"EMERALDS" PAS DE TROIS from JEWELS to be coached for the GEORGE BALANCHINE FOUNDATION
New York City: On December 18, 2023, in the School of American Ballet studios at Lincoln Center, New York, the Pas de Trois from the "Emeralds" section of Balanchine's Jewels will be coached and analyzed by two cast originals, former New York City Ballet principal dancers Suki Schorer and John Prinz, who will be joined by former NYCB soloist Susan Pilarre. Accompaniment will be provided by NYCB solo pianist Elaine Chelton. They will work with current NYCB dancers Sara Adams (soloist), Baily Jones, and Spartak Hoxha. Following the session, the coaches will be interviewed by dance scholar and author Mindy Aloff. The recording will be supervised by Archives Director Paul Boos assisted by Founding Director Nancy Reynolds.
Amidst the dreamy and lyrical pas de deux and ensembles that are featured in "Emeralds," the brief pas de trois may be seen as a spirited contrast, with its musically assertive opening and demanding male solo choreography. At the time of the ballet's premiere in 1967, critic Clive Barnes wrote, "The most brilliant male dancing comes from the young John Prinz, who jumps and turns with a coltish joyousness yet has the temper of a Toledo blade [football reference]. He supports Suki Schorer and Sara Leland in a very cleverly phrased and constructed pas de trois in which they seem to flutter as easily as gossip on the wind."
Balanchine's three-act Jewels, of which "Emeralds" is the first section, was an instant success from the time of its opening. It has been seen frequently in the repertory of NYCB since its creation and is now performed by many ballet companies in the United States and abroad.
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.
SUSAN PILARRE began her ballet training with NYCB principal Melissa Hayden. As a subsequent student at School of American Ballet (SAB) she performed several children's roles in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker® and was invited to join NYCB when she was 15, then promoted to soloist in 1971. Her repertoire included featured roles in Balanchine's The Four Temperaments, Stars and Stripes, La Source, La Valse, and Divertimento No. 15, among others, and Jerome Robbins's Dances at a Gathering. Pilarre retired from dancing in 1980 and joined the faculty of SAB in 1986. Since then she has staged numerous ballets or ballet excerpts (primarily by Balanchine) for SAB's annual Workshop performances. For NYCB's 1993 Balanchine Celebration, she reconstructed Symphonie Concertante, consulting with the ballet's original principals, Tanaquil LeClercq and Maria Tallchief. For the GBF Video Archives she has coached the four-woman corps de ballet in Valse Fantaisie.
JOHN PRINZ received his first ballet training in Chicago, then continued at the Joffrey Ballet in New York as their first scholarship student. He joined NYCB in 1963 and was quickly promoted to principal, dancing leads in many Balanchine ballets, including The Nutcracker, Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet, and Tarantella. Balanchine created leading or important roles on him in La Source, Valse Fantaisie, Don Quixote, and Jewels, in the latter three premieres partnering Suki Schorer. He was in the original cast of Robbins's Dances at a Gathering and was cast by Frederick Ashton, the work's choreographer, in the leading role of the Poet in the NYCB revival of IIluminations. In 1970 he joined American Ballet Theater (ABT), where he was principal dancer until 1979 and his repertory included principal roles in Giselle, Coppelia, Don Quixote (Petipa/Gorsky), Le Corsaire, Fancy Free (Robbins) and Antony Tudor's Lilac Garden and Romeo and Juliet. Thereafter he has held several positions teaching and coaching in companies in the United States and Europe.
SUKI SCHORER began her dance career in 1956 with the San Francisco Ballet. She was a member of NYCB from 1959 to 1972, becoming principal dancer in 1968, where her repertory included Russian Dance in Serenade, Symphony in C first and third movements, both pas deux and the pas de trois in "Emeralds," "Rubies," Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet third movement, Dewdrop (Nutcracker), and Tarantella. Early in her tenure at NYCB, she was invited by Balanchine to teach class for the company and at SAB, where she recently celebrated her 50th year on the faculty. For the George Balanchine Foundation (GBF), 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. Her book, Suki Schorer on Balanchine Technique, a comprehensive compendium of Balanchine's teaching of ballet steps and combinations, has been translated into French and Italian. A GBF Archival Video, Suki Schorer coaching her Balanchine-created roles in La Source, Raymonda Variations, Harlequinade, and A Midsummer Night's Dream, is forthcoming. Also for the GBF Video Archives she has coached the role of Calliope in a video devoted to Apollo's muses.
SARA ADAMS began her dance training at the mid-Cape Ballet Academy in Massachusetts. She later studied at the Boston Ballet School, followed by study at SAB. She joined the corps de ballet of NYCB in 2009 and was promoted to soloist in 2017. For the GBF Video Archives she appears as supporting soloist to Alexander Peters in The Four Temperaments as coached by Bart Cook.
BAILY JONES first trained at the Ballet West Academy in Salt Lake City, Utah. In 2011, she began training at SAB and joined the corps de ballet of NYCB in 2015. Some of the lead roles she has performed include in the third movement of Symphony in C, Dewdrop, Marzipan and Dolls variations in The Nutcracker and the soloist role in La Source.
SPARTAK HOXHA, born in Tirana, Albania, began his dance training at Ballet Tech in New York City and joined the corps de ballet of NYCB in 2010. For a forthcoming GBF archival video on Symphony in C he was coached by former NYCB soloist Robert Barnett. He has performed the Tea, Soldier, and Candy Cane variations in The Nutcracker and the male role in the Pas de Trois from "Emeralds."
MINDY ALOFF is a journalist, essayist, and dance critic. Her most recent book is Why Dance Matters, published this year by Yale University Press. With the late historian Monica Moseley, she served as the co-interviewer for Frederic Franklin's 41-transcript oral history, co-sponsored by the GBF and The Jerome Robbins Dance Division of the Library for the Performing Arts. She has also served as interviewer on other GBF shoots with Frederic Franklin, Conrad Ludlow, and Jillana.
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.