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George Balanchine (1904—1983) Russian-born American ballet dancer and choreographer

Lincoln Kirstein (1907—1996)

Jerome Robbins (1918—1998) American ballet dancer and choreographer

Peter Martins (b. 1946)


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New York City Ballet

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US ballet company based in New York. It was founded by Lincoln Kirstein and George Balanchine and grew out of their previous enterprises, the American Ballet, Ballet Caravan, and Ballet Society. It took its present name in 1948 upon becoming the resident ballet company of the New York City Center for Music and Drama. Its opening programme was Concerto Barocco, Orpheus, and Symphony in C; its first box office triumph was Firebird, with Maria Tallchief, who went on to become America's first internationally famous ballerina. With Kirstein as general manager, Balanchine as artistic director, and Jerome Robbins as co-director (he joined in 1949), NYCB rapidly established itself as one of the world's leading ballet companies. It began touring abroad in 1950 and its brilliant and distinctive repertoire came to embody a new American style of dance: virtuosity in the strict classical tradition of Balanchine's Russian heritage married to a speedy and attacking dynamic more reflective of modern American life. Neo-classicism reached its apogee in the abstract works Balanchine created for NYCB as well as in the generations of dancers trained to perform them, headed by names such as Tanaquil LeClerc, Edward Villella, Arthur Mitchell, Suzanne Farrell, Merrill Ashley, and Darci Kistler. In 1964 the company moved to the New York State Theater at Lincoln Center, a 2,500-seat theatre designed to Balanchine's specifications. It is still housed there today. In 1972 the company undertook its most ambitious project, the Stravinsky Festival, for which 21 new ballets were choreographed to the composer's music. Balanchine continued to run the company (with Robbins as co-ballet master and creator of many important works) until his death in 1983, at which point Peter Martins and Robbins took over direction. Robbins left the position shortly afterwards leaving Martins in sole charge. While continuing to maintain the Balanchine works as the company's backbone, Martins has added ballets of his own, as well as opening up the repertoire to outside choreographers such as Forsythe, Stroman, and Tharp and between 2001 and 2007 employing Christopher Wheeldon as resident choreographer. The company's associated school, the School of American Ballet, which was founded in 1933, is one of the world's leading training organizations and continues to provide NYCB with most of its dancers. Website for New York City Ballet

Subjects: Performing artsDance

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