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Biography of Todd Bolender (1914-2006)


Dancer, choreographer and artistic director American, born in Canton (Ohio) on February 17, 1914 and died in Kansas City on October 12.

He began his dance studies with teachers Chester Hale, Anatole Vilzak.Later he expanded his training at the School of American Ballet in New York. In 1936 he joined the Ballet Caravan, then called American Ballet Caravan, where premiered: Filling Station (1938) by Lew Christensen, Billy the Kid (1938) and City Portrait (1939) of Eugene Loring, A Thousand Times Neigh! (1940) and William Dollar Divertimento (1941) of George Balanchine.

He served as director of the American Ballet Concert, and started his career as choreographer with Mother Goose Suite (Ravel, 1943), composition for this group. He danced with the Ballet of Catherine Littlefield and the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, where he choreographed comedy Balletica (Stravinsky, 1945) and premiered Raymonda (1946) of Balanchine and Danilova. Between 1946 and 1957 he was dancer and choreographer of the Ballet Society, called New York City Ballet from 1948, where the main roles of the ballets premiered: The Four Temperaments (1946), Renard (1947), Symphonie Concertante (1947), Metamorphoses (1952) and Agon (1957) of Balanchine, Highland Flying (1947) of Dollar, and Age of Anxiety (1950), The Pied Piper (1951), Fanfare (1953), Quartet (1954) and The Concert (1956) by Jerome Robbins. For this company, choreographed ballets: Zodiac (Revil, 1947), Capricorn Concerto (Barber, 1948), The Miraculous Mandarin (Bartók, 1951), Souvenirs (Barber, 1955), The Still Point (Debussy, 1956) and Creation of the World (Milhaud, 1960).

He served as director and choreographer of the Opera of Cologne (1963-66) and the Ballet Frankfurt (1966-69), for those who created: Theme and Variations (Blacher, 1963), Contrasts (Zimmermann, 1964) and Time Cycle (Foss, 1967). In 1975 he co-founded, along with Janet Reed, the Pacific Northwest Ballet, which he directed until 1977. In 1981 he was appointed artistic director of the Kansas City Ballet, called State Ballet of Missouri since 1986. This company has created: Tchaikovsky Suite (Tchaikovsky, 1981), Classical Symphony (Prokofiev, 1982), Grand Tarantella (Gottschalk, 1983), An American in Paris (Gershwin, 1987) and Tchaikovsky Dances (Tchaikovsky, 1992), among others. In May 1996 he was replaced by William Whitener in the directorship of the State Ballet of Missouri, although Bolender remained at that institution as a choreographer and teacher.

Todd Bolender, man tenacious, enterprising and great musical sensitivity, died on 12 October, at the age of 92, in Kansas City.


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