Happy birthday, Boris Kochno.
January is thick with centenary celebrations in dance, but let us save at least one toast for a man who was neither dancer nor choreographer, but nevertheless contributed substantially to the evolution of the art in the twentieth century. Boris Kochno was Serge Diaghilev's secretary and artistic adviser for the last nine years of the impresario's life. He penned the librettos for George Balanchine's Prodigal Son, La Chatte, and Cotillon, co-founded with Balanchine the short-lived Ballets 1933, and later helped Roland Petit launch Les Ballets des Champs-Elysees, which he served in its infancy as artistic director. Kochno wrote copiously about the Ballets Russes and the artists with whom he collaborated (his volume on Christian Berard is a classic) and he was written about even more. Kochno amassed a legendary collection of dance art, apparently knew everybody and managed to outlive friend and foe alike. To imagine the tapestry of ballet without Kochno's gleaming and enduring contribution is simply impossible.