Friday, December 11, 2009

Today in Dance History: December 11

Dec 11, 1901-Choreographer Lev Ivanov passed away. Ivanov was best remembered for his work on two of the world’s most popular ballets, The Nutcracker and Swan Lake. The Nutcracker became Ivanov’s project when Marius Petipa fell ill. An early version of Swan Lake created by choreographer Julius Reisinger was a failure. After Tchaikovsky’s death in 1893, Ivanov staged a one act version in honor of the composer. The success of Ivanov's choreography for Act II led the company to stage a complete new production in 1895, under Petipa's artistic direction, in which Ivanov created the choreography for Acts II and IV and Petipa for Acts I and III. It is now the most popular ballet in the world, providing the most iconic images of classical ballet.

And on this date in 1916- "The Mambo King" Pérez Prado was born. One of the most influential pop orchestra leaders of the early 1950s, was the first to market his compositions under the name "mambo," and his "Mambo No. 5" took Latin America and the U.S. by storm.

And on this date in 1923-George Balanchine, still known by his Georgian name, Balanchivadze, as the ballet master of the Maly Opera Theater, staged the dances for the company’s production of Le Coq d’Or, which debuted today.

And on this date in 1929-Sir Kenneth MacMillan was born in Scotland. He was artistic director of the Royal Ballet from 1970 until 1977, but continued to choreograph works for them until his death backstage at the Royal Opera House in 1992.