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Balanchine and Kirstein's American Enterprise$
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James Steichen

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190607418

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190607418.001.0001

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(p.15) Chapter 1 1933
Balanchine and Kirstein's American Enterprise

James Steichen

Oxford University Press

This chapter revisits how George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein first met and began their collaborative enterprise to found an American ballet company and school in 1933. In addition to seeking out performances by Balanchine’s company Les Ballets 1933, Kirstein took an interest in choreographers Léonide Massine and Serge Lifar. Kirstein ultimately settled on Balanchine as the artistic leader for his venture despite doubts about the choreographer’s health and commitment to ballet pedagogy. Initially the organization was to be located in Hartford, Connecticut, under the auspices of a museum, but owing to misalignment in institutional priorities between Balanchine and Kirstein it was soon relocated to New York City. There is also evidence that Kirstein was the primary advocate of making a school the focus of the organization in its inception and that Balanchine’s primary interest was to create new ballets.

Keywords:   George Balanchine, Lincoln Kirstein, Les Ballets 1933, Léonide Massine, Serge Lifar, Ballets Russes, School of American Ballet

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