Sunday, October 11, 2015

Jerome Robbins -something to dance about

Jerome Robbins, one of the most popular choreographers of the 20th century in the fields of ballet  and Broadway musical was born on October 11th 1918.

A leading personality in the American musical stage, he contributed significantly in the evolution of the genre. West Side StoryFiddler on the RoofThe King And I are amongst his most famous productions. He also worked with the two great ballet companies in New York –American Ballet Theater and New York City Ballet. His works convey the mood of his times, combining comical elements, contemporary neuroses, street style and urban culture with the classical ballet technique.

Robbins_rehearsal-west side story

West Side Story rehearsal -image source

3 pieces -3 fun facts:

His very first piece Fancy Free was so warmly received by the audience that dancers were brought on stage 22 times to bow!

He had the reputation of a ‘harsh’ choreographer, demanding accuracy and scrutinizing every detail. It is said that when he finally approved the final scene of Cool –one of the most demanding choreographies in West Side Story- the dancers burned their kneepads outside his office, in order to ensure that they wouldn’t rehearse the piece anymore!

Copyright The New York Public Library, Friedman-Abeles Photograph Collection, 1957

The Mistake Waltz is one of his funniest choreographies and one of the best ballet parodies ever. It is part of his piece The Concert –orthe perils of everybody, originally created for New York City Ballet. If you haven’t watched it already, do it now!


See also:

4 Books and a film on Jerome Robbins:
Jerome Robbins: His Life, His Theater, His Dance
Dance with Demons: The Life of Jerome Robbins
Jerome Robbins: That Broadway Man, That Ballet Man
Somewhere: The Life of Jerome Robbins
Jerome Robbins: Something to Dance About [DVD]

More dance history.

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