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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.103) Chapter 5 1935–1936
Balanchine and Kirstein's American Enterprise

James Steichen

Oxford University Press

This chapter details the activities of the American Ballet during their first year at the Metropolitan Opera as well as the start of Balanchine’s career as a Broadway choreographer. The American Ballet met with mixed success in opera productions but also had the chance to present their own ballets. At this time Balanchine took on work for the Broadway stage, including dances for the 1936 Ziegfeld Follies. Soon after he signed on as choreographer for Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart’s new musical On Your Toes. For this musical he created several substantial dance numbers that blended ballet and tap dancing. This work was far more popular than the American Ballet’s controversial production of the opera Orpheus and Eurydice, premiered around the same time. A short-lived “Bach Ballet” inspired by On Your Toes reveals the close connections among these projects and was likely an early inspiration for Balanchine’s ballet Concerto Barocco.

Keywords:   George Balanchine, Lincoln Kirstein, American Ballet, On Your Toes, Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart, Orpheus and Eurydice, Ziegfeld Follies, Concerto Barocco

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