VIOLETTE VERDY began ballet training in her native France. After dancing with Roland Petit's Ballets des Champs-Elysées, London Festival Ballet, and American Ballet Theatre, she joined New York City Ballet in 1958. While there she danced more than 25 principal roles in a performance career that extended through 1976. In addition to Liebeslieder Walzer, Balanchine created roles for her in Episodes, Sonatine (partnered by Bonnefoux), Tschaikovksy Pas de Deux, "Emeralds" from Jewels, The Figure in the Carpet, La Source, and the Act II pas de deux from A Midsummer Night's Dream, among others. Jerome Robbins created roles for her in Dances at a Gathering, In the Night, and Beethoven Pas de Deux (again paired with Bonnefoux). Verdy also made guest appearances with major ballet companies in America and Europe.
After her retirement from performing, she became the first woman to be artistic director of the Paris Opera Ballet and was later artistic director of the Boston Ballet. Verdy has been a guest teacher throughout the world and has been awarded many honors. Since 1996, she has been a Distinguished Professor of Ballet at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, Bloomington. She has participated in three earlier Balanchine Foundation Video Archives tapings, coaching her created roles in Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, "Emeralds" from Jewels, and the Act II pas de deux from A Midsummer Night's Dream.
JEAN-PIERRE BONNEFOUX, also from France, began his dance career with the Paris Opera Ballet and later performed with the Bolshoi and Kirov companies. In 1970 he joined New York City Ballet as principal dancer. During his tenure, Balanchine created roles for him in several ballets, including Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Cortège Hongrois, Sonatine (in which he partnered Verdy), and Union Jack; Jerome Robbins's choreography for him included Beethoven Pas de Deux (again dancing with Verdy) and An Evening's Waltzes. In 1977 Bonnefoux joined the faculty of the School of American Ballet. He gave his final performance in 1980.
Since his retirement from the stage, Bonnefoux has served as choreographer and ballet master for the Pittsburgh Ballet, as chairman and artistic director in 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 New York, where he remains on the faculty. Since 1996 he has been artistic director of the North Carolina Dance Theater, based in Charlotte. His choreographic works include Carmina Burana, Cinderella, Peter Pan, Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, and Shindig.
JENNIE SOMOGYI began her dance training with Nina Youshkevitch and entered the School of American Ballet at the age of nine. A year later she was cast as Marie in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker®. She joined New York City Ballet in 1994 and was promoted to principal dancer in 2002. Known for her technical virtuosity, she has danced principal roles in most of the Balanchine repertory, including Liebeslieder Walzer, Robert Schumann's 'Davidsbündlertänze', Symphony in C (3 movements), George Balanchine's The Nutcracker® (Sugar Plum Fairy and Dewdrop), Symphony in Three Movements, Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, and Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2. She has appeared in Robbins's Dances at a Gathering, The Cage, and In the Night, among others, and she has performed in several ballets by Peter Martins, including the leading role of Odette/Odile in his version of Swan Lake. Somogyi has participated in three previous Balanchine Foundation archival videos, working with Maria Tallchief, Frederic Franklin, Violette Verdy, and Conrad Ludlow.
SÉBASTIEN MARCOVICI, born in Paris, trained at the Paris Opera Ballet School. Later, while studying with Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux and Patricia McBride, he was invited to take class with New York City Ballet, which he joined in 1993. In 2002 he was promoted to principal. Known for his dramatic presence, he has performed leading roles in Balanchine's Apollo, The Four Temperaments, George Balanchine's The Nutcracker®, Liebeslieder Walzer, Movements for Piano and Orchestra, and Stravinsky Violin Concerto, among others; in Robbins's Afternoon of a Faun, The Cage, The Four Seasons, The Goldberg Variations, and others; in several works by Peter Martins, including Hallelujah Junction and Fearful Symmetries; and in Christopher Wheeldon's After the Rain and Polyphonia. He has originated roles in works by Robbins, Martins, Wheeldon, Stephen Baynes, Mauro Bigonzetti, Albert Evans, and Twyla Tharp, among others.
NANCY REYNOLDS, a former dancer with New York City Ballet, has been Director of Research for The George Balanchine Foundation since 1994. She conceived and continues to direct the Video Archives program. Also an author, her most recent books are No Fixed Points: Dance in the Twentieth Century (co-authored with Malcolm McCormick) and Remembering Lincoln.