Biography of George Balanchine (1904-1983)

Dancer, choreographer, teacher of ballet and American artistic director, of Russian origin, born in Petersburgo on January 22, 1904 and died in New York on April 30, 1983, whose original name was Georgy Melitonovich Balanchivadze.

Son of a composer, Balanchine began his studies in dance at the school of the Imperial Theatre in 1913 and made his debut with fifteen years in the role of the Nutcracker Prince. After graduating in 1921 he/she joined the Gosudarstvenny Akademichesky Teatr Oper, while he/she continued piano studies at the Petrograd Conservatory until 1924. As choreographer was released with the ballet La Nuit (Rubinstein, 1920), created for the school of the Marinsky Theatre, as well as some experimental choreography for the Mikhailovsky theatre of Petrograd, as: Boeuf Sur le Toit (Milhaud, 1920) and a scene for César and Cleopatra by Brian Shaw. Unconventional tendencies of these works do not please the direction of the school. In 1924 he/she undertook a tour authorized by West with a small group of Soviet dancers, who included Tamara Geva , Alexandra Danilova, and Nicholas Efimoff.

Upon his arrival in Paris, Balanchine auditioned for Diaghilevand after demonstrating his skills as a dancer and choreographer, he/she was immediately hired in Diaghilev's Ballets Russes to carry out the work of principal choreographer of the company in 1925. At this time he/she changed his Russian name by George Balanchine. For this company choreographed eleven ballets: Barabau (Rieti, 1925), l'enfant et les sortilèges (Ravel, 1925), Le Chant du Rossignol (Stravinsky, 1925), La Pastorale (Auric, 1926), Jack in the Box (Satie, 1926), The Triumph of Neptune (Berners, 1926), La Chatte (Sauguet, 1927), Apollon Musagète (Stravinsky, 1928), The Gods Go a-Begging (Handel, 1928), Le Bal (Rieti, 1929) and Le Fils Prodigue (Prokofiev, 1929).

After the death of Diaghilev in 1929, Balanchine choreographed for the Royal Danish Ballet, Les Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo, l' Opéra de Paris and works such as: La Concurrence (Auric, 1932), party supplies (Chabrier, 1932), and Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme (R. Strauss, 1932). The company Les Ballets 1933 was created in 1933 for a single season, in this ballet Balanchine was choreographer and artistic director. For this group created: Mozartiana (Mozart), Les Sept péchés Capitaux (Weill), Errante (Schubert and Liszt) and Fastes (Sauguet). His work was very well received by the patron of the arts American Lincoln Kirstein, who invited him in 1933 to New York so Balanchine take care of the creation of the School of American Ballet, funded by the own Kirstein and F. M. Warburg.

In 1935, Balanchine managed to form a vantage group of pupils, with those who formed the American Ballet. From this period are his choreography: Serenade (Tchaikovsky, 1934) originally created for the School of American Ballet and premiered at the residence of Warburg, Alma Mater (Swift and Gould, 1935), Reminiscence (Godard, 1935) and Chaconne (Gluck, 1936). Between 1935 and 1938, the company had its headquarters in the Metropolitan Opera House of New York, where a Stravinsky Festival was held in 1937, for the occasion, Balanchine choreographed Le Baiser de la fée and Jeu de Cartes. In 1936, Kirstein had formed the Ballet Caravan, with a repertoire of American choreographers; shortly afterwards, in 1941, this company and the American Ballet merged to form the American Ballet Caravan, which debuted with a tour of South America with the choreography of Balanchine Concerto Barocco (Bach, 1941) and Imperial Ballet (Tchaikovsky, 1941).

For as long as the war lasted, Balanchine worked for the Original Ballet Russe and the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, for those who rode: Danses Concertantes (Stravinsky, 1944), Night Shadow (Bellini and Rieti, 1946) and Raymonda (Glazunov, 1946), the latter along with Danilova. In 1946, Balanchine and Kirstein founded Ballet Society, for which Balanchine choreographed: The Four Temperaments (Hindemith, 1946), Renard (Stravinsky, 1947), The Triumph of Bacchus and Ariadne (Rieti, 1948) and Orpheus (Stravinsky, 1948). When the company was invited to the New York City Center of Music and Drama, was proposed to you that this was its usual headquarters, changing its name to the New York City Ballet.

Meanwhile, Balanchine was still choreographing for other companies: Le Palais de Cristal (Bizet, 1947) for l' Opéra de Paris, later called Symphony in C, and Theme and Variations (Tchaikovsky, 1947) for the Ballet Theatre. Of the more than one hundred and fifty choreographies that Balanchine created for the New York City Ballet include some like: Firebird (Stravinsky, 1949), Bourré Fantasque (Chabrier, 1949), Sylvia Pas de Deux (Delibes, 1950), La Valse (Ravel, 1951), neither (Mozart, 1952), Scotch Symphony (Mendelssohn, 1952), Opus 34 (Schoenberg, 1954), Nutcracker (Tchaikovsky, 1954), Western Symphony (Kay, 1954), Ivesian (Ives, 1954), Pas de Dix (Glazunov1955), brilliant allegro (Tchaikovsky, 1956), Divertimento No. 15 (Mozart, 1956), Agon (Stravinsky, 1957), Stars and Stripes (Sousa and Kay, 1958), a new version of The Seven Deadly Sins (Weill, 1958), Episodes II (Webern, 1959), Monumentum pro Gesualdo (Stravinsky, 1960), Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux (Tchaikovsky, 1960), Liebeslieder Walzer (Brahms, 1960), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Mendelssohn, 1962), Bugaku (Mayuzumi, 1963), Movements for Piano and Orchestra (Stravinsky(, 1963), don Quixote (Nabokov, 1965), which he/she himself premiered with Suzanne Farrell, Harlequinade (Drigo, 1965), Variations (Stravinsky, 1966), Jewels (Faure, Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky, 1967), Metastaseis and Pithoprakta (Xenakis, 1968), Slaughter on Tenth Avenue (Rodgers, 1968), Who Cares? (Gershwin, 1970), PAMTGG (Kellaway, 1971), Symphony in Three Movements (Stravinsky, 1972), Violin Concerto (Stravinsky, 1972), Pulcinella (Stravinsky, 1972) along with Jerome Robbins, Duo Concertant (Stravinsky, 1972), Variations pour une Porte et a Soupir (Henry, 1974), Coppelia (Delibes, 1974) along with Danilova, Sonatine (Ravel, 1975), Tzigane (Ravel, 1975), Le Tombeau de Couperin (Ravel, 1975), Union Jack (Kay, 1976), Vienna Waltzes (J. Strauss(, Lehar and R. Strauss, 1977), Ballo della Regina (Verdi, 1978), Kammermusik N ° 2 (Hindemith, 1978), Davidsbundlertanze (Schumann, 1980) and Variations for Orchestra (Stravinsky, 1982).

He toured the world with his company, he/she first visited the USSR in 1962. From 1964, the New York City Ballet had its headquarters in the New York State Theater at Lincoln Center. Balanchine also choreographed for musicals, among them: On Your Toes (1936) and The Boys from Syracuse (1938), as well as for movies: television and The Goldwyn Follies (1938), and A Midsummer Night's Dream (1966): Noah and the Flood (Stravinsky, 1962). Author of the Balanchine completo Complete Stories of the Great Ballets, edited by Francis Mason (New York, 1954). He/She was awarded the Dance Magazine Award (1964), Handel Medallion from New York City (1970) and order of the Legion of Honor of France (1975), American Medal of freedom (1983). He/She was artistic director of the company until 1982, shortly before his death. He/She was married to Tamara Geva, Vera Zorina, Maria Tallchief and Tanaquil LeClercq. On August 15, 1952 is the New York City Ballet first presented in Spain, in the theatre of the Liceo of Barcelona.