“Choreography” is the term use to describe the assembly of dance moves you see in ballet or any other type of dance performance. Before the advent of video recording, choreography had to passed down to dancers from generation to generation. This is still how its done today, although it’s nice to know we can now see forever these amazing designs of art and skill. Tajo refers to several choreographers during the course of Feeding; here’s a look at some of them.
Marius Petipa was one of the most influential choreographers in history; his work endures on the ballet stage today. He forged the Russian Imperial Theatres in St. Petersburg into the premier ballet ensemble in the world. The complexity and beauty of his choreography continues to inspire ballet dancers.
Vaslav Nijinsky was a brilliant dancer and choreographer who helped bring ballet choreography into the 20th century, particularly in his work with the Ballets Russes. If you don’t think ballet can be controversial, think again—in 1913, fighting and a near-riot broke out in the audience at the premiere of Le Sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring), choreographed by Nijinsky to music by Igor Stravinsky. One of Nijinsky’s most influential works was his sexually charged choreography and performance of L’Après-midi d’un faune (Afternoon of a Faun) to music by Claude Debussy.
George Balanchine was educated at Russia’s Imperial Ballet School and brought that extensive knowledge to America, where he exerted a tremendous influence on the development of American dance from ballet to modern dance. Balanchine helped found the School of American Ballet and the New York City Ballet.
Jerome Robbins learned ballet and used that knowledge to create not only fascinating modern ballets but some of the best dance sequences in Broadway history. His most enduring work was for both the stage and screen versions of West Side Story.
Bob Fosse used his early career in burlesque houses and on Broadway to create a singular dance style that is still influencing today’s musical and pop culture choreography. Fosse’s best work is preserved in the film version of the musical Cabaret and the gritty autobiographical movie All That Jazz.
Tajo’s dream is to be accepted into a really good ballet school, and one of the best is the School of American Ballet (SAB), located in New York City’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. The SAB was founded by George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein, two of the most influential figures in American ballet history. These men also co-founded the New York City Ballet. Graduates of the SAB often go on to major careers in ballet and other fields of dance. To encourage more boys to dance ballet, the SAB offers a cost-free program for young boys interested in ballet. The video above offers a terrific look at the program and the work it takes for a young person to develop into a professional dancer. Ballet is an extremely disciplined and physically demanding art form; the dancers who make their moves look so light and effortless have invested thousands of hours of grueling work to achieve that effect.