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About George Balanchine

“We must first realize that dancing is an absolutely independent art, not merely a secondary accompanying one. I believe that it is one of the great arts.”

- George Balanchine
George Balanchine

Prodigious in his output, choreographing hundreds of ballets as well as works for Broadway, Hollywood, television and vaudeville, Balanchine revolutionized the way dance was taught in America with the founding of his school and company, changing the style and look of ballet and opening the eyes and ears of audiences to the marriage of music and dance.

Balanchine, eyes looking left, in full costume, hair and makeup for Don Quixote
George Balanchine teaching company class, dancers at the barre in attitude front looking under their raised arm
New York City Ballet

As artistic director of the New York City Ballet and its predecessor companies, Balanchine supervised rehearsals and performances and was an active collaborator in the creation of the music, set design, costumes, hair and makeup, props and lighting.

School of American Ballet

Founded in 1934, Balanchine’s School of American Ballet focuses on a streamlined and clarified classical style that revolutionized dance and is still taught today.

Beyond Ballet

Balanchine set pieces for opera, Hollywood, Broadway, the circus, television and British vaudeville, bringing his choreography to a wider audience whom he loved to entertain, successfully blurring the lines between the artistic and the commercial in dance.

The Virtuoso
Balanchine standing paintbrush in hand in front of a cabinet he designed and painted

Balanchine was a man of many talents outside the theater. Among his favorite divertissements were music, painting, carpentry and cooking. He could produce a piano reduction for a symphony as easily as a lavish Russian Easter buffet, and was lauded for both.

Balanchine sitting playing the piano at home with cat watching