George Balanchine is an influential choreographer who brought neoclassic ballet and modern dance to America. He was born and trained in Russia, but he went to Paris with Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes company. There he worked with talented artists of many fields such as Picasso and Stravinsky. After going to America, he established American ballet schools such as the Ballet Society, New York City Ballet, and School of American Ballet. He choreographed for modern entertainment medias such as in the film Ballet Russes de Monte Carlo, and in the Broadway show On Your Toes.

He was fond of the classical style of training, but he also developed his own style of ballet training and performances. Instead of the classical costume of tutus and fancy dresses in the classical performances, Balanchine chose leotards and tights for costumes to make the dances look clean and simple. He incorporated classical, modern, tango and jazz elements into his dances. They were known to be technically challenging to dancer, because they require a tremendous amount of control and flexibility.

I found Jewels, one of his classical pieces mindblowing. It is in three acts: Emeralds, Rubies, and diamonds. This piece requires dancers to have both the speed and the strength to stop the momentum and hold a position. The leg movements are quick so quick that they could not quite be captured by the camera. Interesting poses were another shining point in this dance. In every pas de deux, the male and female characters echo beautifully with both their faces and their bodies.

(Jewels by Paris Opera Ballet)

Reference:

Susan Au. “Balanchine, George.” Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. Web. 7 Nov. 2016.<http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/grove/music/A2256143>.

“George Balanchine.” George Balanchine. New York City Ballet, n.d. Web. 06 Nov. 2016. .

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