KAY MAZZO and PETER MARTINS TAPE VIDEO SERIES for THE GEORGE BALANCHINE FOUNDATION
Former principal dancers with New York City Ballet coach roles Balanchine created on them
New York City –Kay Mazzo and Peter Martins, former principal dancers with New York City Ballet, have coached their roles in Duo Concertant and Stravinsky Violin Concerto for the cameras of The George Balanchine Foundation’s Interpreters Archive. Martins is now Ballet Master in Chief of New York City Ballet, and he and Mazzo are Co-Chairmen of the Faculty at the company’s official academy, School of American Ballet. The aim of the Interpreters Archive video series is to document the viewpoints of leading dancers on whom Balanchine choreographed his ballets or with whom he worked closely, capturing his intentions at the time of creation through coaching sessions with dancers of today. Taping sessions were held on November 19 and December 3, 2012, in New York City Ballet studios in the Rose Building, Lincoln Center, New York.
Martins and Mazzo coached the complete Duo Concertant with NYCB principal dancers Sterling Hyltin and Robert Fairchild. They later coached Aria II of Stravinsky Violin Concerto with the same dancers, who were then joined by principal dancers Rebecca Krohn and Amar Ramasar for the coaching of excerpts from the ballet’s Toccata and Capriccio sections. Nancy McDill, solo pianist with NYCB Orchestra, played for the sessions. Charles M. Joseph, noted Stravinsky author, conducted an interview with the two coaches. The taping was supervised by Nancy Reynolds, the foundation’s director of research, assisted by Nichol Hlinka, a former NYCB principal dancer, who is the associate director of the foundation’s video archives program, and former film professor Virginia Brooks.
Duo Concertant and StravinskyViolin Concerto are considered two of the gems premiered during the renowned NYCB Stravinsky Festival of June 1972. Each displays a partnership between music and dance that is unusually close, even within the Balanchine canon. And while each has its own movement vocabulary, taken together many of the choreographic ideas are unique to these two ballets. Both coaches have described the exactitude with which Balanchine choreographed the compositions. Perhaps not so coincidentally, they were written in the same year (1931); there are particularly acute musical echoes of the Dithyrambe (final) section of Duo Concertant in Violin Concerto’s Aria II
KAY MAZZO, following performances with Jerome Robbins’s Ballets U.S.A., joined New York City Ballet in 1961. She was promoted to soloist in 1965 and principal dancer in 1968. Balanchine created principal roles for her in Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Duo Concertant, Tschaikovsky Suite No. 3, Scherzo à la Russe, Union Jack, Vienna Waltzes, and Robert Schumann’s Davidsbündlertänze, among others. She originated principal roles in the Robbins’s Dances at a Gathering (1969) and In the Night (1970). Over the course of her nearly twenty-year career, Mazzo’s repertoire included numerous roles in the works of Balanchine, Robbins and such choreographers as Merce Cunningham, Antony Tudor, Todd Bolender and John Taras. Among the many ballets in which she performed principal parts are Swan Lake, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™, Serenade, Symphony in C, Jewels, Agon, Square Dance, Episodes, La Sonnambula, Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, La Valse, Liebeslieder Walzer, Apollo, and Donizetti Variations. Her dancing partners included Jacques d’Amboise, Peter Martins, Edward Villella, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Sean Lavery. In 1983, Mazzo joined the faculty of SAB, serving as a coordinator of curriculum between 1993 and 1997. She was appointed Co-Chairman of Faculty in October 1997. She currently teaches advanced classes and, with Peter Martins, oversees all aspects of the training of SAB’s Winter Term and Summer Course students.
PETER MARTINS, Danish born, has spent more than 40 years with New York City Ballet as a dancer, choreographer, and Ballet Master in Chief. After appearing for three years as a guest artist, Martins joined the company as a principal dancer in 1970. During his career as a dancer, from which he retired in 1983, he performed in a wide variety of ballets in the repertory, and originated roles Balanchine’s Duo Concertant, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Chaconne, Union Jack, Tzigane, and Vienna Waltzes and in Jerome Robbins’s Goldberg Variations and In the Night. From 1983 to 1989, he and Jerome Robbins served as co-Ballet Masters in Chief of the New York City Ballet and, in 1990, Martins assumed sole directorship of the company. Under his leadership NYCB has added significantly to its repertory, while maintaining the integrity of its core works, the 20th-century masterpieces by Balanchine and Robbins. Martins has choreographed numerous ballets, mainly for NYCB. He began his career as a choreographer in 1977 with Calcium Light Night and has since created more than 80 ballets, many of them set to scores by contemporary American composers.
ROBERT FAIRCHILD became an apprentice with NYCB in 2005. The following June, he joined the company’s corps de ballet; in 2007 he was promoted to soloist and in 2009 to principal dancer. He has performed leading roles in numerous Balanchine ballets, including Apollo, Duo Concertant, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, La Sonnambula, Liebeslieder Walzer, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™, and Who Cares?; Robbins’s Afternoon of a Faun, Fancy Free, Opus19/ The Dreamer, and West Side Story; and Martins’s Jeu de Carte, Swan Lake, and Thou Swell. His originated roles include those in Martins’s Romeo+Juliet (Romeo), Alexei Ratmansky’s Namouna, and Christopher Wheeldon’s Les Carillons. In summer 2012 he was coached in Apollo by Jacques d’Amboise for the Balanchine Foundation’s Interpreters Archive.
STERLING HYLTIN became an NYCB apprentice in 2002, a full member of the corps de ballet in 2003, a soloist in 2006, and a principal dancer in 2007. Her repertory encompasses leading roles in a wide range of Balanchine ballets, including Duo Concertant, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Apollo, Coppélia, Danses Concertantes, Divertimento No. 15, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™, and La Source; Robbins’s Afternoon of a Faun, The Concert, and In G Major; and Martins’ Calcium Light Night, Morgen, and The Sleeping Beauty. She appears, with Gonzalo Garcia, in an Interpreters Archive video in which Violette Verdy and Helgi Tomasson coach La Source.
REBECCA KROHN became an NYCB apprentice in 1998, a member of the corps de ballet in 1999, a soloist in 2006, and a principal dancer in 2012. Her featured roles include Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet (first movement), Concerto Barocco, Firebird, Episodes, The Four Temperaments, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™ (Sugar Plum Fairy and others), Kammermusik No. 2, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Helena), Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Monumentum pro Gesualdo, Movements for Piano and Orchestra, and Western Symphony (Balanchine); Antique Epigraphs, The Cage, Dances at a Gathering, Fancy Free, The Four Seasons (Summer), I’m Old Fashioned, and Moves (Robbins); and works by Martins (Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty), Angelin Preljocaj, and Alexei Ratmansky. She danced in the NYCB premiere of N. Y. Export: Opus Jazz (Robbins) and in the film of the same name, which was shot in various locations around New York City.
AMAR RAMASAR became an apprentice with New York City Ballet in 2000, a corps de ballet member in 2001, a soloist in 2006, and a principal dancer in 2009. Since then he has performed in numerous ballets, including, among others, Agon, ‘Emeralds’ from Jewels, The Four Temperaments, Episodes, Divertimento No. 15, Who Cares?, and Kammermusik No. 2 (Balanchine); Dances at a Gathering, Fancy Free, Fanfare (Percussion), West Side Story Suite (Bernardo), and In the Night (Robbins); Romeo + Juliet (Tybalt), Les Gentilhommes, and Fearful Symmetries, (Martins); After the Rain, DGV: Danse à Grand Vitesse, and Polyphonia (Wheeldon), and works by Ulysses Dove, Angeling Preljocaj, and Susan Stroman. He originated roles in Martins’s Ocean’s Kingdom, Alexei Ratmansky’s Russian Seasons, and Wheeldon’s Les Carillons, among others.
CHARLES M. JOSEPH is the author of four books on the life and music of Igor Stravinsky. His 2002 Stravinsky and Balanchine: A Journey of Invention won a Deems Taylor Award for Excellence in Writing. His most recent book, Stravinsky’s Ballets was recently released by Yale University Press. Joseph is Professor Emeritus at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY.
NANCY REYNOLDS, a dance historian and former member of the New York City Ballet, is the Balanchine Foundation’s director of research and director of the video archives program.
NICHOL HLINKA, a former principal dancer with New York City Ballet, performed leading roles in numerous Balanchine ballets during her twenty-four-year career. She joined the Balanchine Foundation in 2010 and is the associate project director for the video archives program.
VIRGINIA BROOKS, Professor Emerita of Film at Brooklyn College/CUNY, and director of several dance documentaries, has been editor of the Balanchine Foundation’s video archives program since its inception in 1994.
The George Balanchine Foundation is a not for profit corporation established in 1983. Its mission is to create programs that educate the public and further Balanchine’s work and aesthetic with the goal of advancing high standards of excellence in dance and its allied arts. Among the Foundation’s major initiatives are the Video Archives in which dancers who worked closely with Balanchine teach and coach their roles to the dancers of today (Interpreters Archive) or recreate Balanchine ballets that are rarely performed and in danger of disappearing (Archive of Lost Choreography). Legendary dancers who have taken part in this project include Alicia Markova, Maria Tallchief, Frederic Franklin, Alicia Alonso, Melissa Hayden, Allegra Kent, Todd Bolender, Merrill Ashley, Suzanne Farrell, Marie-Jeanne, Violette Verdy, Edward Villella, Patricia Wilde, Yvonne Mounsey, and Helgi Tomasson, working with leading dancers from such companies as New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, and The Suzanne Farrell Ballet, among others.
In 2007 the Foundation announced the completion of another major initiative, the online publication of the Balanchine Catalogue, a fully searchable database giving first-performance details of all known dances created by Balanchine, supplemented by lists of companies staging the ballets, a bibliography, a videography, reference resources, a database of roles Balanchine performed, and additional related materials
The project was made possible by a leadership grant from The Jerome Robbins Foundation.
Earlier projects include Popular Balanchine, comprising forty-two boxes of material pertaining to Balanchine’s commercial work, housed at the Jerome Robbins Dance Division of the New York Public Library; and Music Dances: Balanchine Choreographs Stravinsky, a video by Professor Stephanie Jordan of Roehampton University, London.