Edward Villella, Arthur Mitchell and Jacques d'Amboise. Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images, Courtesy NDI.

Missed the "Balanchine's Guys" Live Stream? Watch It Here.

On Monday night, the National Dance Institute—the arts education organization founded by former New York City Ballet star Jacques d'Amboise—presented Balanchine's Guys, a lively discussion with d'Amboise and two other NYCB greats: Arthur Mitchell and Edward Villella. Many of their former NYCB colleagues, including Patricia McBride and Suki Schorer, were in the audience, and while the evening was sold out, NDI live-streamed part of the conversation. We know many of you weren't able to catch it, so we've included the video from NDI's Facebook page below. (There's a bit of a sound delay, but it's well worth the watch!)


All three shared priceless anecdotes of working with Balanchine. While NDI wasn't able to stream the whole discussion and performance, here are a few highlights from after the camera stopped rolling:


Edward Villella on dancing Prodigal Son: Villella claimed he only had one rehearsal with Balanchine on the role he would become most famous for. "Mr. B didn't like the ballet," Villella says. "He said 'I don't ever want to stage this again.'" (Villella then noted that Prokofiev, the ballet's composer, had once thrown Balanchine out of the theater.) As for Villella's advice on dancing the role, he says to look deeply at the character: "All this bravado, and underneath it is somebody terrified."

Arthur Mitchell on the creation of Agon: Mitchell explained that Balanchine choreographed Agon after taking a leave of absence when his wife, NYCB principal Tanaquil (Tanny) Le Clercq, developed polio and became paralyzed. Mitchell says that on the first day of rehearsal, Balanchine told him, "This must be perfect." As he crafted the famous pas de deux for Mitchell and Diana Adams, he was incredibly specific about how Mitchell partnered Adams, the way he should place his hands, hold her legs and move her feet. "In his mind, it was teaching Tanny to walk again."

Jacques d'Amboise on his dear friend, former NYCB principal Melissa Hayden: When d'Amboise heard that his Hayden was dying, he flew down to North Carolina's Wake Forest Hospital to visit her. He fondly recalled her joking about the existence of an afterlife. "She said 'There is an afterlife—it's what's left after the way you lived it. We did a good job.'" She died the following day.

Latest Posts


Courtesy Tiler Peck

Tiler Peck's Top 10 Tips for Training at Home

On March 15, New York City Ballet principal Tiler Peck announced to her 172,000-plus Instagram followers that she'd be teaching a live class from her family's home in Bakersfield, California, where she's currently waiting out COVID-19. Little did she know that she'd receive such a viral response. Since then, Peck has offered daily Instagram LIVE classes Monday through Friday at 10 am PST/1 pm EST, plus an occasional Saturday class and Sunday stretch/Pilates combo. "The reaction was just so overwhelming," she says. "These classes are keeping me sane, and giving me something to look forward to."

Keep reading SHOW LESS

#TBT: Miranda Weese and Damian Woetzel in "Swan Lake" (1999)

This February, New York City Ballet presented Peter Martin's two-act version of Swan Lake. In her New York Times review, Gia Kourlas reminisced about some of NYCB's past Odette/Odiles, pointing to a masterful, and high stakes, 1999 "Live From Lincoln Center" performance starring Miranda Weese and Damian Woetzel. With just an hour's notice, Weese stepped in to dance the Swan Queen for an injured Darci Kistler. The live television broadcast was Weese and Woetzel's first time dancing these roles together, though you'd never know; in this clip of the White Swan pas de deux the pair looks connected and utterly captivating.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
An instructor from The Hive in Chicago leads class over Zoom (courtesy The Hive)

The Dance Student's Guide to Making the Best—and the Most—of At-Home Training

If you're social distancing to do your part to slow the spread of COVID-19, you've inevitably realized that training safely and successfully at home poses a significant challenge. We talked to dance experts to find out how you can make the best of this less-than-ideal scenario—and about the unexpected ways it can help you grow as a dancer and artist.

Keep reading SHOW LESS