Friday, September 20, 2013

George Balanchine

George Balanchine, was born in St. Petersburg, Russia and is regarded as the foremost contemporary choreographer in the world of ballet. Balanchine began to choreograph while still in his teens, creating his first work around 1920. Balanchine formed Les Ballets 1933. For the company's first-and only-season, he created six new ballets, in collaboration with such leading artistic figures as Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill, and Pavel Tchelitchew. The troupe disbanded in a matter of months and Balanchine was offered a position at a ballet school in New York City and accepted the position. Thus, the School of American Ballet, founded in 1934. The School remains in operation to this day, training dancers for the New York City Ballet and companies worldwide. The first ballet Balanchine choreographed in America was Serenade. Balanchine created and toured with many different shows during the next 23 years. From 1946 until his death in 1983, Balanchine served as ballet master for the New York City Ballet. Although it is for ballet choreography that he is most noted, Balanchine also worked in musical theater and movies. Balanchine also created new work for television. In 1970, U.S.News and World Report attempted to summarize Balanchine's achievements: "The greatest choreographer of our time, George Balanchine is responsible for the successful fusion of modern concepts with older ideas of classical ballet. Balanchine received his training in Russia before coming to America in 1933. Here, the free-flowing U.S. dance forms stimulated him to develop new techniques in dance design and presentation, which have altered the thinking of the world of dance.

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