemary and I saw Edmond Kilpatrick's last dance performance, as Captain Hook in Ballet BC's Peter Pan. He is leaving Ballet BC.
It seems that since I first started taking photographs of Ballet BC dancer Emdond Kilpatrick back in 2000 he always posed for me with a woman. Paradoxically it was when I took his picture in my studio with dancer Connor Gnam (then with Arts Umbrella) that I realized his ease in fitting in not only with ballerinas but with male dancers, too.
It was Kilpatrick who started in Vancouver a program to entice young boys into ballet and dance while at the same time showing them the respect that a male dancer deserves in this day and age. And it was watching Kilpatrick teach a class at Arts Umbrella (my Rebecca was in that class) that I noted his blend of gentleness (he never raised his voice) and his absolute demand for perfection. Rebecca complained he was too demanding. I smiled when she said this as I know that if a 9 or 10 year-old is not pushed she will do nothing and just get by.
In the 8 years that I have observed Kilpatrick I noted that he was one of the few (besides Jones Henry) who was able to pick up the almost as tall Emily Molnar. It was Kilpatrick that enabled Alleyne to choreograph for that stupendous dancer that Molnar is. At first I was turned off by Kilpatrick coolness. His dance seemed to lack passion. But then I noted how this coolness made the women react with passion as they danced with him. His Don José in Alleyne's Carmen was just right to Sandrine Cassini's Carmen (third photograph from top). When he eventually sticks the knife into her it was believeable. The cool man had snapped. When I photographed Kilpatrick with Cassini and Acacia Schachte for Carmina Burana it was Rebecca, who was present at the shoot, who noted to me the attraction that women had for him.
If anything Kilpatrick has represented to me the cool jazz performer who smoulders on the inside. This coolness has not prevented me from finally realizing that part of it is due to a shyness that he has somewhat not shed yet. Yet when he does smile (something that seems to not do often) it is an easy and warm smile.
I remember that when Kilpatrick emerged on to the dance scene in the late 80s every female publicist, every female dance critic or arts writer/editor fell for his charms even to the point of swooning is his presence! I know because many of them confessed this to me. So when I had my first chance to photograph Kilpatrick for the Georgia Straight, I asked him to bring his Russian ballerina wife Victoria(the first two photographs above) to our studio session. I am sure that many women will miss the strong, tall and cool presence of Edmond Kilpatrick in Ballet BC. I can add that this man will miss him, too.