rg

Launch of Balanchine Catalogue on line

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fyi:

THE GEORGE BALANCHINE FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES THE ONLINE PUBLICATION OF THE BALANCHINE CATALOGUE: A FULLY SEARCHABLE DATABASE GIVING FIRST-PERFORMANCE DETAILS OF ALL KNOWN DANCES CREATED BY GEORGE BALANCHINE

Documentation of the ballet titan’s great oeuvre in its entirety is now available to the public at http://www.balanchine.org

NEW YORK CITY – Complete premiere information about every known work staged or choreographed by George Balanchine---more than 400 ballets, opera dances, operettas, movies, staged choral works, musicals, straight plays, concert works, television, and circus---is now available online, free of charge, to the general public. Compiled by scholars and researchers in many parts of the world and prepared with Balanchine’s participation, the Balanchine Catalogue covers a period of more than sixty years---from La Nuit at the Petrograd Theater Ballet School, choreographed in 1920 or earlier, to a revision of Stravinsky’s Variations for Orchestra for the New York City Ballet in 1982, Balanchine’s final work.

Records in the Balanchine Catalogue, assembled from opening-night programs and supporting material, give full details of music, production, and cast and are supplemented by notes on the work, revisions, stagings by other companies, and televised performances. Also included are databases covering Balanchine’s professional life and the roles he danced; an extensive, up-to-date bibliography, videography, and filmography; lists of festivals Balanchine directed and tours undertaken by his American companies; an annotated guide to further research; and cross references to related items. A Source Notes field cites rare published and archival information―especially information obtained from individuals―that clarifies or corrects programs, or constructs records for works for which programs do not exist or have not been located.

Searches may be initiated from a single search window (General Search) or by clicking on an Advanced Search option, which allows visitors to search for such specific information as costume designer or conductor.

More than 300 dance companies, schools and universities have been licensed to dance Balanchine ballets since his death in 1983, a record unequalled in the world of contemporary ballet and proof of the Balanchine repertory’s enduring importance and vitality to both performers and audiences.

"I am thrilled that the Balanchine Catalogue is now online at the Balanchine Foundation's Web site,” says New York City Ballet Master-in-Chief Peter Martins. “Having this extraordinary treasure trove of information so readily accessible is a tremendous asset, and I'm certain it will prove invaluable to dance scholars and the public alike."

The Balanchine Catalogue, five years in the making, is an expansion and update of the first and only catalogue raisonné for a choreographer, Choreography by George Balanchine: A Catalogue of Works. Under the direction of Leslie George Katz, Nancy Lassalle, and Harvey Simmonds, the book was published to critical acclaim by the Eakins Press Foundation in 1983 and revised in 1984. For the electronic edition, Nancy Reynolds, Director of Research for The George Balanchine Foundation, provided the editorial direction and led the research effort, assisted by dance scholars Susan Au, Monica Moseley and Robert Greskovic. Mel Schierman, the Foundation’s administrator, oversaw the conversion of the material into digital form and programming by Electronic Scriptorium Ltd. of Leesburg, VA, and Ashley Cyber Services, LLC, of Purcellville, VA.

New York City Ballet Archivist Laura Raucher praises the Balanchine Catalogue’s easy-to-use search engine: “The General Search combines information in all of the databases into one report, a feature many researchers will utilize and appreciate. . . . I believe the Browse feature on the search page provides an easy way for users who are interested in Balanchine and wish to learn more, but have no research agenda, to peruse the Catalogue at their leisure. . . . How exciting that this is available to the public, especially as we become more dependent on the Web. The Balanchine Foundation has done an amazing job with a mammoth project.”

Dr. Michelle Potter, Curator, Jerome Robbins Dance Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, believes the database is a landmark achievement. "The Balanchine Catalogue is a major resource for all those interested in the incredible legacy of George Balanchine,” she says. “It is instantly accessible to a world-wide audience and provides authoritative, up-to-date information. It is also a source of much fascinating contextual information and will, I am sure, be the starting point for further research about the role of ballet in culture and society."

The electronic edition of the Balanchine catalogue was made possible by a leadership grant from The Jerome Robbins Foundation, with additional funding provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and Furthermore: A Program of the J. M. Kaplan Fund. The publisher and copyright holder of the book version of the Catalogue, Eakins Press Foundation, contributed the rights necessary for this project.

The George Balanchine Foundation is a not for profit corporation established in 1983. Its mission is to create programs that educate the public and further Balanchine's work and aesthetic in order to facilitate high standards of excellence in dance and related arts.

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I always refer back to the book, so having a totally updated version online is even better. Thanks for the news.

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the problem will be, i suspect, breaking one's habit of using the book.

in my case the spine of my most used version, the viking ed., is cracked and my scribbled annotations jotted down since '83 are where i go automatically.

i suppose tho' habits are made to be broken and to be re-established. in theory the on-line updated (and further updated if nec. one assumes) should create its own 'habits' and become the new 'natural' source.

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What a wonderful tool! It's certain to offer hours and days and weeks of fun and instruction! Thank you, rg. :(

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And what an aid to personal memory, too. :(

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It also gives further reading which is very useful -- for example searching on "Baryshnikov" comes up with the following:

II. Books Relating to Balanchine

Baryshnikov, Mikhail.
Baryshnikov at Work: Mikhail Baryshnikov Discusses His Roles
.

Edited and introduced by Charles Engell France. With photographs by Martha Swope. New York: Knopf, 1976. Includes a chapter on Theme and Variations.

Smakov, Gennady.
Baryshnikov: From Russia to the West.

New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1981. Includes a chapter titled 'With Balanchine and Robbins.'

Tributes: Celebrating Fifty Years of New York City Ballet
.

Conceived and edited by Christopher Ramsey; preface by Peter Martins; foreword by Mikhail Baryshnikov. New York: William Morrow, 1998. Includes photographs, designs, poetry, and writing, as well as a chronology (1948-1998) and lists of repertory, dancers, music, and videography.

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Since the Viking edition came out in 1984, I've pretty much left the original Eakins Press tome alone, unless in need of exercise, specifically heavy lifting. Time will tell whether the on-line work will similarly supplant the Viking book, but in any event, it's nice to know it's there. Thanks for the news, rg.

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I am puzzled by the phrase, "prepared with Balanchine's participation."

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the book first came out in balanchine's lifetime.

i was told when an early eakins copy was taken to him in the hospital, he said, who knows how tongue in cheek, etc.: Oh, the Bible!

i know the preparers of the data consulted with balanchine as much as they could when some of the data was sketchy, esp. that covering the years in russia.

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If he had helped with the e-version, it would make it even MORE interesting, though. :)

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Since the Viking edition came out in 1984, I've pretty much left the original Eakins Press tome alone, unless in need of exercise, specifically heavy lifting.

I remember pre-ordering the Eakins Press version and being so careful with it. I was very happy when the Viking version was published, because I didn't feel bad about referring to it often, leading to some wear and tear.

It's so great to have this online, a format in which revisions can be made very easily when new material is found and vetted.

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one would assume to the truth in what Helene states, i.e. that the web version would present "a format in which revisions can be made very easily when new material is found and vetted."

i'm not nearly so expert about these things as Helene, but i recall assuming than such an ease of 'change' as an aspect of the web catalogue and i THINK i was told it wasn't that easy in this instance, i'm not sure why. maybe i'm wrong as there is a way to email nancy r.

i guess we shall see.

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I would like to own a hard copy of an older edition, but I am confused by what pops up on Amazon.

There's a Choreography by George Balanchine credited to GB and Kirstein -- quite inexpensive and available from a number of sellers. There's also an Eakins Press edition that is 15 times more expensive, but without much information to explain the cost difference. Is this the same book?

I also came upon -- via Google -- a reference to Chreography by George Balanchine: A Catalogue of Works, 1984, edited by Leslie George Katz, Nancy LaSalle and Harvey Symonds.

Which would you recommend (to serve as a hand-holdable, historical adjunct to the updated online edition)?

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the eakins press FIRST printing/edition is a most handsome production - about the size, tho' thicker and on heavier paper, of an encyclopedia britannica vol.

it has an acetate jacket and natural-linen-covered stiff board binding. very simply done w/ only the leclercq portrait of GB as the lone foto.

as i say beautiful production, very satisfying to turn its handsome pages.

the viking reprint is handier in size and includes SOME updating, as an appendix - the bulk of the production is essentially a reduced version of the eakins publication.

this latter is def. handier to keep at hand, but as i said earlier here, the binding of mine has cracked over the use from use -perhaps this vulnerability explains why it remains so reasonably priced.

as has been explained here, the eakins now ends handsomely situated on a book shelf while the cheaper viking is kept at one's desk, etc.

it was the bigger tome about which GB reported said: oh, the bible. and you can see why when you hold it.

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Thanks, rg. You've given me what I need to make the choice. :)

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I can see where I will be spending a lot of my time :) After a brief perusal I was surprised that the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo 1945 'Concerto Barocco' did not show more details. It was historic, in the sense that it was the first time the ballet was performed in "practice clothes".

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One amusing find: the entry for Serenade lists, among 1935's performances, "August 10-11 Philadelphia: Robin Hood Deli." I know they performed in some crazy venues in the early days, but a deli? (Perhaps the venue was really called the Robin Hood Dell?) Good thing it wasn't created there--the production might've included pickles!

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It's so great to have this online, a format in which revisions can be made very easily when new material is found and vetted.

I meant to reply to this earlier. Do we know that the database will be regularly and systematically updated (i.e., is there dedicated funding for that)? The format of the original books included lists of all productions, which are growing exponentially with the passage of time. And productions will be remounted and "refreshed," too.

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The Balanchine Trust certainly knows to whom the rights have been assigned and to which companies repetiteurs have been sent. A spot check indicates that the "Stagings" section is up to date to sometime in 2004. There's nothing in the press release that indicates how often the site will be updated.

However, according to the site,

Updates, corrections, and other new material (accompanied by documentation) are invited: (information@balanchine.org).

http://www.balanchine.org/balanchine/introduction.jsp

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The Balanchine Trust certainly knows to whom the rights have been assigned and to which companies repetiteurs have been sent. A spot check indicates that the "Stagings" section is up to date to sometime in 2004. There's nothing in the press release that indicates how often the site will be updated.

However, according to the site,

Updates, corrections, and other new material (accompanied by documentation) are invited: (information@balanchine.org).

http://www.balanchine.org/balanchine/introduction.jsp

Thanks--I just sent them quite a list of corrections, such as that there was no "Joffrey Ballet Chicago" in 1967. I bet they'll get a truckload more from the rest of the BT cohort!

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Thanks--I just sent them quite a list of corrections, such as that there was no "Joffrey Ballet Chicago" in 1967. I bet they'll get a truckload more from the rest of the BT cohort!

I don't mean to be mean about such a monumental effort, and, frankly, when someone points out something like this in one of my 200-page functional specs I want to slap them silly, but this cracked me up.

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Thanks--I just sent them quite a list of corrections, such as that there was no "Joffrey Ballet Chicago" in 1967. I bet they'll get a truckload more from the rest of the BT cohort!

I don't mean to be mean about such a monumental effort, and, frankly, when someone points out something like this in one of my 200-page functional specs I want to slap them silly, but this cracked me up.

I know--I felt guilty as I am so hyperaware of how thankless these kind of research tasks can be (i.e., sometimes it seems that all anyone notices are the errors, no matter how few). But since they're depending on us for updates, how can we possibly shut up?

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the viking reprint is handier in size and includes SOME updating, as an appendix - the bulk of the production is essentially a reduced version of the eakins publication.

this latter is def. handier to keep at hand, but as i said earlier here, the binding of mine has cracked over the use from use -perhaps this vulnerability explains why it remains so reasonably priced.

I seem to recall, and may be mistaken, that the Viking edition was originally about $25.00. Then, like magic, it was changed to about $5.95 -- and the copies, on the promenade gift shop -- became ubiquitous. I bought several at the time (gifts, etc.), though I already had a copy of the Eakins Press edition. The smaller one did prove more handy.

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