This chapter chronicles the first public performances by dancers from the School of American Ballet in 1934. Although these performances have been construed as previews prior to the company’s official debut in 1935, both were important milestones in the life of the organization. The June 1934 performance at Woodlands, the family estate of Edward Warburg, was a somewhat makeshift affair and revealed the haphazard management of the enterprise. It offered not only the first public performances of Serenade but revised versions of two of Balanchine’s existing ballets, Dreams and Mozartiana. A second more public engagement in Hartford in December 1934 witnessed the premieres of two additional works, Transcendence and the collegiate satire Alma Mater (with a score by Kay Swift). These early offerings of the American Ballet met with mixed reactions and criticism as they were not geared to a wide audience and were not overtly American in character.
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