GEORGE BALANCHINE (1904-1983)
Georgi Melitonovitch Balanchivadze, better known as George Balanchine,
was born in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1904. The son of a composer, he
studied ballet at the Imperial School, graduating with honors in 1921.
For the next few years, Balanchine performed with the corps de ballet
of the State Theater of Opera and Ballet, while continuing his studies
at the Petrograd Conservatory of Music. This extensive training later
allowed him to reduce orchestral scores for the piano, and to communicate
easily with composers such as Igor Stravinsky. In the summer of 1924,
Serge Diaghilev invited Balanchine to audition for the famous Ballets
Russes in Paris. A knee injury prompted his move toward full-time choreography;
he served as ballet master until the company disbanded following Diaghilev's
death in 1929.
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