His Life

George Balanchine: His Ballerinas.

Posted by on 01.11.2011

This is my next Balanchine series installment as I continue to read “George Balanchine The Ballet Maker” by Robert Gottlieb. Balanchine was notorious for having muses who inspired him throughout his career.  He would find his first major muse when City Ballet moved into City Center in 1948.  Balanchine would end his marriage to Vera Zorina and turn his focus to emerging star, Maria Tallchief, whom he would later marry. In her autobiography Tallchief says, “Work took precedence over everything…. Passion and romance didn’t play a big role in our married life.  We saved our emotion for the classroom.”  However, in the...

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George Balanchine: The Final Road to City Ballet.

Posted by on 11.30.2010

Get the book I am reading: George Balanchine The Ballet Maker by Robert Gottlieb. In the summer of 1941, Balanchine and Kirstein made plans to lead a goodwill tour throughout Latin America.  The two men created a cast that included thirty-six dancers from the Ballet Caravan, the dissolved American Ballet, and SAB.  The company was out of the country for five months, putting on over one hundred performances for enthusiastic audiences and critics alike.  Balanchine created two major ballets for this tour, Concerto Barocco and Ballet Imperial, which is also known by the title of the score, Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 2. Fred Danieli,...

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George Balanchine: Broadway and Hollywood.

Posted by on 11.26.2010

Get the book I am reading: George Balanchine The Ballet Maker by Robert Gottlieb. While continuing to create ballets at the Met, Balanchine embarked on a new phase in his career; making dances for Broadway.  His first Broadway show was the 1936 Ziegfeld Follies, but his big break occurred later in 1936 with the smash hit On Your Toes.  This show starred one of Balanchine’s favorite ladies, Tamara Geva and Ray Bolger, who the world now knows as the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz.  On Your Toes was the first of its kind, incorporating dance into the story line.  Many shows would follow suit, including shows such as Oklahoma....

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George Balanchine: Bringing World Class Ballet to America.

Posted by on 09.02.2010

Get the book I am reading: George Balanchine The Ballet Maker by Robert Gottlieb. Lincoln Kirstein was a Harvard undergraduate, who had an undying love for the arts.  He helped create the Harvard Society for Contemporary Art and was a huge fan of Diaghilev.  While visiting Europe in 1933, he had the opportunity to see Apollo, Prodigal Son, and La Chatte.  Kirstein immediately recognized Balanchine’s genius.  On July 11th, Kirstein met with Balanchine and offered to bring him to America.  The plan was to create a ballet school first, followed by a company made up of dancers who had been trained by Balanchine.  It was not until July...

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George Balanchine: Life After Ballets Russes.

Posted by on 08.26.2010

Get the book I am reading: “George Balanchine The Ballet Maker” by Robert Gottlieb. After Diaghilev’s death, Balanchine was off to Paris.  He had been recruited to set a new two-act ballet for the Paris Opera. It was implied that if he was successful in this venture, he would soon fill the position of the company’s maitre de ballet.  Shortly after beginning work on this new project, Mr. B became very ill and was unable to finish his work, which had been dubbed Les Creatures de Promethee. He was checked into a hospital in the French Alps and would remain there for three months.  Despite all odds, he made a full recovery.  Later in life he was...

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George Balanchine: Ballets Russes.

Posted by on 08.23.2010

Get the book I am reading: George Balanchine The Ballet Maker by Robert Gottlieb. After leaving Russia, Balanchine and his group, the Young Ballet, would travel to Paris and London, meeting up with Serge Diaghilev, the director of Ballets Russes.  Diaghilev hired the dancers of the struggling Young Ballet and allowed Balanchine to show him his choreography.  First, Balanchine was assigned to the opera ballets that needed to be freshened up a bit.  Diaghilev was impressed with his work and was later quoted saying, “I think he’s a genius.”   During this time Balanchine continued to dance and many recalled that he was quite a nice dancer.  In 1927 he...

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