George Balanchine was the greatest artist of the 20th Century, by far. I got to see a lot of his work when it was still being performed under his direction.  I knew many people who knew him, professionally or in more personal ways, but I never met him myself.

Once, in the lobby of the State Theater, during an intermission in a program of The New York City Ballet, I was looking for a friend and my eyes lighted upon Balanchine, standing about ten feet away from me. Our eyes met for a moment, I nodded slightly and he nodded back, slightly. Then I looked away and walked to a different part of the lobby.

I consider this one of the most thrilling moments of my life.

4 thoughts on “GEORGE BALANCHINE

  1. Wow! Now, that’s an encounter. I once worked briefly for Gerald Arpino a few years ago, and any time anyone asked me what I thought of him, my response was “Hell isn’t ready for Gerald Arpino.”

  2. Thanks for the vicarious thrill. I’m not sure I’m seen this picture before. The Fall issue of Ballet Review has a remarkable “drawing by Balanchine of his performance on the opening night of his Mazurka from ‘A Life of the Tsar.'”

    • Balanchine was about the age he is in the picture above when we nodded at each other. He was very short, but had a habit of tilting his back slightly and peering at the world down his nose, as though viewing it from a great height.

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