The George Balanchine Foundation
Additional Resources
Additional Resources

Balanchine Technique & Style

Classes of Oboukhoff, Vladimiroff, Doubrovska and Williams

Upon founding the School of American Ballet in 1934, Balanchine invited teachers who guided students in the Russian, Danish and English traditions. Balanchine built his style from what he learned of these techniques and was known to develop choreography directly from class combinations. Pierre Vladimiroff, an early faculty member from Russia, was soon joined by Anatole Oboukhoff of the Maryinsky and Felia Doubrovska who danced with Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes. In the 1950’s, former Royal Danish Ballet dancer Stanley Williams began guest teaching at the school and later joined the faculty where he would continue to teach until his death in 1997. 

These classes, notated by Barbara Walczak, demonstrate the technical foundation that Balanchine considered essential for his dancers.

Nancy Reynolds in Oboukhoff's class
Nancy Reynolds in Anatole Oboukhoff's class at SAB

About Barbara Walczak

Barbara Walczak, born in Astoria, New York, started her dance training with Phyllis Marmein at the YMCA at 50th Street and Tenth Avenue. She studied with Igor Schwezoff until the age of thirteen, before being taken by her teacher to the School of American Ballet. At sixteen, she appeared with the forerunner to New York City Ballet, Ballet Society, in their performance of The Spellbound Child and then with the New York City Ballet, dancing in their inaugural season, from 1948 until 1960. Among the first four dancers to be named soloists by George Balanchine, Ms. Walczak danced many solo and leading roles. In addition, she spent a summer as a soloist with the Alicia Alonso Company and performed solo and leading roles with André Eglevsky’s Ballet Divertissement.

Ms. Walczak and the late Una Kai, a former NYCB dancer and ballet mistress, co-authored Balanchine the Teacher: Fundamentals That Shaped the First Generation of New York City Ballet, published in 2008. Ms. Walczak has catalogued the classes of SAB teachers Felia Doubrovska, Anatole Oboukhoff, Pierre Vladimiroff, and Stanley Williams.

Since retiring from performing, Ms. Walczak has been teaching, including as a guest instructor for the School of American Ballet, and, for thirteen years, running her own school as well. The Ford Foundation sponsored her stint at the Jones Haywood School in Washington, D.C. and she served on the faculty of the Alvin Ailey School. Currently, she coaches and gives private lessons.

To purchase Balanchine the Teacher, head to University Press of Florida or your local bookstore:

Balanchine Essays: On Balanchine Style & Technique

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.

Music & Dance

Music Dances: Balanchine Choreographs Stravinsky

Conceived and written by Stephanie Jordan, this film celebrates the seminal collaboration of the 20th century between composer and choreographer. The video demonstrates the extraordinary range of ways in which Balanchine approached Stravinsky’s music across the years, from visualization to counterpoint, and simple juxtaposition to multi-system interaction. The video aims to reach a wide audience, non-specialists in dance or music, students as well as scholars. Available for purchase by educational institutions through Alexander Street or for viewing on site at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

Dance as Music in Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco

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. 

Research Collections

Frederic Franklin: An Oral History

Frederic “Freddie” Franklin’s 20-year career as principal dancer and repertory director with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo is covered in depth, with Mr. Franklin discussing repertory, his frequent and beloved partner Alexandra Danilova, the making, coaching, and maintenance of the ballets, and every aspect of putting together a ballet nightly for paying audiences. The collection of 41 edited transcripts was cosponsored by the Jerome Robbins Dance Division of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, where it is currently held.

Popular Balanchine

Discover the range of Balanchine’s work created for revues, variety shows, operettas, American musicals, Hollywood films, and even a circus spectacle. This comprehensive collection of original essays, documents, printed materials, photographs, memorabilia, audio and video recordings, and transcripts of interviews is held at the Jerome Robbins Division of Dance at the New York Public Library.
Poster image of two elephants in pink tutus from The Greatest Show on Earth Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey
Maria Tallchief looking to the distance in a Firebird costume with a tall red feather headpiece
Support the preservation of Balanchine's legacy
Maria Tallchief looking to the distance in a Firebird costume with a tall red feather headpiece
Support the preservation of Balanchine's legacy