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Reynolds endows Balanchine Foundation.

NEW YORK CITY--THE new project of the George Balanchine Foundation is not quite as exotic as an archeological dig in Turkey, but its aim is similar: to rediscover the past. Dance historian and former Balanchine dancer Nancy Reynolds has endowed the foundation with $1.75 million and has created a program to retrieve, document, and preserve the ballets of choreographer George Balanchine. Reynolds will direct this program herself.

The endowment is funded by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, established by the dancer's father, and is called the Nancy Remick Reynolds Endowment of the George Balanchine Foundation.

Interest from the endowment funds, which Reynolds estimates at $75,000 a year, will be used as seed money for research, documentation, and educational publishing, including digital preservation and the creation of an on-line, multimedia database of information about Balanchine (1904-1983) and his work.

The first phase of research will concentrate on the retrieval of lost ballets, including fragments, beginning with the 1945 version of Mozartiana. The original ballet, created as a vehicle for Tamara Toumanova, had its premiere at Paris in 1933; it is believed to be Balanchine's first plotless work.

According to Reynolds's book, Repertory in Review, Balanchine revived Mozartiana at White Plains, New York, in 1934 and again in 1935. In 1945 Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo staged Mozartiana; dancers who performed it with that company, including Alexandra Danilova, Frederic Franklin, Robert Lindgren, and Sonja Tyven, are participating in the reconstruction. Toumanova, who now lives in Los Angeles, is also being consulted.

Reynolds explains that although the reconstructions are going to be "noncommercial--strictly for research and archives," eventual staged performances of the ballets certainly are possible.

"First you research as much as you can," adds Barbara Horgan, administrator of the George Balanchine Trust. "Then you get some bodies in a studio and a ballet mistress or ballet master puts the steps on them. Then you see what you've got."

Balanchine frequently altered his ballets, which raises the question of which version of a particular work is authentic. Reynolds says research will endeavor to discover "what various Balanchine interpreters thought of his work at various times," adding that "there may be multiple versions of the ballets."

She also notes that whether or not the choreographer himself liked a particular production of one of his dances "is not at this moment material.

"Our aim," Reynolds says, "is to document Balanchine's work without comment."

Horgan points out that there already is interest in staging the lost ballets. A company in Nice, France, for example, would like to stage an evening of ballets that Balanchine made for Serge Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, for Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, and for his own company Les Ballets 1933. Works being considered include Cotillon and La Chatte, reconstructions of which have been performed by Joffrey Ballet and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, respectively.

Horgan adds that the same French company is also looking into the possibility of staging Le Chant du Rossignol (created by Leonide Massine in 1920 and rechoreographed by Balanchine in 1925), as well as reconstructing Andre Bauchant's sets and costumes for the original (1928) production of Apollo.

Another part of the project is the development of a video archive of noted Balanchine dancers coaching students in their roles. The first such coaching session will involve ballerina Marie-Jeanne, on whom Balanchine made Concerto Barocco.
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Title Annotation:Nancy Reynolds
Author:Mazo, Joseph H.
Publication:Dance Magazine
Date:Dec 1, 1994
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