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The technical problems of putting together a nine-week subscription season, eight performances a week, were immense. First there was the nature of the subscription itself—four performances for each of the 16 subscription series, with no repeats of ballets, not only for the coming season but from the past two. Then there were the requirements of the stage manager, Ronnie Bates: what scenery could go up in a single performance, and in what order. Each performance demanded musical variety, and this involved our superb musical director, Robert Irving. More complicated were the problems of the ballet mistress, Rosemary Dunleavy, who could prepare only a certain number of ballets for performance in any given week. There was the question of who danced what: you couldn’t have three McBride or Mazzo ballets on one program. And you didn’t want more than one piano ballet, or one romp, or one black-and-white, or one ballet in which the girls at some point let their hair down. Balanchine liked a rousing closer, with the whole corps de ballet whipping up a storm. Jerry Robbins had very definite ideas about when and how often his ballets should be scheduled. But the technical difficulties were solvable if you laid out enough versions of a schedule and kept shifting the ballets around. The more challenging part was creating programs that made aesthetic sense—juxtaposing ballets so that the program as a whole had variety, depth, and coherence. Perhaps it was easier for me to do this than for company stalwarts who rarely watched an entire program from the audience; in any case, when Betty decided I was doing it properly, she left me to my own devices.

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Eventually, developments at the French court pushed the arts aside, and the court ballet disappeared. But Louis XIV had established two academies where ballet was launched into another phase of its development: the (1661) and the (1669). The Académie Royale de Danse was formed to preserve the classical school of the noble dance. It was to last until the 1780s. By then its purpose essentially had been by the music academy, the predecessor of the dance school of the .


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Bossov Ballet Theatre at Maine Central Institute is both a performing company and an international pre-professional ballet school.

He also trained at the Alvin Ailey Studios in New York as a scholarship recipient. He was offered a position in the company but – because of visa issues – instead, he ended up signing his first professional contract with the Cullberg Ballet in Stockholm (1980).


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From Russia came the impulse that reanimated ballet in western Europe. For the ballet season in 1909 the impresario brought to Paris a company, called the Ballets Russes, that was made up of prominent dancers from the Imperial Ballet. The effect on the artistic world was shattering. Ballet, which in western Europe had sunk low in public estimation, became recognized as a major theatre art, one in which dance, music, and stage design contributed to an unprecedented and impressive overall effect. The dancing was of the highest quality. The greatest sensation was created by , a male dancer of a standard not seen within living memory, and the ballerinas and also made a lasting impression.

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The Imperial Ballet paid great attention to the training of its dancers, and an essentially Russian style emerged in the company. The Italian style taught by and the French style taught by together formed the foundation for the Russian school that was to become dominant in 20th-century ballet.

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In an even more dramatic development took place. Diaghilev’s London seasons had rekindled interest in ballet, and the 1930s saw the modest beginnings of a national tradition with the formation of the Vic-Wells Ballet and the . In 1946 the Vic-Wells, by then called the Sadler’s Wells Ballet, was chosen to become the established ballet company at the in London; in 1956, granted royal patronage, it became the . Founded by , the company possessed a choreographer of genius, . His muse was , a ballerina who achieved international renown. Ashton and his successor, , between them created the foundation of a rich and varied repertoire.