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George Balanchine: The Ballet Maker (2004)

by Robert Gottlieb

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"Balanchine's life story is a fascinating journey - from his near-accidental enrollment, at the age of nine, in St. Petersburg's Imperial School of Ballet, through the deprivation and hunger of Bolshevik Russia, to Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, and finally, in 1933, to the United States and eventually to the New York City Ballet, to which his reputation is forever tied. As his fame spread around the world, Balanchine's ideas revolutionized ballet, extending the vocabulary of classical dance both through his teaching and through a series of great works, from his crucial collaboration with Stravinsky to his restagings of nineteenth-century classics, including the immensely popular Nutcracker." "Even as he was championing classical ballet during the thirties and forties, Balanchine was expanding the possibilities of dance on Broadway, choreographing a series of major musicals (four Rodgers and Hart shows, including On Your Toes, with its famous "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue"). Meanwhile in Hollywood, beginning with The Goldwyn Follies, he was successfully exploring the possibilities of filmed dance." "His personal life was as highly charged as his professional life, involving five dancer-wives, including Broadway stars Tamara Geva (On Your Toes) and Vera Zorina (I Married an Angel) and three great ballerinas, most notably Maria Tallchief." "Drawing on his own involvement with the New York City Ballet and his relationships with Balanchine, Lincoln Kirstein (who brought Balanchine to America), and many of Balanchine's leading colleagues, Gottlieb has produced a portrait of a vital man, one of the creative masters of the twentieth century."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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George Balanchine was born in St. Petersburg in 1904, the year after Marius Petipa (The Sleeping Beauty) created his last ballet at the Maryinsky Imperial Theatre and the year before Michael Folkine (Les Sylphides) created his first.
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"Balanchine's life story is a fascinating journey - from his near-accidental enrollment, at the age of nine, in St. Petersburg's Imperial School of Ballet, through the deprivation and hunger of Bolshevik Russia, to Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, and finally, in 1933, to the United States and eventually to the New York City Ballet, to which his reputation is forever tied. As his fame spread around the world, Balanchine's ideas revolutionized ballet, extending the vocabulary of classical dance both through his teaching and through a series of great works, from his crucial collaboration with Stravinsky to his restagings of nineteenth-century classics, including the immensely popular Nutcracker." "Even as he was championing classical ballet during the thirties and forties, Balanchine was expanding the possibilities of dance on Broadway, choreographing a series of major musicals (four Rodgers and Hart shows, including On Your Toes, with its famous "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue"). Meanwhile in Hollywood, beginning with The Goldwyn Follies, he was successfully exploring the possibilities of filmed dance." "His personal life was as highly charged as his professional life, involving five dancer-wives, including Broadway stars Tamara Geva (On Your Toes) and Vera Zorina (I Married an Angel) and three great ballerinas, most notably Maria Tallchief." "Drawing on his own involvement with the New York City Ballet and his relationships with Balanchine, Lincoln Kirstein (who brought Balanchine to America), and many of Balanchine's leading colleagues, Gottlieb has produced a portrait of a vital man, one of the creative masters of the twentieth century."--BOOK JACKET.

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