By Ashley Wolf – Diablo Ballet

There are a few things we know. George Balanchine was one of the world’s greatest choreographers.  He Imagecreated works for both the stage and movie screen. He worked with Pablo Picasso. Wait. What?  You didn’t know that?  Since all of us at Diablo Ballet are in a Balanchine kinda mood (we’re performing his work this weekend), here are some other interesting, fun, and sometimes bizarre facts about George Balanchine:

  •  His first marriage began when he was 18 years old and his bride, Tamara Geva, was just 15 years old. 
  •  In total he married and divorced 4 times.
  •  Known as a bit of a ladies man, Balanchine would give his various ballerina girlfriends different perfumes so he could distinguish who was coming down the hall.
  • Worked with Claude Debussy, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Coco Channel at various times.
  • While living in Hollywood, Balanchine created dances for 5 movies.
  • His dance, Enigma, was preformed with bare feet rather than ballet shoes.
  • In 1944 Balanchine choreographed and performed in a short piece made for the March of Dimes.  He played the part of Polio, with the role of his victim being 15 year old Tanaquil “Tanny”.  Tanny was later Balanchine’s fourth wife and was struck with polio at the age of 27.  She became paralyzed from the waist down.  Balanchine left Tanny in charge of collecting royalties for his dances.  Tanny died at the age of 71 on December 31, 2000.

Ashley Wolf is one of Diablo Ballet’s great assistants

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