George Balanchine

Balanchine c. 1942, Joseph Janney Steinmetz Collection, State Library and Archives of Florida

Birth Name: Georgiy Melitonovich Balanchivadze

Date of Birth: 22 January, 1904

Place of Birth: St. Petersburg, Russian Empire

Date of Death: April 30, 1983

Place of Death: Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S.

*father – Georgian
*mother – Russian, possibly German

George Balanchine was a Russian and American ballet choreographer, one of the most influential 20th-century choreographers. He is considered as the father of ballet in the U.S. He co-founded the New York City Ballet, and was its Artistic Director for more than 35 years, with his choreography known for its plotless ballets, minimal costuming and d├ęcor, and classical and neoclassical music.

George was born in St. Petersburg, Russian Empire, the son of Meliton Balanchivadze (Meliton Antonovich Balanchivadze), a Georgian opera singer and composer, and Maria Nikolayevna Vasilyeva, who was Russian. His father was born in Banoja, Governorate of Kutais, Georgia, then in the Russian Empire, and was one of the founders of the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theatre, as well as culture minister of the Democratic Republic of Georgia. George’s brother was composer Andria Balanchivadze.

George left for Paris in 1924. He eventually ended up in the U.S., c. 1933, becoming a U.S. citizen.

George’s maternal grandfather is sometimes described as Nikolai von Almedingen, a German, and his maternal grandmother as a Russian surnamed Vasilyeva.



Curious about ethnicity

1 Response

  1. bablah says:

    Mother Georgiya was Russian.
    Father Meliton Antonovich Balanchivadze was a Georgian composer.

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