New York City Ballet

What Goes Into Making this Company Unique

The History

Becoming New York City Ballet

It all started when Lincoln Kirstein invited George Balanchine to form a company in the United States (George Balanchine 2015). Within time they became the co-founders of the company today called, New York City Ballet. Through the years the name changed a couple of times for the company. Such as, in 1935 it was called "American Ballet", later it was known as "Ballet Society", and finally it was named New York City Ballet (George Balanchine 2015). Even though the name changed, the company's purpose didn't. The company helped develop an American audience for ballet and influence dance (George Balanchine 2015). Meanwhile the company made strides, they still stayed true to their roots. The company's dancing remained strictly classical, but it gave a traditional, modern twist (Diggory 2009). Also stated was, "Balanchine created an exciting, exacting dance idiom rooted in classical ballet but reflecting 20th-century upheaval through carefully articulated movement." (George Balanchine 2015). Of course the dancing played a huge part, but music also played a big part in Balanchine's work (Minden 2005). In every production, the dancing and music reflected each other and still do. This also helps make the company who they are. In addition, since they built a school, School of American Ballet, their ideas and styles of dancing can be passed on for generations ahead.

  • Signature ballet was "Serenade", also their 1st work in America (Minden 2005).
  • George Balanchine was artistic director for 36 years (George Balanchine 2015).
  • The company was presented at New York City Center for Music and Drama (New York City Ballet Accessed 2015).

"George Balanchine defined American classicism." (Minden 2005)

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Kareem Ahmed

Swan Lake - Tchaikovsky by Kareem Ahmed

"...Balanchine's Ballet has a French basis, a Russian inflection, and American aims." (Diggory 2009)

A Broadway Influence

Through New York City Ballet's journey of growth, there was a long history of Broadway included (Gold 2015). Even one of the founders brought some Broadway to the company. For example, Balanchine choreographed for "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue" for Rodgers & Hart Musical (Gold 2015). Although he wasn't the only one who brought Broadway influence to the company. Jerome Robbins, who was an associate artistic director for the company, brought some Broadway style to the company. He choreographed the "West Side Story Suite", "Fancy Free" and many more (Harmon 2015). These pieces helped him go into Broadway, which then allowed him to be part of both Ballet and Broadway worlds (Harmon 2015). He was also known for using current American themes in ballets based on traditional framework of classical dance (Harmon 2015). Overall, the Broadway style rubbed into the work of this ballet company.

  • Robert Fairchild(Principal dancer of company) is now on Broadway in "An American in Paris" and was Tony-nominated.

"Balanchine, who had recruited Robbins as co-head of NYCB, and Peter Martins, who holds the reins today, all allow, even welcome, elements of Broadway showmanship to dribble into their work." (Gold 2015)


Current day, there is about 90 dancers in the company, thus making it the largest dance organization in America (New York City Ballet Accessed 2015). There is more than 150 works being performed at the time (New York City Ballet Accessed 2015). These works have been choreographed by Balanchine, Robbins, Martins etc. Peter Martins now has complete responsibility for the company (New York City Ballet Accessed 2015).
George Balanchine's THE NUTCRACKER™ - November 27, 2015 - January 3, 2016

Famous Ballet Dancers


1.Source: "George Balanchine." American History. ABC-CLIO, 2015. Web. 19 Sept. 2015.

How it relates to the project: This source is about one of the co-founders of the company. Also how the company got started. It gives me background information, of my general topics I wanted to cover.

2. Source: "New York City Ballet - Home." NYCB. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Sept. 2015.

How it relates to the project: This source was written by the organization of the ballet company.Tells me about the company throughout the years and current day. It gives me information that is current and update, what is presently going on.

3. Source: Diggory, Terence. "New York City Ballet and the New York School poets." Encyclopedia of the New York School Poets. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2009. Bloom's Literature. Facts On File, Inc. Web. 19 Sept. 2015 <>.

How it relates to the project: This source tells what makes New York City Ballet’s style of dancing that style. Also explains how nycb dancing is different from every other company’s dancing.

4. Source: Minden, Eliza Gaynor. The Ballet Companion: A Dancer's Guide to the Technique, Traditions, and Joys of Ballet. New York: Fireside Book/Simon & Schuster, 2005. Print.

How it relates to the project: This source's information is out of a book written by a well known person in the ballet world. It gave me extra information on one of the founders and the company itself. It gives me good detail about the company.

5. Source: Gold, Sylvaine. "Ballet Stars Talk Tony-nominated 'An American in Paris' and Broadway Leap." Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 2015. Web. 25 Sept. 2015.

How it relates to the project: It is an article from the L.A. times. Explains how the company includes Broadway elements, that makes them unique. Gives current events involving the company and Broadway.

6. Source: Harmon, Justin. "Jerome Robbins." American History. ABC-CLIO, 2015. Web. 22 Sept. 2015.

How it relates to the project: It explains the journey of one the associate artistic directors. He played a big in the performing arts in general, but especially how he was involved with the company. Shows how he helped the company.