Embodying an American Ballet: George Balanchine and George Platt Lynes
Embodying an American Ballet examines George Balanchine’s creation of a specific kind of dancer’s body that was particularly suited for his choreography. This project uses materials from the Kinsey collection of photographs by George Platt Lynes and the New York Public Library of Performing Arts collection, including photographs of dancers and their choreography in the early formative years of Balanchine’s school and company, scores and films of most of the Balanchine choreographies, and the commentaries of dancers who performed them. Analysis of these materials demonstrates how the Balanchine choreography with its fast-paced, demanding technique led to changes in the bodies of the dancers performing it, and, ultimately, the creation of a new ballet body.
Anya Peterson Royce is Chancellor’s Professor of Anthropology and Comparative Literature at IU Bloomington and Adjunct Professor at the University of Limerick. Her publications include six books (three on dance and performing arts), as well as articles, book chapters, and edited volumes. She writes and teaches in the areas of dance and performing arts, identity, landscapes of pilgrimage, and ethnography of Mexico. She danced professionally in ballet companies in New York and San Francisco. She was trained at San Francisco Ballet, Balanchine’s School of American Ballet, and the School of the Ballets Russes by teachers who were Russian dancers who left the Maryinsky Theatre to dance in the Diaghilev Ballets Russes. From them, she learned the Fokine style and repertory.