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YGK Choreographers

You Gotta Know These Choreographers

The first dancer invited to perform at the White House. As a choreographer, she developed the “________ technique” that creates dramatic tension through “contraction” and “release” of major muscles. Martha Graham (the Graham Technique)
Her first major success was her 1958 concert-length ballet Clytemnestra, one of four collaborations with composer Halim Ed-Dabh. Martha Graham
He danced the male lead in Appalachian Spring, a ballet with “an American theme” that Graham commissioned from Aaron Copland. Erick Hawkins
She performed the title role in Clytemnestra with her namesake dance company, whose dancers included Merce Cunningham and her husband, Erick Hawkins, both of whom went on to become choreographers in their own right. Martha Graham
accepted to the Imperial Ballet School in St. Petersburg, Russia, at age 9, eventually becoming a teacher there. Michel Fokine
He mentored Vaslav Nijinsky and featured him in early works like Les Sylphides, a ballet based on the music of Frédéric Chopin. Michel Fokine
He choreographed a four-minute ballet for Anna Pavlova called The Dying Swan, set to “The Swan” from The Carnival of the Animals (the title comes from a Tennyson poem entitled “The Dying Swan”). Michel Fokine
After Sergei Diaghilev hired him to work for the Ballets Russes in Paris, he showcased Nijinsky’s talents in several ballets based on the work of famous composers, such as Scheherazade, The Firebird, Petrushka, Daphnis et Chloé, & The Spirit of the Rose. Michel Fokine
However, once Nijinsky turned to choreography this man quit the Ballets Russes, only returning after Nijinsky’s dismissal. Michel Fokine
Came to prominence in the 1953 film Kiss Me Kate. While he and dance partner Carol Haney only had small roles, the dance that he choreographed for them in the number “From This Moment On” launched his career. Bob Fosse
His unique style, featuring turned-in knees, rolled shoulders, sideways movement, and “jazz hands,” found its greatest expression on Broadway, where he choreographed the musicals The Pajama Game, Damn Yankees, Redhead, Sweet Charity, Pippin, and Chicago. Bob Fosse
Many of his works featured his wife Gwen Verdon, who won four Tonys under his choreography or direction. He also directed the films Cabaret and All That Jazz, winning an Oscar for Cabaret. Bob Fosse
Many commentators have described his cameo as The Snake in a 1974 film adaptation of The Little Prince as a forerunner to the dance style of Michael Jackson. Bob Fosse
Probably best known for his work with Leonard Bernstein. He broke through as a choreographer with an experimental ballet about three sailors on leave in New York City, Fancy Free, which he then helped rework into the hit 1944 musical On the Town. Jerome Robbins
Known for being temperamental and difficult to work with, he conceived, choreographed, & directed the 1957 original production of West Side Story & won an Oscar for co-directing the 1961 film version (despite quitting early on due to creative differences) Jerome Robbins
He also choreographed and directed the original production of Fiddler on the Roof. He acted as an uncredited “show doctor,” rescuing several floundering Broadway shows, including A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Funny Girl. Jerome Robbins
Trained in his native Georgia and Russia and briefly worked with Diaghilev at the Ballets Russes in Paris before being invited by impresario Lincoln Kirstein to the United States George Balanchine
As artistic director of NYCB, he began the tradition of annually staging The Nutcracker at Christmas. One of his four wives—all dancers—was the company’s first major star, Native American prima ballerina Maria Tallchief. George Balanchine
With Lincoln Kirstein, he co-founded the New York City Ballet (NYCB) and its associated School of American Ballet. George Balanchine
He collaborated with composer Igor Stravinsky and visual artist Isamu Noguchi on the 30-minute ballet Orpheus. George Balanchine
Known as the greatest male dancer of his era, but what he really wanted to do was choreograph. His boss at the Ballets Russes, Sergei Diaghilev, gave him the opportunity in 1912 with The Afternoon of a Faun, set to the music of Debussy, Vaslav Nijinsky
A year later a riot broke out at the premiere of another ballet he choreographed, his choreography of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. (The exact cause of the riot is unclear.) Vaslav Nijinsky
In 1919 he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He never danced again in public, and spent much of the rest of his life in various asylums and institutions. Vaslav Nijinsky
a pioneering African-American choreographer. He originally danced in the Horton Dance Company run by his mentor Lester Horton. After Horton’s unexpected death in 1953, he took over as its artistic director. Alvin Ailey
In 1958 he formed his namesake American Dance Theater in New York City. His best-known work, Revelations, was based on his upbringing in Texas and is divided into three parts titled “Pilgrim of Sorrow,” “Take Me to the Water,” and “Move Members, Move.” Alvin Ailey
“Move Members, Move” emphasizes gospel music, including the traditional spiritual “Sinner Man,” and concludes with the number “Rocka My Soul in the Bosom of Abraham,” which recreates a joyous church service. Alvin Ailey
Taught dance to French King Louis XIV at Versailles for 2 decades. An early director of the Western world’s first dance institution, the Académie Royale de Danse, he collaborated extensively with Molière’s acting company & composer Jean-Baptiste Lully Pierre Beauchamp
He is often credited with codifying the five basic feet positions in ballet. His system of dance notation, later revised by Raoul-Auger Feuillet and Pierre Rameau and today known as “Beauchamp-Feuillet notation,” was used until the late 1700s. Pierre Beauchamp
The niece of film director Cecil B. DeMille and granddaughter of economist Henry George, she worked extensively with American Ballet Theater Agnes de Mille
The Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo commissioned her most famous work, Rodeo, featuring music by Aaron Copland (possibly assisted by Leonard Bernstein), details a love rectangle between American Cowgirl, Champion Roper, Head Wrangler, & Rancher’s Daughter. Agnes de Mille
Her other notable stage ballets include Three Virgins and a Devil and Fall River Legend (based on the life of Lizzie Borden). she also found success in musical theater, creating a revolutionary “dream ballet” for Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!. Agnes de Mille
made her mark in the mid-1970s with the “crossover ballets” Deuce Coupe (performed by the Joffrey Ballet to music by The Beach Boys) and Push Comes to Shove (starring Mikhail Baryshnikov), both marked by a fusion of diverse musical and dance styles. Twyla Tharp
She found success on Broadway with the “jukebox musical” Movin’ Out, set to the catalog of Billy Joel; she subsequently built musicals around the songs of Bob Dylan and Frank Sinatra. Twyla Tharp
She created the children’s ballet The Princess and the Goblin and collaborated with director Milos Forman on the Hollywood films Hair, Ragtime, and Amadeus. Twyla Tharp
Created by: Mr_Morman