George Balanchine
Russian-American choreographer and ballet master and master teacher
George Balanchine
George Balanchine, born Giorgi Melitonovitch Balanchivadze, was one of the 20th century's most famous choreographers, a developer of ballet in the United States and the co-founder and balletmaster of New York City Ballet. He was a choreographer known for his musicality; he expressed music with dance and worked extensively with Igor Stravinsky. Thirty-nine of his more than four hundred ballets were choreographed to music by Stravinsky.
Biography
George Balanchine's personal information overview.
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News
News abour George Balanchine from around the web
DANCE REVIEW; New York City Ballet at Koch Theater - Review
NYTimes - over 5 years
At New York City Ballet George Balanchine’s “Apollo” (1928) is a touchstone, the fountainhead of neoclassical values and a proving ground for generations of storied dancers. These facts exert pressure on a performer making his first appearance in the title role. Yet the role itself offers solace. Balanchine’s Apollo is a god
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New faces at Grand Rapids Ballet Company add personality, depth - The Grand Rapids Press - MLive.com
Google News - over 5 years
The total of nine apprentices and trainees will give the company the depth to dance larger works, such as George Balanchine's seminal ballet “Serenade” in September and Lew Christensen's comical “Con Amore” in February. It also helps launch the next
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Dance Critic Alice Kaderlan: George Balanchine And The Male Dancer - KUOW NPR
Google News - over 5 years
"Ballet is woman" is a famous quote attributed to the Russian–American choreographer George Balanchine. But Seattle–based dance critic Alice Kaderlan has been rethinking that statement. This summer Alice attended an international festival of
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Utah's Ballet West goes slightly south at Wolf Trap - Washington Post
Google News - over 5 years
George Balanchine's “The Four Temperaments” presents its dancers with an extraordinary challenge. The body angles are so precise, the lines are so clear-cut and the staging is so spare that it leaves virtually no room for error
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Aug. 21 — 27 - New York Times
Google News - over 5 years
13 with works by George Balanchine, Peter Martins and Jerome Robbins. There will be a Balanchine Black & White performance Sept. 16 of “Episodes,” “Apollo” and “The Four Temperaments,” being performed above by Justin Peck and Rebecca Krohn
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Oregon Ballet Theatre postcards from Korea: In-flight greetings - OregonLive.com
Google News - over 5 years
By Marty Hughley, The Oregonian BLAINE TRUITT COVERTOregon Ballet Theatre's production of George Balanchine's "The Nutcracker" is a winter holiday classic in Portland. But the company currently is presenting it in the height of summer on tour in South
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Balanchine/Robbins, Mariinsky Ballet, Covent Garden, review - Telegraph.co.uk
Google News - over 5 years
Rating: * * * * By Sarah Crompton The relationship between George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, twin pillars of American ballet, could be the subject of several novels. Robbins adored his mentor Balanchine, who respected his acolyte - but couldn't
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Demonstrating How a Special Choreographer Made Men Special - New York Times
Google News - over 5 years
When the choreographer George Balanchine was running New York City Ballet, there were two sides to being one of his male dancers. Much of the time, as successive men have related, it was as if they just weren't there. Sometimes, when teaching, he was
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OBT Exposed (Oregon Ballet Theatre) - Willamette Week
Google News - over 5 years
The Saturday, July 23, schedule is a little more involved: class, rehearsal and performances of excerpts from George Balanchine's Who Cares?, plus Trey McIntyre's Speak, James Kudelka's Almost Mozart and new choreography by retired OBT principal dancer
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LongHouse Reserve Celebrates 20 Years - Patch.com
Google News - over 5 years
Four principle dancers will present two dances choreographed by George Balanchine. They are “Tarantella” (music by Louis Moreau Gottschalk) and “The Man I Love” from the ballet “Who Cares?” (Music by George Gershwin). Both pieces were orchestrated by
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An Uplifting Fourth of July - Huffington Post
Google News - over 5 years
The first time I heard Leontyne Price sing in concert, saw Alvin Ailey's "Revelations" by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and George Balanchine's "Serenade" performed by the New York City Ballet are three such moments that come immediately to
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Ballet Review: Infinite variety of Balanchine displayed - The Saratogian
Google News - over 5 years
Friday night at SPAC, in four ballets by George Balanchine, they danced like gods. The program displayed some of the infinite variety of Balanchine and the company he founded. His sprightly 1957 “Square Dance,” the most measured and rational of the
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of George Balanchine
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 1983
    Age 79
    After years of illness, Balanchine died on April 30, 1983, aged 79, in Manhattan from Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease, which was diagnosed only after his death.
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  • 1982
    Age 78
    By 1982, he was incapacitated.
    More Details Hide Details The night of his death, the company went on with its scheduled performance, which included Divertimento No. 15 and Symphony in C at Lincoln Center. In his last years, Balanchine suffered from angina and underwent heart bypass surgery. Clement Crisp, one of the many writers who eulogized Balanchine, assessed his contribution: "It is hard to think of the ballet world without the colossal presence of George Balanchine... He had a Russian Orthodox funeral, and was interred at the Oakland Cemetery at Sag Harbor, Suffolk County, New York at the same cemetery where Alexandra Danilova was later interred.
  • 1978
    Age 74
    He first showed symptoms during 1978 when he began losing his balance while dancing.
    More Details Hide Details As the disease progressed, his equilibrium, eyesight, and hearing deteriorated.
  • 1967
    Age 63
    In 1967, Balanchine's ballet, Jewels displayed specific characteristics of Balanchine's choreography.
    More Details Hide Details The corps dancers execute rapid footwork and precise movements. The choreography is difficult to execute and every dancer must do their job in order to hold the integrity of the piece. Balanchine's use of musicality can also be seen in this work.
  • FIFTIES
  • 1955
    Age 51
    In 1955, Balanchine created his version of The Nutcracker, in which he played the mime role of Drosselmeyer.
    More Details Hide Details The company has since performed the ballet every year in New York City during the Christmas season.
  • FORTIES
  • 1946
    Age 42
    First performed on November 20, 1946, this modernist work was one of his early abstract and spare ballets, angular and very different in movement.
    More Details Hide Details After several successful performances, the most notable featuring the ballet Orpheus created in collaboration with Stravinsky and sculptor and designer Isamu Noguchi, the City of New York offered the company residency at the New York City Center.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1940
    Age 36
    Soon Balanchine formed a new dance company, Ballet Society, again with the generous help of Lincoln Kirstein. He continued to work with contemporary composers, such as Paul Hindemith, from whom he commissioned a score in 1940 for The Four Temperaments.
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  • 1938
    Age 34
    Balanchine relocated his company to Hollywood during 1938, where he rented a white two-story house with "Kolya", Nicholas Kopeikine, his "rehearsal pianist and lifelong colleague", on North Fairfax Avenue not far from Hollywood Boulevard.
    More Details Hide Details Balanchine created dances for five movies, all of which featured Vera Zorina, whom he met on the set of The Goldwyn Follies and who subsequently became his third wife. He reconvened the company as the American Ballet Caravan and toured with it throughout North and South America, but it folded after several years. From 1944 to 1946, during and after World War II, Balanchine served as resident choreographer for Blum & Massine's new iteration of Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo.
  • 1936
    Age 32
    Balanchine choreographed Broadway's On Your Toes, in 1936.
    More Details Hide Details This musical featured the ballet "Slaughter On Tenth Avenue," in which a tap dancer falls in love with a stripper. His choreography in musicals was unique at the time because it furthered the plot of the story.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1933
    Age 29
    Balanchine and Kochno immediately founded Les Ballets 1933, with Kochno, Diaghilev's former secretary and companion, serving as artistic advisor.
    More Details Hide Details The company was financed by Edward James, a British poet and ballet patron. The company lasted only a couple of months during 1933, performing only in Paris and London, when the Great Depression made arts more difficult to fund. Balanchine created several new works, including collaborations with composers Kurt Weill, Darius Milhaud, Henri Sauguet and designer Pavel Tchelitchew. Balanchine insisted that his first project would be to establish a ballet school because he wanted to develop dancers who had the strong technique and style he wanted. Compared to his classical training, he thought they could not dance well. With the assistance of Lincoln Kirstein and Edward M.M. Warburg, the School of American Ballet opened to students on January 2, 1934, less than 3 months after Balanchine arrived in the U.S. Later that year, Balanchine had his students perform in a recital, where they premiered his new work Serenade to music by Tchaikovsky at the Warburg summer estate.
    In 1933, without consulting Blum, Col. de Basil dropped Balanchine after one year — ostensibly because he thought that audiences preferred the works choreographed by Massine.
    More Details Hide Details Librettist Boris Kochno was also let go, while dancer Tamara Toumanova (a strong admirer of Balanchine's) left the company when Balanchine was fired.
  • 1928
    Age 24
    Among his new works, during 1928 in Paris, Balanchine premiered Apollon musagète (Apollo and the muses) in a collaboration with Stravinsky; it was one of his most innovative ballets, combining classical ballet and classical Greek myth and images with jazz movement.
    More Details Hide Details He described it as "the turning point in my life". Apollo is regarded as the original neoclassical ballet. Apollo brought the male dancer to the forefront, giving him two solos within the ballet. Apollo is known for its minimalism, utilizing simple costumes and sets. This allowed the audience not to be distracted from the movement. Balanchine considered music to be the primary influence on choreography,as opposed to the narrative. Suffering a serious knee injury, Balanchine had to limit his dancing, effectively ending his performance career. After Diaghilev's death, the Ballets Russes went bankrupt. To earn money, Balanchine began to stage dances for Charles B. Cochran's revues and Sir Oswald Stoll's variety shows in London. He was retained by the Royal Danish Ballet in Copenhagen as a guest ballet master. In 1931, with the help from financier Serge Denham, René Blum and Colonel Wassily de Basil formed the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, a successor to Ballets Russes. The new company hired Leonide Massine and Balanchine as choreographers. Featured dancers included David Lichine and Tatiana Riabouchinska.
  • 1926
    Age 22
    After his divorce from Tamara Geva, Balanchine was partnered with Alexandra Danilova from 1926 through 1933.
    More Details Hide Details He married and divorced three more times, all to women who were his dancers: Vera Zorina (1938–1946), Maria Tallchief (1946–1952), and Tanaquil LeClercq (1952–1969). He had no children by any of his marriages and no known offspring from any extramarital unions or other liaisons. Biographer and intellectual historian Clive James observed that Balanchine, despite his creative genius and brilliance as a ballet choreographer, had his darker side. In his Cultural Amnesia: Necessary Memories from History and the Arts (2007), James writes that: With his School of American Ballet, New York City Ballet, and 400 choreographed works, Balanchine transformed American dance and created modern ballet, developing a unique style with his dancers highlighted by brilliant speed and attack. A monument at the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theatre was dedicated in Balanchine's memory. A crater on Mercury was named in his honor.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1924
    Age 20
    Diaghilev soon promoted Balanchine to ballet master of the company and encouraged his choreography. Between 1924 and Diaghilev's death in 1929, Balanchine created nine ballets, as well as lesser works.
    More Details Hide Details During these years, he worked with composers such as Sergei Prokofiev, Igor Stravinsky, Claude Debussy, Erik Satie, and Maurice Ravel, and artists who designed sets and costumes, such as Pablo Picasso, Georges Rouault, and Henri Matisse, creating new works that combined all the arts.
    On a 1924 visit to Germany with the Soviet State Dancers, Balanchine, his wife, Tamara Geva, and dancers Alexandra Danilova and Nicholas Efimov fled to Paris, where there was a large Russian community.
    More Details Hide Details At this time, the impresario Sergei Diaghilev invited Balanchine to join the Ballets Russes as a choreographer.
  • 1923
    Age 19
    In 1923, Balanchine married Tamara Geva, a sixteen-year-old dancer.
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    During 1923, with fellow dancers, Balanchine formed a small ensemble, the Young Ballet.
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    Balanchine graduated from the conservatory during 1923, and danced as a member of the corps until 1924.
    More Details Hide Details While still in his teens, Balanchine choreographed his first work, a pas de deux named La Nuit (1920, music by Anton Rubinstein). This was followed by another duet, Enigma, with the dancers in bare feet rather than ballet shoes.
  • 1921
    Age 17
    After graduating in 1921, Balanchine enrolled in the Petrograd Conservatory while working in the corps de ballet at the State Academic Theater for Opera and Ballet (formerly the State Theater of Opera and Ballet and known as the Mariinsky Ballet).
    More Details Hide Details His studies at the conservatory included advanced piano, music theory, counterpoint, harmony, and composition.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1913
    Age 9
    Based on his audition, during 1913 (at age nine) Balanchine relocated from rural Finland to Saint Petersburg and was accepted into the Imperial Ballet School, principal school of the Imperial Ballet, where he was a student of Pavel Gerdt and Samuil Andrianov (Pavel's son-in-law).
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  • 1904
    Age 0
    Born on January 22, 1904.
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