This chapter revisits the circumstances by which the American Ballet became the resident dance company at the Metropolitan Opera in 1935. Many accounts have construed this engagement as a surprise development, but in fact the company lobbied heavily to secure it, and were successful thanks to Edward Warburg’s close ties with the management of the opera and the Juilliard organization. Evidence reveals that choreographer Ruth Page had been a leading candidate before internal dynamics at the opera led to the selection of Balanchine. During these negotiations the American Ballet had the opportunity to perform again for the public, in part in the course of a short-lived cross-country tour. This ambitious tour was cut short as a result of mismanagement on the part of Warburg and led to questions about whether the American Ballet was in fact ready to assume their new role at the opera.
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