George Balanchine.

Essay by softball24High School, 10th gradeA+, June 2003

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Balanchine: A Ballet Master

There are many great talents in the world of dance. Diagilev, Fokine, and Petipa all influenced the development of classical ballet, but there is one man whose talent surpassed everyone. Balanchine was a man who overcame many odds to become greater than his predecessors.

Born Georgi Melitonovich Balanchivadze in 1904, Balanchine was part of a musical family (Aloff). His father was a musician and composer, his brother a pianist, and sister a violinist. Even with all the music in his home, Balanchine believed he would become one of the Tsar's cadets (Balanchine 515). His mother had another idea.

One day, as his mother was visiting the Imperial Ballet School in St. Petersburg, she decided that her son should audition to become a student. It was August and he had a chance for a free education. Balanchine would receive an eight year course of ballet, drama, and music.

There were many hopefuls, but only the best were chosen. At his audition there were about fifty boys, and only seven or eight openings in the school. Balanchine was among those selected and began his dance educations at the age of nine.

George Balanchine moved to the famous Theater Street in St. Petersburg to train at the Imperial Ballet School. He lived with all the other students who called him "rat" because of his small and thin appearance (Balanchine 516). At first he did not think he was in the right place. He even ran away to his aunt's house nearby. It was not until his first performance at the Maryinsky theatre that he found real joy in his dancing.

At the Imperial School students would begin performing on stage in their second year. The first production in which Balanchine participated was Sleeping Beauty. It was at that...