Show Summary Details

Page of
<p>Printed from American National Biography. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see <a href="https://global.oup.com/privacy" target="_blank">Privacy Policy</a> and <a href="/page/legal-notice" target="_blank">Legal Notice</a>).</p><p>date: 18 June 2019</p>

Balanchine, Georgelocked

(22 January 1904–30 April 1983)
  • Nancy Reynolds

Extract

Balanchine, George (22 January 1904–30 April 1983), ballet choreographer, was born Georgii Melitonovich Balanchivadze in Saint Petersburg, Russia, the son of Meliton Balanchivadze, a composer, and Maria Nikolaevna Vasil’eva. Balanchine was of Georgian extraction on his father’s side; for this reason, he later insisted that his character owed more to Mediterranean culture than to Slav. He began piano lessons at the age of five, studying first with his mother, and was accepted into the ballet section of the Imperial Theater School, Saint Petersburg, in 1913. His financially straitened parents were motivated principally by the chance to secure him a free education. In addition to full board, the school offered a complete academic program as well as the finest dance instruction in the country; graduation guaranteed an income for life, first as a dancer, then as a teacher or coach, all subsidized by the tsar. As was customary for students, during his second year Balanchine performed with the Imperial Ballet troupe on the stage of the famed Maryinsky Theater; this crystallized his desire to dance. The ballet that so inspired him was ...

You do not currently have access to this article

Login

Please login to access the full content.

Subscribe

Access to the full content requires a subscription