Begging Mr. B. (New York).
In 1974 George Balanchine asked Alexandra Danilova, who had danced Swanilda in the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, to mount Coppelia on the New York City Ballet. Danilova and Balanchine worked together on it, creating one of the few full-length classics in the NYCB repertoire (returning this season February 25, 27, and March 1). The young Peter Martins coveted the role of Franz. "I went to Mr. B. and asked if I could play Franz," said Martins, now ballet master in chief. "He said, `No, dear, you're too tall. Look at the scenery. You would have to bend down to go in and out of the door. It'll look funny.' I begged him. Finally he let me do it. And after it was over, he said, 'You see, dear, [it was] fantastic.