Lauren King

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On April 10, 2023, at the NYCB studios at Lincoln Center, former NYCB principal Adam Luders will coach Joseph Gordon and Russell Janzen, current principal dancers with NYCB, in the male duet from Orpheus. The Dance of the Angel of Death (so titled in the commissioned Stravinsky score) introduces a mysterious figure, called the Dark Angel in Balanchine's ballet, who leads the celestial musician Orpheus to Hades, there to be united with his beloved deceased wife, Eurydice. The brief atmospheric dance, for two men and containing no recognizable ballet steps, is one of the most unusual in the Balanchine canon; it seems is safe to say he never before or afterward choreographed anything like it. It is a duet but almost a trio, a trio for two men and a prop of greatest significance, Orpheus's lyre.

The ballet is important historically, as in addition to its significance as a Balanchine-Stravinsky collaboration, with non-traditional costumes and sets by Isamu Noguchi, it inspired Morton Baum, chairman of the executive committee of the New York City Center of Music and Drama, to invite Balanchine's and Lincoln Kirstein's small company, Ballet Society, to become a constituent member of the organization under a new name, New York City Ballet. The newly formed company gave its first performance on October 11, 1948, and preparations are now underway for a fall celebration of its first 75 years.

The same afternoon Luders will be joined by former NYCB principal Stephanie Saland as together they coach an entirely different pas de deux from a period in Balanchine's life 30 years later, a pas de deux from the final section of Vienna Waltzes set to waltzes from Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier. They will work with NYCB soloist Miriam Miller and principal Russell Janzen. This lavish, full-company ballet evokes an earlier era, one in which elegant ladies and gentlemen in formal attire performed social dances in ballroom settings. In this final section, the women wear heeled slippers, not pointe shoes. With the leading woman's arms in full-length white gloves and her leg movements partially obscured by her elegant gown, the fluidity of her arm and torso movements are of special interest, as is the inventive and gallant partnering provided by her cavalier.

The video will be overseen by Archives Director Paul Boos, assisted by Founding Director Nancy Reynolds. At the conclusion of the coaching session, scholar and writer Elizabeth Kendall will interview the two coaches. Accompaniment will be provided by Alan Moverman, NYCB solo pianist.

ADAM LUDERS began his ballet training at the Royal Danish Ballet School and graduated to become a member of the Royal Danish Ballet in 1968. He was a principal dancer with London Festival Ballet (1973–5) and New York City Ballet (1975–94) creating roles in Balanchine's Davidsbündertänze, Kammermusik No. 2, and Walpurgisnacht, as well as Robbins's In Memory of... among others. Since retiring he has taught widely, including at the School of American Ballet, and staged Balanchine repertory for the George Balanchine Trust. Trained in the Bournonville tradition, Luders was the classic ‘danseur noble’. He is part of the last generation of dancers who worked closely with Balanchine at the New York City Ballet and has danced most of the Balanchine and Robbins repertoire. Luders is famous for his skill in pas de deux, and he has partnered most of Balanchine’s ballerinas as well other international stars. For the Interpreters Archive he has coached the first movement of Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet and excerpts from Davidsbündlertänze, Ballade and Kammermusik No. 2.
STEPHANIE SALAND was born in Brooklyn and entered the School of American Ballet just before her 15th birthday. Three years later she was invited by George Balanchine to join NYCB for the remarkable Stravinsky Festival. In a 21-year career with the company, Ms. Saland was showcased in leading roles under Balanchine’s direction including Serenade, Divertimento #15, Apollo, Coppélia, "Emeralds" from  Jewels, Vienna Waltzes, EpisodesFour Temperaments, Liebeslieder Walzer, and Davidsbündlertänze. For the past thirty years she has been teaching ballet and movement in Seattle.
JOSEPH GORDON began his dance training at The Phoenix Dance Academy and transferred to the School of American Ballet during the 2006 summer course and enrolled as a full-time student that fall. In 2011, Mr. Gordon became an apprentice with NYCB, and in 2012 he joined the company as a member of the corps de ballet. In 2017, Mr. Gordon was promoted to soloist and the next year in 2018 was promoted to principal dancer. His repertory is vast, including the masterworks of Balanchine, Robbins, Martins and Justin Peck. A few of his notable leading roles in Balanchine’s ballets are: Franz in CoppéliaTheme and VariationsSymphony in C (first and third movements), and the title role in Orpheus.
RUSSELL JANZEN has been a member of NYCB since 2007. He was promoted to principal dancer in 2017 and has danced virtually all of NYCB’s current Balanchine repertory, also originating featured roles in ballets by Justin Peck, Pontus Lidberg, Edwaard Liang, and others. He is the author of a New York Times essay on Covid’s effects on the performing arts and on the dance community in particular. For the GBF Video Archives he appeared in the Allegro section of Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet as coached by Adam Luders and Kyra Nichols and in Davidsbündlertänze with Mr. Luders.
MIRIAM MILLER, while still an apprentice with NYCB, performed Titania in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Joining the company as a member of the corps de ballet in 2016 and promoted to soloist in 2022, she has since performed featured roles in Balanchine's Harlequinade (La Bonne Fée), Nutcracker (Dewdrop), Slaughter on Tenth Avenue (Striptease Girl), and Prodigal Son (Siren), Jerome Robbins's Goldberg Variations, and Justin Peck 's Copland Dance Episodes, among many others. For the GBF Video Archives, she appeared in the donkey pas de deux (A Midsummer Night's Dream) as coached by Kay Mazzo and Bart Cook. Ms. Miller is a recipient of a 2017 Princess Grace Award.
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 1930'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. For the GBF video Archives she has interviewed the coaches for Violin ConcertoTarantella, and the donkey pas de deux from A Midsummer Night's Dream.
NANCY REYNOLDS is the founding director of the George Balanchine Video Archives. She is a former dancer with New York City Ballet and has been Director of Research for The George Balanchine Foundation since 1994, when she conceived and for over 25 years directed the Video Archives program. Among her books are Repertory in Review: Forty Years of the New York City Ballet, 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.”
PAUL BOOS, Director of the Video Archives since 2021, is a former dancer with NYCB and répétiteur for the George Balanchine Trust. His work for the Trust has been presented at a number of theaters, including the Maryinsky, Bolshoi, Paris Opera, La Scala, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Boston Ballet. He also guest teaches abroad and locally.

The George Balanchine Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation established in 1983 with the goal of creating programs that educate the public and further Balanchine’s work and aesthetic. Among the GBF’s major initiatives are the Video Archives, in which dancers who worked closely with Balanchine teach and coach their roles with the

dancers of today (Interpreters Archive) or recreate sections of ballets that are rarely performed or in danger of disappearing (Archive of Lost Choreography). Legendary dancers who have taken part in this project include Alicia Alonso, Jacques d’Amboise, Suzanne Farrell, Frederic Franklin, Melissa Hayden, Allegra Kent, Alicia Markova, Patricia McBride, Maria Tallchief, Violette Verdy, Patricia Wilde, Edward Villella, and others, working with dancers from such companies as New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, and San Francisco, Boston, Pacific Northwest and Suzanne Farrell ballets.

In 2007 the Foundation announced 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 and supplemented by lists of companies staging his ballets, a bibliography, a videography, reference resources, a database of roles Balanchine performed, and related information. The project was made possible by a leadership grant from The Jerome Robbins Foundation. An expanded and updated version, enhanced by visuals, was introduced in June 2022 (

The George Balanchine Foundation expresses its profound gratitude to the following donors: The Brown Foundation, Agnes Gund, Barbara D. Horgan, The New York State Council on the Arts, the Pettit Foundation, Nancy R. Reynolds, The Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Denise Littlefield Sobel, and Louisa Stude Sarofim; and to Leslie Tonner Curtis, Nancy S. Furlotti, Jeffrey A. Horwitz, The National Endowment for the Arts, Meryl Rosofsky and Stuart H. Coleman, The Evelyn Sharp Foundation, Resa and Heiner Sussner, and I. Peter Wolff.