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Mel Schierman,



Former New York City Ballet Principal Dancer to coach Tarantella, choreographed on her and Edward Villella by George Balanchine

New York City — Patricia McBride, whose stellar career with New York City Ballet spanned three decades, will teach and coach on camera the exuberant ballet Tarantella with young dancers from NYCB. Recording will take place on February 26, 2018, in the New York City Ballet studios in the Rose Building, Lincoln Center, New York. McBride will work with Emma von Enck and Roman Mejia, former students at the School of American Ballet, both of whom joined the corps of NYCB in 2017. In the summer of the same year, Mejia performed Tarantella at the Vail International Dance Festival.

The recording will be supervised by Nancy Reynolds, the Foundation’s director of research, assisted by Paul Boos, project associate, and editors Gus Reed and Virginia Brooks. Elaine Chelton, solo pianist with the NYCB orchestra, will accompany the coaching session, after which McBride will be interviewed by critic and author Elizabeth Kendall.

The resulting video will become part of the George Balanchine Foundation’s Interpreters Archive, now numbering over 50 programs. The aim of this series is to document the insights of the originators or important later interpreters of key roles in the Balanchine repertory and to preserve and pass on this knowledge, particularly including references to Balanchine’s ideas at the time of creation, to the dancers, scholars, and audiences of today. The Balanchine Video Archives are available world-wide through public and university libraries. In addition, the interview components are available on the Balanchine Foundation’s YouTube channel (

When Tarantella premiered in 1964, critics were enchanted. P.W. Manchester described it as “a little beauty, brilliant, zestful, racing along at breakneck speed . . . . It lasts only about five minutes but the two dancers, McBride and Villella, have breathing space only for brief periods when one of them dashes off and leaves the other temporarily alone. . . . It would be a poor heart that did not rejoice” (Dance News, February 1964; Christian Science Monitor, 22 January 1964).

McBride remarked, “I’m sure that Mr. B, in making Tarantella for me, helped me to move faster, to develop speed.” She also noted the challengingly complex rhythms in the Gottschalk score. (According to Balanchine, the composer Louis Moreau Gottschalk, born in New Orleans, was well known in Russia when Balanchine was growing up.)

Dancers have described this breathless work, despite its brevity, as one of the ultimate tests of stamina in the repertoire.


PATRICIA McBRIDE, in a long and illustrious career with NYCB, had an extraordinarily large number of major works created on her by George Balanchine, including “Rubies,” , Who Cares?, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Hermia), Harlequinade, Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet (Intermezzo), Union Jack, Coppélia, and Divertimento from ‘Le Baiser de la Fée,’ among several others. McBride was also favored by Jerome Robbins, who created principal roles for her in Dances at a Gathering, The Goldberg Variations, In the Night, The Four Seasons, and Opus 19/The Dreamer, among others. With her frequent partner Edward Villella she performed on concert stages all over the world. Among her other partners were some of the most noted male dancers of her generation, including Mikhail Baryshnikov, Helgi Tomasson, and Peter Martins. McBride danced for five American presidents. She is the recipient of a Dance Magazine Award and the Kennedy Center Honors. She is presently Associate Artistic Director and Master Teacher at Charlotte Ballet, specializing in the Balanchine repertoire.

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.

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. As an author, 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. He has served as associate editor of the Balanchine Foundation's Video Archives since the fall of 2014.

The George Balanchine Foundation ( 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.


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