The George Balanchine Foundation
News & Events

Lauren King

[email protected]

GEORGE BALANCHINE FOUNDATION continues its VIDEO ARCHIVES exploration of APOLLO with a concentration on the Muses

New York City: Following the 2012 GBF Interpreters Archive video in which Jacques d'Amboise, for twenty years the prime New York City Ballet interpreter of Apollo's title role, coached former NYCB principal dancers Robert Fairchild and Sterling Hyltin, three Muses from NYCBs late-mid-century period, Kay Mazzo (Terpsichore), Francia Russell (Polyhymnia) and Suki Schorer (Calliope), all coached by Balanchine, will coach excerpts featuring Muses choreography as executed by current dancers from NYCB and American Ballet Theatre (ABT). Mr. Fairchild, who was coached as Apollo by Peter Martins as well as Mr. d'Amboise, will support the women. Taping will take place July 9-10, 2023, in the NYCB studios at the Rose Building, Lincoln Center. Excerpts coached will include the three female variations, the pas de deux for Apollo and Terpsichore, the pas d'action introducing the Muses, the Coda for all four principals with "chariot diagonal," and the Apotheosis or ascent to Parnassus. Pianist Stephen Gosling will accompany the session. Following the coaching, Mazzo, Russell, and Schorer will be interviewed by Alastair Macaulay, former Chief Dance Critic for The New York Times.

Participating dancers will be Isabella LaFreniere (Calliope), Chloe Misseldine (Polyhymnia), and Devon Teuscher (Terpsichore).

Apollo has long been considered an essential work in the Balanchine canon, being both an early venture in Balanchine's 50-year collaboration with Stravinsky and introducing his own distinctive version of neoclassicism to the ballet stage, thus forecasting his artistic future. Despite changes Balanchine made in later years, his ballet has retained its essential identity and has stood the test of time since its premiere in 1928. In its later versions it is still performed by ballet companies throughout the world.

The video session will be directed by Paul Boos, Video Archives director, assisted by founder-director 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, and digitally through the George Balanchine Foundation website for those working in the dance field and using these resources in their work. In addition, the interview components can be accessed on the Balanchine Foundation's YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/blnchn).

Bios
KAY MAZZO (Terpsichore coach) began her professional career in 1961 with Jerome Robbins's Ballets: USA, where she performed Afternoon of a Faun under Robbins's personal direction. A year later she joined NYCB, becoming principal dancer in 1969. During her nearly twenty-year career with the company, in addition to her appearing extensively in the repertory as a whole, both Balanchine and Robbins created important roles on her--for Robbins, in Dances at a Gathering and In the Night, for Balanchine, in Stravinsky Violin Concerto and perhaps most memorably, in Duo Concertant, among others. After her retirement from performing in 1981 she began teaching at the NYCB-affiliated School of American Ballet (SAB), where she was Chairman of the Faculty between 2018 and 2022. She continues to teach at SAB. With Bart Cook, she coached the "Donkey" pas de deux from A Midsummer Night's Dream for the GBF Video Archives.
FRANCIA RUSSELL (Polyhymnia coach) trained in San Francisco, Paris, Nice, and later in London with renowned instructor Vera Volkova. She joined NYCB in 1956 and was promoted to soloist in 1959, but retired from dancing a few years later. In 1964, at Balanchine's invitation, she rejoined NYCB as ballet master while pursuing a parallel career as stager of Balanchine ballets throughout the world (over 200 such stagings in all, including, in 1987, the first Balanchine ballet to be staged in China). After a period of living in Germany, in 1977 she and her husband, Kent Stowell, became co-artistic directors of the Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle, positions they held until their joint retirement in 2005. During that time Miss Russell was also director of the company school. Her performance as Polyhymnia appears in the video Jacques d'Amboise: Portrait of a Great American Dancer, available on the Internet.
SUKI SCHORER (Calliope coach) began her dance career in 1956 with the San Francisco Ballet under the direction of Lew Christensen, America's first Apollo. She was a member of NYCB from 1959 to 1972, becoming principal dancer in 1968. Near the beginning of her tenure she was invited by Balanchine to teach class for the company and at the School of American Ballet, where she recently celebrated her 50th year on the faculty. She continues as well to be active as a guest teacher in America and abroad. For the Balanchine Foundation, with former NYCB principal dancer Merrill Ashley, she created the 10-part series "The Balanchine Essays," an exploration of Balanchine technique and style as illustrated with excerpts from his ballets, now accessible on the GBF website (balanchine.org). Her book, Suki Schorer on Balanchine Technique, a comprehensive compendium of Balanchine's teaching of ballet steps and combinations, has also been published in French and Italian. A GBF Archival Video, Suki Schorer coaching her roles in La Source, Raymonda Variations, Harlequinade, and A Midsummer Night's Dream is forthcoming.
ROBERT FAIRCHILD, former principal dancer with NYCB (2006-2017), is now a freelance actor, dancer, and choreographer with appearances in Broadway productions, film and television. For the GBF Video Archives he was coached by Jacques d'Amboise in Apollo and Who Cares?, in the latter also coached separately by former NYCB principal Karin von Aroldingen.
ISABELLA LAFRENIERE, after training at the Joffrey School, the Chautauqua Institute, the Pacific Northwest summer school, and SAB, joined NYCB in 2014. She was promoted to soloist in 2022 and principal dancer in 2023. Her repertory includes Balanchine's Agon, Chaconne, Harlequinade (La Bonne Fée), and Dewdrop in The Nutcracker; Aurora in Peter Martins's Sleeping Beauty and his Black Swan pas de deux; Robbins's The Cage and The Goldberg Variations; and Merce Cunningham's Summerspace.
CHLOE MISSELDINE attended ABT summer intensives in Orange County, California, and New York and achieved second place in the 2017 Youth America Grand Prix New York City Finals. In 2018 she was named a finalist at the Prix de Lausanne, after which she joined the ABT Studio Company. She entered the corps de ballet of ABT in 2021 and was promoted to soloist in 2022. Her repertory includes a Flower Girl in Don Quixote, the Queen of Babylon in Alexei Ratmansky's Of Love and Rage, the pas de trois and a big swan in Swan Lake, and featured roles in Ratmansky's Bernstein in a Bubble and Lauren Lovette's La Follia Variations.
DEVON TEUSCHER, after summer intensives at the Kirov Ballet Academy, Washington, D.C., Pacific Northwest Ballet, and ABT, enrolled at ABT's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School on full scholarship. She joined ABT corps de ballet in 2008, becoming a soloist in 2014 and principal dancer in 2017. Her repertory includes Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, Myrta in Giselle, leading roles in La Bayadere, Le Corsaire, Firebird, Lilac Garden (Antony Tudor), Symphonic Variations (Frederick Ashton), and in several works by George Balanchine, including Polyhymnia in Apollo and Theme and Variations, and Alexei Ratmansky, including Harlequinade (Pierrette) and Sleeping Beauty (Lilac Fairy), as well as in works by Paul Taylor, Twyla Tharp, and several others.
ALASTAIR MACAULAY was formerly Chief Dance Critic for the New York Times and Chief Drama Critic for the Times of London. He has written on a wide range of subjects, not only on classical and modern dance but on Indian dance, opera and other concert-hall music forms, and drama. For the GBF Video Archives, he has interviewed Jacques d'Amboise twice, once on Apollo and later on four works Balanchine created on d'Amboise.
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 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 (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 several 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 a 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 and Louisa Stude Sarofim; and to Leslie Tonner Curtis, The National Endowment for the Arts, Meryl Rosofsky and Stuart H. Coleman, The Evelyn Sharp Foundation, Denise Littlefield Sobel, Resa and Heiner Sussner, and I. Peter Wolff.