George Balanchine: New York City Ballet

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New York City Ballet George Balanchine was born in 1904 and was raised in St. Petersburg. As the son of a composer, Balanchine’s piano study began at the age of five. After graduating from the Imperial Ballet School in 1921, Balanchine enrolled at the state’s Conservatory of Music where he studied piano and musical theory. Balanchine’s musical background gave him an advantage over other choreographers because he more fully understood the music he was dancing to (“Biography”). The first time George Balanchine danced was as a cupid in the Maryinsky Theatre Ballet Company Production of The Sleeping Beauty, his favorite ballet (“George Balanchine”). He later joined the company as part of the corps de ballet at age seventeen. Balanchine…show more content…
He was the son of Louis Kirstein and was raised in Boston, Massachusetts. Kirstein’ first attendance of a ballet performance was at the age of twelve when Anna Pavlova came to Boston in 1920 (“Lincoln Kirstein 1907-1996”). Ballet became Kirstein’s passion. After seeing a musical with his sister and father, he wrote in his journal, “Nothing does [fill the demands of my heart and eye] like the ballet (qtd. from Kristanits).” Kirstein visited London during the summer of his junior year at Harvard and went to a Diaghilev ballet seven times in ten evenings. In 1933, Kirstein met George Balanchine at the Savoy Theatre in London. Kirstein had already seen several of Balanchine’s works, including a performance by Balanchine’s company Les Ballets. Kirstein explained his dream of beginning a ballet company in America to Balanchine, and Balanchine replied famously, “But first, a school (qtd. From “Lincoln Kirstein 1907-1996”).” The School of American Ballet was opened on January 2, 1934 with 32 enrolled students. The faculty included Pierre Vladimiroff, Dorothie Littlefield, and Muriel Stewart, the latter having studied with Anna Pavlova. Kirstein said of the SAB, “The School of American Ballet has been founded for one purpose only: to provide dancers as well-trained as any other technician, whether it be surgeon, architect, or musician (“January

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