New York City Ballet founder George Balanchine choreographed many ballets, including Chaconne and the Diamonds section of Jewels (1977), for his muse, ballerina Suzanne Farrell, and Peter Martins, who succeeded him as artistic director of the company. Both demonstrate Balanchine's revolutionary neoclassicism. Chaconne, 1978, was filmed for Thirteen/WNET New York's Dance in America series.


Suzanne Farrell and Peter Martins in the <i>Diamonds</i> section of <i>Jewels</i>, New York City Ballet, 1977 Pictured: Suzanne Farrell and Peter Martins in the Diamonds section of Jewels, New York City Ballet, 1977. (Photo by Paul Kolnik. Choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust.)


The last of several companies founded by George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein, the New York City Ballet has been the premier American company since it came into existence in 1948. Balanchine, who died in 1983, created an extraordinary body of work for the company, which is the chief repository of his choreography and remains identified with its neoclassical style, experimentalist impulse, and aesthetic. Choreographer Jerome Robbins, in an association that lasted nearly forty years, created numerous works for the company as well. NYCB changed the way Americans danced. It created a new canon of classics, a repertory unrivaled in its diversity by any other twentieth-century company. It created a new kind of ballerina—tall, speedy, powerful, articulate—and made stars of Maria Tallchief, Tanaquil Le Clercq, Allegra Kent, Suzanne Farrell, Merrill Ashley, Kyra Nichols, and Wendy Whelan. Through its former dancers, who are now teaching and directing companies throughout the United States, it has had an incalculable impact on the entire field of American ballet. Since 1983 the company has been directed by Peter Martins. www.nycballet.com

Learn more in New York City Ballet by Nancy Reynolds.


Melissa Hayden and members of the New York City Ballet, Photo by Martha Swope Pictured: Melissa Hayden and members of the New York City Ballet in George Balanchine's Stars and Stripes (1958) with music by John Philip Sousa arranged by Hershey Kay, a ballet in which Balanchine celebrated the culture of his adopted country. (Photograph by Martha Swope. Choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust.)