Photo by Maurice Seymour
Kara Yoo Leaman, an independent music theorist and Resident Fellow at The Center for Ballet and the Arts 2019-20 and 2022-23, examines George Balanchine’s use of music by Bach, Bizet, Mozart, and Tschaikovsky to explore Balanchine’s expression of musical artistry through choreography. Tracing connections between the movement patterns in Balanchine’s ballets and their musical scores, this study provides evidence to support long-held thinking regarding Balanchine’s music-based choreographic process and suggests new ways to understand music-dance interactions. Along with her own music-based movement notation, Leaman applies the latest tools of music analysis and digital video editing to illustrate how in his choreography Balanchine both replicated patterns from musical scores and constructed other patterns to complement the music.
Beginning in 2023, Dr. Leaman will continue to create video analyses in collaboration with the George Balanchine Foundation, thanks to the generous support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Balanchine ballerinas and renowned teachers and coaches Suki Schorer and Merrill Ashley demonstrate crucial aspects of Balanchine Style and Balanchine Technique in a ten-part series of films illustrating how the choreographer applied them in his ballets. These recordings are invaluable resources for anyone interested in the importance of Balanchine as a teacher and the relationship of his pedagogy and his ballets.