His name was "Georges Balanchine." In The Diaghilev Ballet 19909-1929, by SL Grigoriev. His name at birth was Giorgi Balanchivadze. American ballet knows him as George Balanchine, the man who changed the face of ballet as easily as he changed the spelling of his name. He is best known as a teacher and choreographer of over 400 ballets. In New York, Balanchine developed his unique ballet combinations that produced dancers with long lean muscles, dancers who were strong, quick, flexible. He needed such dancers for his complex choreography. The Balanchine Style has swept the country. Most of what’s seen on stages today has evolved from Balanchine. But, before all that, he was a dancer.
Above: George Balanchine, 1938 article stated, “With the American Ballet, Balanchine added new lustre to his standing with his choreograph of 3 Stravinsky ballets last spring: creating A Card Party and recreating La Baiser de la Fee and Apollon Musagetes. As Independent choreographer, he has imaginatively blended various dance forms and techniques in On Your Toes and Babes in Arms on the musical comedy stage and in the Goldwyn Follies of 1938 on the screen. Thus he has transplanted his artistic roots from his native European soil to his adopted America.”
from Dance Magazine, Jan. 1938
He was born in Saint Petersburg, Russia, to a Georgian father and a Russian mother. In 1913 (age 9) Balanchine was accepted into the Imperial Ballet School, St Petersburg, Russia. 1921, he was in the corps de ballet at the Mariinsky . In 1924 (age 20) Balanchine was on a tour in Germany with the Soviet State Dancers. Balanchine, his wife Tamara Geva, dancers Alexandra Danilova, and Nicholas Efimov, defected, fled to Paris. Balanchine joined Diaghilev's Ballet Russe. He quickly became a choreographer for Daighilev.
Americans hear less of Dolin because he spent most of his time in England, however, he inspired American dancers on his USA tours. He could hang a jump in the air (meaning to hover).
Anton Dolin was born in Sussex England as Sydney Francis Patrick Chippendall Healey-Kay, but was generally known as Patrick Kay. Dolin joined Diaghilev Co. in 1921. He was same age as Balanchine who joined Diaghilev Co. 1924. Alicia Markova joined Diaghilev Co in 1924 but was too young to perform.
In 1930, Dolin came to USA with International Review. In 1935, Anton Dolin & Alicia Markova start Markova-Dolin Co. & toured England. In 1938, Dolin became Premier Danseur for Covent Gardens Russian Ballet and appeared in Australia Tour- July 1939. He then joined Ballet Theatre New York & moved to New York in 1940. Ballet Theatre brought Anton Dolin to Portland OR during the 1943-44 & 1945-1946 tours. He returned to Great Britain and re-established the Markova-Dolin Co. in 1949. Anton Dolin started Festival Ballet of London and remained with the company until 1961. Dolin remained active in dance throughout his life. He died, 1983, in Paris.
Balanchine arrived New York in fall 1933. By January 1934, the School of American Ballet was accepting students. There Balanchine developed his teaching style and his dancers’ style.In 1935 he formed a professional company, the American Ballet. It served as the house company for the Metropolitan Opera. He moved his company to Hollywood in 1938. From 1944 to 1946, (World War II) Balanchine served as resident choreographer for the Ballet Russes de Monte Carlo. Then he formed a new dance company, the Ballet Society, which became New York City Ballet in 1948. During the 1960s, Balanchine played the title role in the ballet Don Quixote.
His Deathbed Declaration:
Shortly before he died, 1983, a ballerina went to visit him at the hospital. As she entered his room, she saw him focused on movements of his fingers. Balanchine looked at her and at his fingers. He said something similar to, “You see, I’m still dancing.”
style reshaped ballerinas as much as his choreography reshaped ballet. Under his technique, dancer's muscles, once wide and muscular in appearance became long and lean. The vision of today's ballerina is the vision of a Balanchine ballerina, achieved not from diet but from the types of exercises undertaken.
reshaped ballet. No longer the predicable combinations once or twice to the right then repeat to the left. Balanchine choreography always keeps one guessing about what may come next. It tends to be quicker than the traditional -pleasing to the eye, yet too quick for hanging jumps in the air, or landing softly with a good plie. Thirty-nine of his 400 ballets were choreographed to music by Igor Stravinsky.
also reshaped the costumes used by ballet. It was said that he found the traditional tutu distasteful for it hid the beauty of the line form and movement. While this may be very true, he may have seen the skyrocketing costs of tutus and thought who needs them? Whatever his motives, it is now common to see ballet dancers performing in tights and leotards rather than tutus.
Video: Dancing for Mr B - Six Balanchine Ballerinas / Moylan, Tallchief, Ashley, Kistler, Hayden, Kent (2008)
Right: Ad for Sch of American Ballet from The American Dancer Dec. 1934
Above: “Balanchine amid his new breed: ‘Dancers are like thoroughbreds’” from Newsweek, 13 Jan 1969
Above: Anton Dolin from The Diaghilev Ballet 1909-1929, by S. Grigoriev
Maria Dare Dance History Collection has several Dolin programs, & possibly some of his choreography. Maria Dare regarded him as a "friend" rather than an acquaintance. There is no doubt that he was one of the "roots of ballet" that Maria found important to preserve. No doubt that he and Markova were significant influences on the Maria Dare Style.
Above: Anton Dolin, “The Young Irishman is regarded as the logical successor to Nijinsky. Dolin is dancing with the Diaghileff Ballet on the continent, but he maintains a school in London.”from The Dance, May 1926
Above: Anton Dolin,“In a new dance not yet publicly presented.” from Dancing Times, Dec 1925, London
Above: Alicia Markova, Anton Dolin – PDD from 'A Song for Miss Julie' (1945)
Above: “In memoriam Olga Spessivtseva si sir Anton Dolin” It'isTraditional Ballet Magic. 8 min (Warning: Sound shrill at intro,
but improves.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Vk72-MXgWI
Above: Alicia Markova, Anton Dolin, [Giselle?] from Ballet Theatre program 1943-4,
Above: Alicia Markova as Giselle from The Borzoi Book of Ballets
Alicia Markova was born in London, as Alicia Marks. She began dancing on medical advice to improve muscle strength. She joined Diaghilev Co. when she was 14 years old, a year after Balanchine had joined. In 1932 she joined Vic Wells Co. of England. Anton Dolin & Alicia Markova started Markova-Dolin Co. in 1935 & toured England. Ballet Theatre brought Markova to Portland OR during the 1945-1946 tour. She re-established the Markova-Dolin Co. in 1949. She was also a founder dancer of the Rambert Dance Company, The Royal Ballet and American Ballet Theatre, and was co-founder and director of the English National Ballet, President of the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) among other things. She retired from professional dancing in 1963 at age 52. She continued to teach during her retirement years. She died 2004 in Bath UK.
Video of Markova Teaching:
George Balanchine, Anton Dolin, Lydia Loupokova - 'Dark Red Roses' (1929)
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