Mel Schierman, email@example.com
KARIN VON AROLDINGEN AND JEAN-PIERRE BONNEFOUX TO TAPE VIDEO SERIES FOR THE GEORGE BALANCHINE FOUNDATION
Former New York City Ballet principals to be taped coaching roles created for them by George Balanchine
New York City — Karin von Aroldingen and Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, former principal dancers with the New York City Ballet, will coach selections from Stravinsky Violin Concerto (originally titled Violin Concerto) for The George Balanchine Foundation’s Interpreters Archive. The ballet, created for them, as well as for Kay Mazzo and Peter Martins, for the New York City Ballet’s Stravinsky Festival in 1972, proved an instant success. The aim of the Balanchine Foundation’s Interpreters Archive video series is to document the insights of dancers, often principals from the original casts, who worked closely in the studio with Balanchine on his greatest ballets. The archive’s mission is to preserve this knowledge and pass it on to the dancers, scholars and audiences of today. The George Balanchine Foundation’s Video Archives are available through many public and university libraries throughout the world. In addition, the interview components of the series are publically available on the Balanchine Foundation’s YouTube Channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/blnchn). The filming will take place on Monday, September 26th, 2016, at the New York City Ballet studios in the Rose Building, Lincoln Center, New York City.
Von Aroldingen and Bonnefoux will work with NYCB principal dancers Rebecca Krohn and Amar Ramasar on excerpts from the opening Toccata, the Capriccio, and most notably the complete Aria I, one of the ballet’s two central pas de deux. (Aria II was coached on camera by Mazzo and Martins for the Interpreters Archive in 2012.) Nancy McDill, solo pianist of the New York City Ballet Orchestra, will accompany the coaching, and Elizabeth Kendall, author, dance critic and scholar, will conclude by interviewing von Aroldingen and Bonnefoux. The project has been organized by Paul Boos, répétiteur of the Balanchine Trust. The taping session will be supervised by Nancy Reynolds, the Foundation’s director of research, assisted by former film professor Virginia Brooks and filmmaker Gus Reed.
Stravinsky’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D major (1931) was first choreographed by Balanchine as Balustrade for the Original Ballet Russe in 1941. Save for a few snippets of performance film, that ballet has been lost. To the same music but with completely different choreography, Balanchine created Violin Concerto more than thirty years later for NYCB. Within the Stravinsky/Balanchine canon this later version is considered an ingenious neoclassical masterpiece, rigorous in its musicality while laced with unexpected Russian (Georgian) folk references. In critic Joseph Gale’s description, “the ballet is dazzlingly complex and uninterrupted by shifting groupings that eddy and flow about a counterpoint of dance, laid on—and often against—the music” (New York Daily News, 11/16/72).
The career of KARIN VON AROLDINGEN, former NYCB principal dancer, spans 22 years with the company, from 1962 to her retirement from dancing in 1984; and a further thirty years as one of the company's ballet masters. She began her studies in Berlin with Tatiana Gsovsky, working in the Russian classical tradition, and she studied modern, folk dancing, and jazz as well.
Von Aroldingen joined American Festival Ballet at 16 and, soon after, Frankfurt Ballet, where at 17 she was cast opposite Lotte Lenya as Anna in Seven Deadly Sins. It was Lenya who introduced the teen-aged von Aroldingen to Balanchine, who invited her to join NYCB. She entered the corps de ballet in 1962, was promoted to soloist in 1967, and named principal dancer in 1972. Balanchine choreographed many roles for von Aroldingen, most importantly Who Cares?, the “Elégie” of Tschaikovsky Suite No. 3, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Variations Pour Une Porte et Un Soupir, Union Jack, Vienna Waltzes, Kammermusik No. 2, and Robert Schumann's ‘Davidsbündlertänze.’
Von Aroldingen coached leading roles from Davidsbündlertänze for the Balanchine Foundation Video Archives in 2000 and the Suite No. 3 “Elégie” and her solo and pas de deux from Who Cares? earlier in 2016. Currently she is a trustee of the Balanchine Trust, which oversees the licensing of Balanchine’s ballets worldwide.
JEAN-PIERRE BONNEFOUX (formerly BONNEFOUS) began his dance career with the Paris Opera Ballet and later performed with the Bolshoi and Kirov companies. In 1970 he joined NYCB as principal dancer. During his tenure, Balanchine created roles for him in several ballets, including Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Cortège Hongrois, Sonatine, and Union Jack; Jerome Robbins's choreography for him included Beethoven Pas de Deux and An Evening's Waltzes. In 1977 Bonnefoux joined the faculty of the School of American Ballet (SAB).
Since his retirement from the stage in 1980, Bonnefoux has served as choreographer and ballet master for the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, as chairman and artistic director of the Ballet Department of the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, and as choreographer and teacher at the company and school of the Chautauqua Institute in western New York state, where he remains on the faculty. Since 1996 he has been artistic director of the North Carolina Dance Theater, based in Charlotte, NC. His choreographic works include Carmina Burana, Cinderella, Peter Pan, Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, and Shindig. In 2014, the company was renamed Charlotte Ballet.
In 2015 Bonnefoux was recorded with the late Violette Verdy coaching Sonatine for the GBF’s IA video series.
REBECCA KROHN was born in Vestal, New York. In 1995, she entered SAB as a scholarship student. Krohn became an apprentice with NYCB in the fall of 1998 and joined the corps de ballet in spring 1999. She was promoted in March 2006 to soloist and to principal in May 2012. Krohn was included in the Interpreters Archive’s principal cast of Stravinsky Violin Concerto.
AMAR RAMASAR was born in the Bronx, New York. He began his studies at the School of American Ballet (SAB), the official school of NYCB, in 1993. In addition, he studied at the American Ballet Theatre Summer Program and The Rock School of Pennsylvania Ballet. In July 2000, Ramasar became an apprentice with NYCB, and in July 2001 he joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet. In March of 2006 he was promoted to soloist and in October 2009 to principal dancer.
ELIZABETH KENDALL is a dance and culture critic and an associate professor of Writing/Literary Studies at New York’s New School (Eugene Lang College and Liberal Studies graduate faculties). Her book Balanchine and the Lost Muse: Revolution and the Making of a Choreographer was published in July, 2013, by Oxford U. Press (paperback summer 2015). She has also written Where She Danced, (Knopf & U. of California Press); The Runaway Bride: Hollywood Romantic Comedy of the l930’s (Knopf & Cooper Square Press), two memoirs, American Daughter (Random House, 2000) and Autobiography of a Wardrobe (Pantheon and Anchor/Doubleday, 2006), and magazine, newspaper and journal articles. She has received fellowships from the Rockefeller, Guggenheim, and Fulbright Foundations, NYPL’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, the Likhachev Foundation of Russia, and the Leon Levy Center for Biography. She is at work on an experimental biography of Balanchine.
PAUL BOOS is a former dancer with NYCB and répétiteur for the George Balanchine Trust. His Balanchine stagings for the Trust have been performed by such internationally known companies as the Mariinsky, Bolshoi, Paris Opera, La Scala, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Boston Ballet. He also guest teaches abroad and locally. In 2015 Paul became the Balanchine Foundation’s Video Archives Project Associate.
NANCY REYNOLDS, a former dancer with NYCB, has been director of research for The George Balanchine Foundation since 1994. She conceived and continues to direct the Video Archives program. Her most recent books are No Fixed Points: Dance in the Twentieth Century (co-authored with Malcolm McCormick) and Remembering Lincoln. In 2013 she received a “Bessie” award for “outstanding service to the field of dance.”
VIRGINIA BROOKS, Professor Emerita of Film at Brooklyn College/CUNY and director of several dance documentaries, has been editor of the Balanchine Foundation's Video Archives since its inception in 1994.
GUS REED, a New York City-based filmmaker, specializes in capturing and editing dance. His recent projects include videos for NYCB's "Project Ballet" initiative, the Jerome Robbins Foundation, Emery LeCrone Dance and the Liz Gerring Dance Company. Gus has been associated with GBF since the fall of 2014, and is an editor of the Balanchine Foundation's Video Archives.
The George Balanchine Foundation (www.balanchine.org) is a not for profit corporation established in 1983. Its mission is to create programs that educate the public and further Balanchine's work and aesthetic, with the goal of advancing high standards of excellence in dance and its allied arts. Among the Foundation's major initiatives are the Video Archives (http://www.balanchine.org/balanchine/03/gbfvideoarchives.html), in which dancers who worked closely with Balanchine teach and coach their roles to the dancers of today (Interpreters Archive) or recreate Balanchine ballets that are rarely performed and in danger of disappearing (Archive of Lost Choreography). Legendary dancers who have taken part in this project include Alicia Markova, Maria Tallchief, Frederic Franklin, Alicia Alonso, Melissa Hayden, Allegra Kent, Todd Bolender, Merrill Ashley, Suzanne Farrell, Rosella Hightower, Marie-Jeanne, Violette Verdy, Edward Villella, Patricia Wilde, Yvonne Mounsey, and Helgi Tomasson, working with leading dancers from such companies as New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, and The Suzanne Farrell Ballet, among others.
In 2007 the Foundation announced the completion of another major initiative, the online publication of the Balanchine Catalogue, a fully searchable database giving first-performance details of all known dances created by Balanchine, supplemented by lists of companies staging the ballets, a bibliography, a videography, reference resources, a database of roles Balanchine performed, and additional related materials (http://www.balanchine.org/balanchine/03/balanchinecataloguenew.html). The project was made possible by a leadership grant from The Jerome Robbins Foundation.