One of the most prominent aspects of my childhood was my adoration for Barbie. Besides my hand-me-down dollhouse, the movies were the most enjoyable from the brand’s merchandise; my favorite was Barbie in the Nutcracker. The pas de deux, which featured the heroine, “Clara,” was mesmerizing. I admired Clara, constantly wishing my name had been identical to hers. She inspired me to begin ballet, at the age of five. This children’s rendition of Marius Petipa’s ballet, The Nutcracker, established my passion for the art form.
The Sleeping Beauty, another of Petipa’s ballets, prompted a similar effect on, famed choreographer, George Balanchine. Making his first, onstage, appearance, as the role of Cupid, exposed him to all the harmonious elements that contribute to a ballet. It stimulated the epiphany of his love for the art form . Inspiring Balanchine to adopt ballet as his passion, and optimize his, otherwise, melancholic time at the ballet school, is significant to the existence of his legacy.
His greatness lies in his interpretation of the relationship between music and dance, initiation of neoclassical ballet, and collaborations with Lincoln Kirstein and Igor Stravinsky. George Balanchine, the second of three children, was born on January 22, 1904, in St. Petersburg, Russia; his birth name was Georgi Melitonovich Balanchivadze. The most sincere moments of his childhood were of the time spent in St. Petersburg. Their memorability relied upon the companionship of his, older and younger, siblings, Tamara and Andrei, and humility of their sources of entertainment. “Playing on Poklonnaya Hill, with its three ponds; about walking along the embankment of the Neva; about trips to the zoo” were the epitome of Balanchine’s, short-lived, childhood.
After their father, Milton Antonovich Balanchivadze, won a state lottery, irresponsible spending left the family bankrupt. Their “twelve-room apartment” was repossessed, and the family moved into their small dacha in southwestern Finland.
Both homes were consequences of the spending spree. Juxtaposing their home in St. Petersburg, to that in the unknown town of Finland, the event of losing their apartment in the big city could, initially, appear to be a misfortune. The family’s relocation was essential in ensuring an investment in Balanchine’s future career as a musician and choreographer. Residing in their Finnish dacha accommodated to Balanchine’s potential as a musician. Balanchine already carried knowledge in piano theory. His mother, Maria Nikolayevna Vassílyeva, had been his piano teacher since he was five. The location provided Balanchine with the opportunity to “[take] piano lessons from a severe German lady”. This new insight, enmeshing with his pre-existing knowledge, could have efficiently developed Balanchine’s comprehension of piano theory. The synergistic effect would lack if one, or the other, was absent. It benefits Balanchine in the long run, especially as a choreographer.
The scarcity of choreographers that carry expertise in music theory provides leverage. His experience and knowledge become more appealing, catalyzing his success. This was what later attracted, composer, Igor Stravinsky. Tamara, Balanchine, and Andrei followed Meliton Balanchivadze’s second marriage to Maria Nikolayevna Vassílyeva. Meliton had previously been widowed. The result of his first marriage provided Balanchine with the opportunity of having half-siblings. One of his older, male, half-siblings played the role of the family’s benefactor. Maria was hoping for Tamara to be accepted in the Imperial School of Ballet and Theater, and Balanchine, in the Imperial Naval Academy. Funded at state’s expense, a good education would be guaranteed. It would be difficult for the children to receive an education, otherwise, due to the family’s remaining financial issues.
The half-sibling had been associated to the military, and thus, could assist Balanchine with his application to the academy. Their lack of punctuality at the Imperial Naval Academy led to Balanchine applying for the Imperial School of Ballet and Theater, as well. Balanchine passed, but Tamara had not. Balanchine was subject to alienation at the school, for it had been his sister who desired to be a dancer, instead of himself. His mother’s task of leaving Balanchine in the ballet school was done, not out of cruelty, but compassion. A good education is equivalent to a promise for the future. To prepare her child for his future endeavors was intelligent. Balanchine would also have the potential to break, or avoid, the cycle of poverty. Two influences of Balanchine’s were Fedor Lopukhov and Kasian Goleizovsky .
Lopukhov revolutionized the idea of “‘dancing the music’.” It differed from the previous standard of “‘dancing close to the music’”. The significance is in how the relationship between music and dance is interpreted. Lopukhov suggests that dance and music belong in a single entity. When choreographing a piece, the two factors should mirror one another. One should be equivalent to, and follow, the other. Lopukhov advocates meticulosity in disassembling the musical score, and inspecting each individual component.
Kasian Goleizovsky was famed for modifying, and modernizing, traditional, classical ballet, positions. They were modifications, but not changes. Goleizovsky was known to take advantage of the use of levels in his performances. He could utilize a ballerina, balancing on her standing leg, and place her in an unusually low or high level. Ballet vocabulary evolved in tandem with his creativity. The recognition he gained in attempting a foreign innovation provides a precedent to other, experimental, choreographers, including Balanchine. Balanchine was inspired by the boldness in Goleizovsky’s display of creative freedom. This may, or may not, have been considered by Balanchine in sharing his first, neoclassical, piece. Apollo was the product of Balanchine’s collaboration with Igor Stravinsky. Bridging classicism and modernism, it was the epitome of neoclassicism.