KARIN VON AROLDINGEN TO TAPE VIDEO SERIES FOR THE GEORGE BALANCHINE FOUNDATION
New York City — Karin von Aroldingen, former principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, will coach her created roles in Tschaikovsky Suite No. 3 and Who Cares? for The George Balanchine Foundation's Interpreters Archive. The aim of this video series is to document the insights of dancers who worked closely with Balanchine on some of his greatest ballets. The archive's mission is to preserve this knowledge and pass it on to the dancers, scholars and audiences of today. The filming will take place on Monday, January 18th, 2016, at the New York City Ballet studios in the Rose Building, Lincoln Center, New York.
Von Aroldingen will work on the opening movement of Suite No. 3, "Elégie," with Sara Mearns and Ask la Cour, both principals of New York City Ballet. She will then coach her Who Cares? solo, "I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise," with Teresa Reichlen, and the ballet's title pas de deux with Reichlen and Robert Fairchild, also principals of NYCB. Elaine Chelton, solo pianist of the New York City Ballet Orchestra, will accompany the session and Anna Kisselgoff, former chief dance critic of the New York Times, will interview von Aroldingen at the conclusion of the session. The taping will be supervised by Paul Boos, former NYCB dancer and George Balanchine répétiteur, along with Nancy Reynolds, the Foundation's director of research, assisted by former film professor Virginia Brooks and filmmaker Gus Reed.
Who Cares? and Tschaikovsky Suite No. 3 are two strikingly dissimilar compositions, seemingly from different centuries; yet Balanchine choreographed both in the same year, 1970.
Who Cares? had its premiere on February 5, 1970 at the New York State Theater. Set to arrangements of songs by George Gershwin, Who Cares? marries ballet to the music of the American jazz age, for it was Balanchine "who saw no contradiction between his work in ballet or on Broadway," wrote Anna Kisselgoff in the New York Times. "Who Cares? remains an example of pure classicism, rooted entirely in ballet's academic steps. It is Mr. Balanchine's tour de force to reach so deeply into popular music that he brings out its essence." Describing the score, Lincoln Kirstein noted: "The Gershwin songs maintain their classic freshness, as of an eternal martini… dry, frank, refreshing, tailor-made, with an invisible kick from its slightest hint of citron. Nostalgia has not syruped their sentiment nor robbed them of immediate piquancy."
Suite No. 3 (later re-named Tschaikovsky Suite No. 3) had its premiere on December 3 later that year. "Elégie" is a dream-like romance between a lone man and seven barefoot women, their hair loosely down, dressed in long flowing lilac dresses. One of the seven, perhaps a figure of his imagination, emerges from the group. A passionate duet ensues. Clive Barnes likened the melodic and somber "Elégie" to Isadora Duncan's sinuous abandon and her surrender to desire.
The career of KARIN VON AROLDINGEN, former NYCB principal dancer, spans 22 years with the company, from 1962 to her retirement from dancing in 1984; and a further thirty years as one of the company's ballet masters. She began her studies in Berlin with Tatiana Gsovsky, working in the Russian classical tradition, and studied modern, folk dancing and jazz as well. At the age of 10 she was chosen for the title role in the European annual Christmas film classic, The Little Match Girl.
Von Aroldingen joined American Festival Ballet at 16 and, soon after, Frankfurt Ballet, where at 17 she was cast opposite Lotte Lenya as Anna in Seven Deadly Sins. It was Lenya who introduced the teen-age von Aroldingen to Balanchine, who invited her to join NYCB. Working her way up the ranks, she entered the corps de ballet in 1962, was promoted to soloist in 1967, and named principal dancer in 1972. Balanchine choreographed 18 roles for von Aroldingen, most importantly Who Cares?, the "Elégie" of Tschaikovsky Suite No. 3, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Variations Pour Une Porte et Un Soupir, Union Jack, Vienna Waltzes, Kammermusik No. 2, and Robert Schumann's 'Davidsbündlertünze.'
Von Aroldingen coached Davidsbündlertünze for the Balanchine Foundation Video Archives in 2000. The Suite No. 3 "Elégie" and Who Cares? will be her second and third undertakings. Currently she is a trustee of the Balanchine Trust, overseeing the distribution of Balanchine's ballets worldwide in addition to being one of NYCB's most respected ballet masters.
SARA MEARNS was born in Columbia, South Carolina, and began her dance training at the age of three with Ann Brodie at the Calvert-Brodie School of Dance, also in Columbia. At the age of 13, Mearns trained with Patricia McBride at Dance Place, the School of North Carolina Dance Theatre, in Charlotte. She continued her studies at age 14 with Stanislav Issaev at the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities in Greenville. Mearns entered the School of American Ballet (SAB), NYCB's official school, full-time in the fall of 2001. In the fall of 2003 Mearns became an apprentice with NYCB. As an apprentice, she danced a featured role in Michel Fokine's Chopiniana, performed by SAB as part of NYCB's 2004 winter season. In June of 2004, Mearns joined the company as a member of the corps de ballet. In March of 2006 she was promoted to soloist and in June 2008, she was promoted to principal dancer.
TERESA REICHLEN was born in Clifton, Virginia. She began her dance training at the age of 10 at the Russell School of Ballet with Thomas and Illona Russell, Mary Rogers, and Margaret McGarry. In 1999, Reichlen studied at the summer program of the School of American Ballet (SAB), NYCB's official school. She entered SAB full-time in the fall of the same year. In October 2000, Reichlen became an apprentice with New York City Ballet, and in October 2001 she joined the company as a member of the corps de ballet. In January 2005, Reichlen was promoted to soloist and in October 2009 was promoted to principal dancer.
ROBERT FAIRCHILD was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, and began his dance training at Dance Concepts at the age of four with Rebecca Bateman and Kaelynne Oliphant. His formal ballet training began at the age of ten at the Ballet West Conservatory with Sharee Lane. Other teachers include: Laura King, Trey Barber, Brooke Healy, and Jaqueline and Heather College of Utah Regional Ballet. Fairchild attended the 2002 and 2003 summer courses at the School of American Ballet (SAB), the official school of NYCB, and enrolled as a full-time student in the fall of 2003. In June 2005, Fairchild became an apprentice with NYCB, and the following June he joined the company as a member of the corps de ballet. He was promoted to soloist in May 2007, and in October 2009 was promoted to principal dancer. He is currently starring in An American in Paris on Broadway.
ASK LA COUR was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, and began his dance training at the age of nine at the Royal Danish Ballet School, where he studied with Niels Balle, Adam Lüders, and Colleen Neary. He joined the Royal Danish Ballet as a member of the corps de ballet in 2000. La Cour joined NYCB as a member of the corps de ballet in the fall of 2002, was promoted to soloist in May 2005, and became a principal in February 2013. While at the Royal Danish Ballet, la Cour performed featured roles in August Bournonville's Napoli (Pas de Six), John Cranko's Onegin (Lensky), Peter Martins' Hallelujah Junction and Swan Lake (Hungarian), John Neumeier's Romeo and Juliet (Monk), Alexei Ratmansky's The Nutcracker (Spanish), and Lila York's Concerto in Pieces (Pas de Trois).
ANNA KISSELGOFF was Chief Dance Critic of the New York Times from 1977 to 2005, leaving the staff in 2006. She remains a contributor to the paper and other publications. A graduate of Bryn Mawr College, she holds an M.A. in European history and an M.S. in Journalism, both from Columbia University. Awards for her writing include the Order of the Dannebrog from Denmark, the Order of Arts and Letters from France and the Order of the Falcon from Iceland.
PAUL BOOS is a former dancer with NYCB and répétiteur for the George Balanchine Trust. His work for the Trust has been presented at several theaters including the Mariinsky, Bolshoi, Paris Opera and La Scala. He also guest teaches abroad and locally.
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. As an author, her most recent books are No Fixed Points: Dance in the Twentieth Century (co-authored with Malcolm McCormick) and Remembering Lincoln.
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 (www.balanchine.org) 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. Among the Foundation's major initiatives are the Video Archives (https://balanchine.org/03/gbfvideoarchives.html), in which dancers who worked closely with Balanchine teach and coach their roles to the dancers of today (Interpreters Archive) or recreate Balanchine ballets that are rarely performed and in danger of disappearing (Archive of Lost Choreography). Legendary dancers who have taken part in this project include Alicia Markova, Maria Tallchief, Frederic Franklin, Alicia Alonso, Melissa Hayden, Allegra Kent, Todd Bolender, Merrill Ashley, Suzanne Farrell, Rosella Hightower, Marie-Jeanne, Violette Verdy, Edward Villella, Patricia Wilde, Yvonne Mounsey, and Helgi Tomasson, working with leading dancers from such companies as New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, and The Suzanne Farrell Ballet, among others.
In 2007 the Foundation announced the completion of 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, supplemented by lists of companies staging the ballets, a bibliography, a videography, reference resources, a database of roles Balanchine performed, and additional related materials (https://balanchine.org/03/balanchinecataloguenew.html). The project was made possible by a leadership grant from The Jerome Robbins Foundation.