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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.57) Chapter 3 1934–1935
Balanchine and Kirstein's American Enterprise

James Steichen

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the March 1935 performances of the American Ballet at the Adelphi Theater in New York City, the official premiere of the company and its new repertoire. Preparations for the engagement revealed ongoing disagreement about the direction of the enterprise, and the performances met with a mixed reception. The engagement was an occasion for Kirstein and others to debate the goals and mission of the organization, and dance critic John Martin was one of many critical voices contributing to debate on their efforts. The American Ballet’s activities were in part a response to the Russian ballet companies then active in the United States, notably the troupe led by choreographer Léonide Massine. Massine’s recent innovation of “symphonic ballet” was one of many artistic trends with which Balanchine’s work was in dialogue, most notably in his ballet Serenade.

Keywords:   George Balanchine, Lincoln Kirstein, American Ballet, John Martin, Errante, Serenade, Edward Warburg, Léonide Massine, symphonic ballet

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