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George Balanchine
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    (January 22, 1904-April 30, 1983)
    Birth name was Giorgi Melitonovich Balanchivadze
    Nickname was Mr. B
    Defected from the Soviet Union in 1924
    Moved permanently to the U.S. in 1934
    Founder of The American School of Ballet (1934)
    Co-founder of The New York City Ballet (1948)
    Directed the ballet movie version of Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream (1967)'
    Died of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease at age 79
    Received the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom from Ronald Reagan 2 months before his death
    Inspiration for The George Balanchine Foundation
    He was married and divorced 4 times.
    He married his first wife when she was 14.
    His professional interest in ballerina Suzanne Farrell turned into an extramarital affair.
    When ballet productions were performed in practice clothes, they were called Balanchine's 'leotard ballets.'
    When the Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease struck him, he wouldn't allow a biopsy to determine what ailed him.
    The disease was only discovered after an autopsy.
    His father and brother were both famed Georgian composers.
    He was a ballet dancer himself until a knee injury forced him to exchange dancing for choreography.
    He helped modernize classic ballet.
    He choreographed Tchaikovsky's 'The Nutcracker' in 1954 in New York City, which has become an annual Christmas tradition in the U.S.
    He extended his medium outlets to movies, TV and music theater.
    His specialty was female dancers, dubbed 'Balanchine ballerinas.'
    He said of his ladies, 'Ballet is Woman. In sports, it's Mickey Mantle. In politics, it's Eisenhower. In ballet, it's woman. Women are lighter, more flexible. They move more beautifully. He is not the King, but she's the Queen.'

Credit: Scar Tactics

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