Celebrate Jerome Robbins' Would-Be 100th Birthday With 10 Rarely-Seen Photos
2018 has seen an endless parade of celebrations in anticipation of Jerome Robbins' centennial—and now the day has finally arrived. In honor of what would have been his 100th birthday, we dove into our photo archives and selected a few favorite shots of the choreographer whose career defined (and redefined) American dance.
A young Robbins, 1944
Photo courtesy DM Archives
Robbins with Nancy Walker, the lead in his 1948 Broadway musical Look, Ma, I'm Dancin'!
Photo by Eileen Darby, Courtesy DM Archives
Robbins in Balanchine's Tyl Ulenspiegel, 1951
Photo by Walter E. Owen, Courtesy DM Archives
A rehearsal for The Concert (or, The Perils of Everybody), 1960
Photo by CBS Television Network, Courtesy DM Archives
Robbins (center) rehearsing West Side Story
Photo by Friedman-Abeles, Courtesy DM Archives
Robbins giving notes to Maria Karnilova and Zero Mostel, of the 1964 Broadway cast of Fiddler on the Roof
Photo by Eileen Darby-Graphic House, Courtesy DM Archives
Robbins (left) with Balanchine (bottom left) and the choreographers for NYCB's 1972 Stravinsky Festival
Photo courtesy DM Archives
Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, Paolo Bortoluzzi, Malika Sabirova, Violette Verdy, Muzafar Bourkhanov, Robbins, Antoinette Sibley, Antony Dowell, Patricia McBride, Helgi Tomasson and Carla Fracci at the Spoleto Festival, 1973
Photo by Lionello Fabbri, Courtesy DM Archives
Robbins and Antoinette Sibley rehearse his Afternoon of a Faun
Photo by Michael Childers, Courtesy DM Archives
Carmen de Lavallade and Robbins chat with Yves St. Laurent
Photo by Whitestone Photo, Courtesy DM Archives
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In the middle of one of New York City Center's cavernous studios, Misty Copeland takes a measured step backwards. The suggestion of a swan arm ripples before she turns downstage, chest and shoulders unfurling as her legs stretch into an open lunge. She piqués onto pointe, arms echoing the sinuous curve of her back attitude, then walks out of it, pausing to warily look over her shoulder. As the droning of Ryuichi Sakamoto and Alva Noto's mysterious "Attack/Transition" grows more insistent, her feet start to fly with a rapidity that seems to almost startle her.
And then she stops mid-phrase. Copeland's hands fall to her hips as she apologizes. Choreographer Kyle Abraham slides to the sound system to pause the music, giving Copeland a moment to remind herself of a recent change to the sequence.
"It's different when the sound's on!" he reassures her. "And it's a lot of changes."
The day before was the first time Abraham had seen Copeland dance the solo in its entirety, and the first moment they were in the studio together in a month. This is their last rehearsal, save for tech, before the premiere of Ash exactly one week later, as part of the opening night of City Center's Fall for Dance festival.
Back in 2011 when Joe Lanteri first approached Katie Langan, chair of Marymount Manhattan College's dance department, about getting involved with New York City Dance Alliance, she was skeptical about the convention/competition world.
"But I was pleasantly surprised by the enormity of talent that was there," she says. "His goal was to start scholarship opportunities, and I said okay, I'm in."
Today, it's fair to say that Lanteri has far surpassed his goal of creating scholarship opportunities. But NYCDA has done so much more, bridging the gap between the convention world and the professional world by forging a wealth of partnerships with dance institutions from Marymount to The Ailey School to Complexions Contemporary Ballet and many more. There's a reason these companies and schools—some of whom otherwise may not see themselves as aligned with the convention/competition world—keep deepening their relationships with NYCDA.
Now, college scholarships are just one of many ways NYCDA has gone beyond the typical weekend-long convention experience and created life-changing opportunities for students. We rounded up some of the most notable ones:
Dancers are understandably obsessed with food. In both an aesthetic and athletic profession, you know you're judged on your body shape, but you need proper fuel to perform your best. Meanwhile, you're inundated with questionable diet advice.
"My 'favorite' was the ABC diet," says registered dietitian nutritionist Kristin Koskinen, who trained in dance seriously but was convinced her body type wouldn't allow her to pursue it professionally. "On the first day you eat only foods starting with the letter A, on the second day only B, and so on."
"The show must go on" may be a platitude we use to get through everything from costume malfunctions to stormy moods. But when it came to overcoming a literal hurricane, Houston Ballet was buoyed by this mantra to go from devastated to dancing in a matter of weeks—with the help of Harlequin Floors, Houston Ballet's longstanding partner who sprang into action to build new floors in record time.