Wednesday, December 9, 2009

This Day in Dance History: December 9

Dec 9, 1963-The Joffrey Ballet returned from a tour of Russia consisting of thirteen sold out performances. Russian critics were generally more favorable to the company than they had been to a visit by George Balanchine’s New York City Ballet the previous year. The Soviets felt that Balanchine’s abstract style, which stressed motion over story telling, diluted the classical legacy. Tass, the official Soviet news agency wrote that the tour was “the greatest success of all the American companies that have danced in Leningrad.”

And on this date in 1990- Boris Kochno passed away at age 86. Kochno’s artistic direction in major companies and scenarios for Serge Diaghilev, George Balanchine and Roland Petit. One of his most enduring contributions to ballet was the Balanchine ballet "Prodigal Son" on which he collaborated.

Grand Rapids Ballet Presents The Prodigal Son from Grand Rapids Ballet on Vimeo.

And on this date in 1997-Tamara Geva, the Russian-born dancer and actress passed away at age 91. Born Tamara Gevergeyev in St. Petersburg in 1906, she studied ballet at the Marinski Ballet School. There she met George Balanchine and the couple married in 1923. They left Russia the following year and were separated soon after. Geva found a new career in Broadway musicals and authored an autobiography Split Seconds in 1972.