PATRICIA MCBRIDE and PETER SCHAUFUSS coach THE STEADFAST TIN SOLDIER for THE GEORGE BALANCHINE FOUNDATION VIDEO ARCHIVES
New York City: On June 4, 2023, in the New York City Ballet studios at the Rose Building, Lincoln Center, New York, the original cast members of this touching Hans Christian Andersen-inspired duet will coach Balanchine’s ideas on the work for the cameras of the George Balanchine Foundation, assisted by current NYCB soloist Erica Pereira and principal Roman Mejia and accompanied by NYCB rehearsal pianist Michael Scales. The brief (ten-minute) ballet tells a complete story of love, loss, and tragedy in the world of fairy tales. In Andersen's description, the paper doll in the tale was a dancer who could "stand" on her toes or remain on one leg while lifting the other high in the air.
After the ballet’s premiere in 1975 critic Arlene Croce observed that “it comes from the same confectionary as George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, Harlequinade, and Coppélia, and the dance is continually absorbing.” She mentions also that “McBride has the sparkle of an experienced soubrette.” Of the McBride-Schaufuss partnership in Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, New York Times critic Don McDonaugh noted that her “silken musicality played off against his almost boyish ardor very effectively,” while in reviewing Schaufuss's first performance as Oberon in A Midsummer Dream, the Times' Anna Kisselgoff wrote: "Mr. Schaufuss danced the Balanchine choreography with precision, elegance, and classical style. His dramatic presence was always strong. Yet, at the same time, the role seemed virtually reshaped because of Mr. Schaufuss's special way of moving. Like many Danish dancers, he has extraordinary ballon, or ability to remain suspended in the air for a time during a leap. As a result, this was an Oberon who soared rather then flew."
Paul Boos, Director of the Video Archives, will oversee the filming with Founding Director Nancy Reynolds. The recording will conclude with McBride and Schaufuss being interviewed by Nancy Reynolds.
The GBF Video Archives document the insights of dancers, often principals from original casts or those who worked closely with Balanchine. The Archives’ mission is to preserve this knowledge and pass it on to today's dancers, scholars, and audiences. The Archives are available world-wide through public and university libraries. In addition, the interview components can be accessed on the Balanchine Foundation's YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/blnchn).
PATRICIA MCBRIDE, in a long and illustrious career with NYCB, had an extraordinarily large number of works choreographed on her by George Balanchine, including “Rubies” (Jewels), Tarantella, Who Cares?, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Hermia), Harlequinade (Columbine), Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet (Intermezzo), Union Jack, Coppélia (Swanhilda), and Divertimento from Le Baiser de la Fée, among several others. McBride was also favored by Jerome Robbins, who created principal roles for her in Dances at a Gathering, The Goldberg Variations, The Four Seasons, and Opus 19/The Dreamer. With her frequent partner Edward Villella she performed on concert stages around the world. Among her other partners were some of the most noted dancers of her generation, including Mikhail Baryshnikov, Helgi Tómasson, and Peter Martins. McBride danced for five presidents. She is the recipient of a Dance Magazine Award and the Kennedy Center Honors. After her retirement from performing in 1989, she joined the faculties of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and the Chautauqua Institute, before taking up a senior position at the Charlotte Ballet in 1996, where she continues to teach and set excerpts of Balanchine ballets. For the GBF Video Archives she has been recorded coaching her created roles in “Rubies,” Tarantella, Who Cares?, Harlequinade, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet, and Le Baiser de la Fée.
PETER SCHAUFUSS began his ballet training at the Royal Danish Ballet School and graduated to become a member of the Royal Danish Ballet in 1968. In the ensuing years, he established himself as an international guest artist, specializing in virtuoso roles, in companies including the Kirov, American Ballet Theatre, Paris Opera Ballet, Royal Ballet, and NYCB. During his time at NYCB Schaufuss performed such technically demanding works as Stars and Stripes pas de deux, Suite No. 3 (Theme and Variations), Symphony in C (3rd movement), and Donizetti Variations.
Other highlights from his career have included the artistic directorships of English National, Berlin State, and Royal Danish ballets. In 2022 he directed and choreographed a reimagined Hamlet, featuring Sir Ian McKellen, for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
ERICA PEREIRA, while an apprentice with NYCB, danced Juliet in Peter Martins’s Romeo + Juliet in Spring 2007 and soon afterward joined NYCB as a member of the corps de ballet. In December 2009 she was promoted to soloist and has since appeared in several roles originally premiered by McBride, including “Rubies” (Jewels), Tarantella, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Hermia) and Coppélia (Swanhilda). Other ballets Ms. Pereira has been featured in include dynamic and technical roles in Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante, La Source, Square Dance and Raymonda. Ms. Pereira has been coached by McBride for a previous Video Archives recording of Le Baiser de la Fée and George Balanchine's The Nutcracker.
ROMAN MEJIA began his training with his parents, Maria Terezia Balogh and Paul Mejia, in Arlington, Texas, before entering the School of American Ballet (SAB) in 2015. In 2017, Mr. Mejia became an apprentice with NYCB and joined the company as a corps member later in the year. He was promoted to principal in 2023. Mr. Mejia was featured by Dance Magazine in 2019 as one of their “25 To Watch,” was the recipient of the Princess Grace Foundation-USA Dance Fellowship, and was a finalist for the Clive Barnes Award in 2020. An exuberant performer, he has been featured in virtuosic roles, including George Balanchine’s Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, Allegro Brillante, Candy Cane from George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker and Puck from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Jerome Robbins’ Other Dances and Fancy Free and Alexei Ratmansky’s Pictures at an Exhibition and Fandango. Mr. Mejia can be seen being coached by Patricia McBride for the GBF Video Archives in Tarantella and George Balanchine's The Nutcracker, by Patricia Wilde and Robert Barnett in Western Symphony, and by Jacques d’Amboise in Stars and Stripes.
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.” On camera for the GBF Video Archives, she has conducted interviews with Maria Tallchief, Melissa Hayden, Patricia Wildle, Patricia McBride, Frederic Franklin, Todd Bolender, and Edward Villella, among others.
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 (www.balanchine.org).
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.