The George Balanchine Foundation
News & Events
Suzanne Farrell wearing a white diamonds costume in attitude front on pointe, held up by a kneeling George Balanchine in front of a suited man atop a white horse on a racetrack in Saratoga Springs, NY

“A ballet is a movement in time and space, a living moment. Like a hothouse flower, it blooms, then dies. A ballet is life.”

– George Balanchine

Celebrating 90 Years of SAB at the New York Public Library

On March 18, 2024, join us in a discussion at the Bruno Walter Auditorium featuring a panel moderated by Steven Caras, live demonstrations of classroom work by students from SAB, and insight into how Balanchine built off a Russian training in his choreography and style.

Remembering Mel

It is with profound sadness that The George Balanchine Foundation mourns the passing of our cherished President, Melvin (Mel) Schierman. His stalwart devotion to the legacies of George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein was boundless and invaluable, and for over two decades he has been the gentle, dignified heart and soul of The Balanchine Foundation. Our deepest condolences to his family, especially his beloved wife Alex, and to all who loved him as we did.

Mel Schierman
Suki Schorer coaching Isabella LaFreniere
Francia Russell coaching Chloe Misseldine
Robbie Fairchild with three muses

Apollo's Muses

Continuing the exploration of Balanchine’s seminal Apollo, Kay Mazzo, Francia Russell and Suki Schorer coached the muses July 9-10, 2023 and were interviewed by Alastair Macaulay. American Ballet Theater’s principal dancer Devon Teuscher and soloist Chloe Misseldine were joined by principal New York City Ballet dancer Isabella LaFreniere and former principal Robert Fairchild to dance the pas d’action, pas de deux, three female variations, coda and the Apotheosis or ascent to Parnassus.

Kay Mazzo and Robert Fairchild
Devon Teuscher and Robert Fairchild in Apollo

Love, loss and tragedy in The Steadfast Tin Soldier

This Hans Christian Andersen-inspired duet, The Steadfast Tin Soldier, conveys the story of a tin soldier’s love of a paper doll, brought to life in the coaching on June 4, 2023 by current NYCB soloist Erica Pereira and principal Roman Mejia, accompanied by NYCB rehearsal pianist Michael Scales. Coaches Patricia McBride and Peter Schaufuss shared insights they learned directly from Balanchine as originals in the roles.

Patricia McBride coaching Erica Periera and Roman Mejia
Patricia McBride, Peter Schaufuss coaching Roman Mejia and Erica Periera
Patricia McBride coaching Erica Pereira

A sugar-spun delicacy – Coaching The Nutcracker

On May 1, 2023, Patricia McBride coached Erica Pereira in the sugar plum variation from George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, with Roman Mejia joining to be coached in the pas de deux and coda. McBride, known for her radiant and regal interpretation of the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy, shared her sense of wonder and experimentation with the polished dancers to bring out nuances of the choreography.

Roman Mejia and Erica Pereira in a dip

An atmospheric dance and a peek into a bygone era

The Dance of the Angel of Death, from Orpheus, is a mysterious dance for two men. As coached by Adam Luders on April 10, 2023, it becomes clear this dance is more of a trio, with Orpheus’ lyre playing a significant role in the atmospheric dance demonstrated by New York City Ballet principal dancers Joseph Gordon and Russell Janzen. 

Adam Luders coaching Joseph Gordon and Russell Janzen in Orpheus
Russell Janzen and Joseph Gordon holding hands, jumping
Miriam Miller and Russell Janzen in Vienna Waltzes

On the same day, Stephanie Saland joined Mr. Luders to coach Miriam Miller and Mr. Janzen in the final section of Vienna Waltzes from Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier. Here again is an example of choreography focused less on recognizable ballet steps and more on inventive partnering and the fluidity of the upper body.

Adam Luders and Colleen Neary coaching Peter Walker and Emily Gerrity

Kammermusik – A great theatrical adventure

Kammermusik No. 2, choreographed in 1978, is a musically and choreographically complex ballet that reveals new elements of peculiarities and ingenuity upon each subsequent viewing. Coached by Adam Luders and Colleen Neary on April 3, 2023, New York City Ballet dancers Emilie Gerrity, Mira Nadon, Gilbert Bolden III and Peter Walker clarified the various poetic complexities with aplomb.

Peter Walker and Gilbert Bolden III in a grand jete
Suzy Pilarre with Olivia McKinnon and Mimi Staker

Delicacy, lightness, a feeling of being windswept in Valse Fantaisie

In the first Video Archives coaching focused purely on the corps de ballet, Susan Pilarre coached Meaghan Dutton-O’Hara, Olivia MacKinnon, Mimi Staker and Emma von Enck in Valse Fantaisie on February 27, 2023. Simple in construction yet rich in spirit, this ballet prominently features the four corps dancers who execute sprightly steps throughout the work. 

Valse Fantaisie corps, jumping in a circle holding hands

The elusiveness of sense experience in Ballade

For the first filming of 2023 held on January 16, Merrill Ashley and Adam Luders coached the principal roles from Ballade on two Miami City Ballet dancers. Principal soloist Hannah Fischer and principal Renan Cerdeiro embodied the choreography as remembered by Ms. Ashley and Mr. Luders from the rarely performed work, demonstrating the dynamic changes in direction and momentum while also expressing the deep emotional relationship at the heart of the ballet. 

Renan and Hannah demonstrating a lift with Merrill Ashley coaching
Helgi Tomasson and Patti McBride in the studio, holding hands and smiling

A ballet of subliminal and foreboding mystery

On May 31, 2022, Patricia McBride and Helgi Tomasson coached NYCB soloist Erica Pereira and principal dancer Anthony Huxley in the roles McBride and Tomasson originated in Balanchine’s Divertimento from Le Baiser de la Fée. Shortly after its 1972 Stravinsky Festival premiere NY Times critic Clive Barnes called the Divertimento “quietly and yet also deafeningly entrancing. Just as Stravinsky gives us Tschaikovsky with a vital tinge of acid, so Balanchine provides us Petipa far more sophisticated than we might have expected.”

Recovering lost choreography from Agon with Labanotation

Thanks to a recently rediscovered Labanotation score found at Ohio State University and the impeccable memory of Barbara Walczak, the Video Archives recording on May 16, 2022 allowed for the original version of the Agon’s Gailliard to be recreated on India Bradley and Alexa Maxwell of the New York City Ballet. Ms. Walczak also coached Symphony in C and Bourrée Fantasque with Chun Wai Chan participating in the male roles. 

Male dancer jumping with legs split, and another dancer kneeling in front
Two dancers facing each other, arms intertwined in a courtly neoclassic dance position

All images courtesy of Costas

Agon Pas de Deux Video Archives Recording

March 14, 2022, Allegra Kent and Bart Cook coached dancers Mira Nadon and Davide Riccardo in the Agon pas de deux. Allegra Kent, though not the originator of the role, performed the role with Arthur Mitchell soon ofter the premiere and performed it for many years after with Bart Cook stepping in for her final appearances in the ballet.

In speaking about Agon, Balanchine said, “Agon is for me the quintessential contemporary ballet. Stravinsky composed it specially for us … In my opinion, it is his – it is our – most perfect work, representing a total collaboration between musician and choreographer.”

Allegra Kent in attitude front, leg held by Bart Cook in Agon