The New York City Ballet on Tour in the Soviet Union in 1962
This chapter focuses on the New York City Ballet’s State Department–sponsored tour to the Soviet Union in 1962. One of the largest tours in State Department history, it was also one of the most politically intense, unfolding during the Cuban missile crisis. The chapter describes the politics involved in the US-USSR exchange program, which brought Russian companies to the US; the concerns of the ANTA panel about performing ballet in the Soviet Union, given the longstanding dominance Russian/Soviet ballet; and the NYCB’s triumphant performances in the Soviet Union’s major ballet houses, the Bolshoi and Marinsky, where the NYCB thrilled Soviet audiences with ballets including Jerome Robbins’ Interplay and George Balanchine’s Western Symphony and Serenade. As the superpowers stood on the brink of mutual destruction, American dancers and Soviet balletomanes, in their mutual celebration of ballet, disproved a central premise of the US-Soviet standoff: that American and Soviet cultures were diametrically opposed.
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