Maria Dare Dance History Collection
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George Balanchine

(1904 - 1983) age 79
His name was In The Diaghilev Ballet 1909-1929, by SL Grigoriev.  His name at birth was Giorgi Balanchivadze. It was changed to "Georges Balanchine.”  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 long lean look of today’s ballet dancers has evolved from emulating Balanchine’s style
. But, before all that, he was a dancer.

Balanchine’s Teaching

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.

Balanchine’s Choreography

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.

Early Years

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.

After 1933

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.


In addition to his casual affairs, Balanchine was married 4 times.  All his wives and his known affairs were with ballerinas.  Perhaps his most notable was his 3rd wife, Prima Ballerina Marie Tallchief.

Final Curtain Call

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.”

Eugene Loring

In the 1930s he studied with George Balanchine in New York.  He danced with several companies, including Fokine Ballet & Ballet Caravan, before going to L.A, where he choreographed dances for films produced by MGM.
During the time Maria Dare and other Ballet House dancers were in Hollywood, Eugene Loring  choreographed a few dances for the film Ziegfeld Follies,  He also staged dances for the films Thrill of Brazil (1946 ), The Fiesta (1947 ), Abbott and Costello's Mexican Hayride (1948 ), The Inspector General ( 1949 )
     In 1947, he founded the American School of Dance in Hollywood. Maria Dare Dance History Collection has some of Maria’s notes from classes she took at his school. 
     In 1965 he became founding chair of the Dance Department at the Univ. of California, Irvine.  He died in NY in 1982.
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