Reine Duell Bethany - Author and Illustrator
My Blog

Balanchine the Career Creator

Before writing my biography of Balanchine, I thought of him in terms of dance. That's logical enough. I was a dancer. I danced Balanchine ballets when I was with the Dayton Ballet Company. I watched my brothers, Daniel and Joseph Duell, perform Balanchine works when they were principals with the New York City Ballet. My brother Dan has produced superb Balanchine programs in connection with his and his wife Patricia Blair's School of Ballet Chicago; in fact, Dan and Patricia celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of their Chicago work with an all-Balanchine program this past May (2013). For me, to think about Balanchine was to think about dance.
     But since writing the biography I have realized how much was created by Balanchine, far beyond his dances. He created work. He created something to do for far too many people ever to count. Many of those with whom he was involved lived to a great age -- Alexandra Danilova died at 94, NYCB orchestra Hugo Fiorato at 97, Lincoln Kirstein at age 88 -- and although they worked with others besides Balanchine, he was their home base for most of their long lives. 
     Balanchine united an astonishing number of people into a cohesive team, and the majority of his major players from the early days of NYCB remained with him for the rest of their careers. His choreography still generates performances all over the globe, with accompanying work for musicians, costumers, stage technicians, publicists, managers, accountants, writers, program designers -- not to mention, of course, the dancers. He generated a world around himself with his creativity and his relentless energy, thereby opening up new worlds, and more worlds keep opening because of him even now, in this thirtieth-year anniversary of his death.

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