The Ballet Maker
By Robert Gottlieb
(Eminent Lives, Hardcover, 9780060750701, 224pp.)
Publication Date: November 2004
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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Part of the Eminent Lives Series, this biography, written by the gifted author Robert Gottlieb, will describe the life of the dynamic George Balanchine, the foremost contemporary choreographer in ballet. Timed to coincide with the 2004 centenary of the artist's birth.
The life and achievement of the great choreographer who both summed up everything that proceeded him in ballet, and extended the art form into radical yet inevitable new paths. Leaving Revolutionary Russia in 1924 (he was 20), he joined Serge Diaghilev's famous Ballets Russes, where he created his first enduring masterpiece, Apollo, cementing his lifelong collaboration with Stravinsky.
In 1933 he arrived in America to found a school and a company, but the company as we know it – The New York City Ballet – didn't emerge until 1948. Meanwhile, he made ballets wherever opportunity allowed, while choreographing Broadway shows (four for Rodgers and Hart), movies (The Goldwyn Follies), even the circus – a ballet for elephants with a score by Stravinsky. By the time of his death, in 1983, he had been recognized as a member of the triad of the greatest modern masters, alongside Picasso and Stravinsky.
Balanchine was married many times, always to outstanding ballerinas, but his truest muse always remained Terpsichore, the Muse of Dance.
The former editor in chief of Simon & Schuster, Alfred A. Knopf, and The New Yorker, Robert Gottlieb was on the board of directors of the New York City Ballet for many years. He writes literary criticism for the New York Review of Books, the New York Times Book Review, and The New Yorker, and is the dance critic for the New York Observer.