Jerome Robbins

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Jerome Robbins
Jerome Rabinowitz
BirthplaceNew York City, USA

Robbins, Jerome,

1918–98, American choreographer and dancer, b. New York City as Jerome Wilson Rabinowitz. Robbins began his career dancing in musicals (1937). In 1940 he joined the Ballet Theatre and in 1948 became associate artistic director of the New York City BalletNew York City Ballet
(NYCB), one of the foremost American dance companies of the 20th and 21st cents. It was founded by Lincoln Kirstein and George Balanchine as the Ballet Society in 1946.
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. The first ballet he choreographed, Fancy Free (1944), was expanded into the musical On the Town. Robbins gained distinction as the exuberantly innovative choreographer of such Broadway musicals as High Button Shoes (1947) and The King and I (1951). Ultimately creating an evolved and organic kind of show that was more a work of art than of entertainment, he choreographed and directed the musicals Peter Pan (1954), West Side Story (1957), Gypsy (1959), and Fiddler on the Roof (1964). He also periodically returned to the City Ballet, where he created such works as Interplay (1945), Facsimile (1946), The Cage (1951), Fanfare (1953), The Concert (1956), and Moves (1959). After the enormous success of Fiddler, he rejoined the City Ballet and choreographed such works as Dances at a Gathering (1969), probably his finest ballet; Goldberg Variations (1971); Ives, Songs (1988); and Brandenburg (1997). From 1983 to 1990 Robbins was the City Ballet's co–ballet master in chief with Peter MartinsMartins, Peter,
1946–, Danish ballet dancer and choreographer. He studied at the School of the Royal Danish Ballet and performed with its company (1965–69). In 1969 he joined the New York City Ballet, where he danced in numerous ballets, including Chaconne
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. Many of his more than 60 ballets continue to be performed by the company.


See biographies by G. Lawrence (2001), D. Jowitt (2004), A. Vaill (2006), and W. Lesser (2018); C. Conrad, Jerome Robbins: That Broadway Man, That Ballet Man (2001); R. E. Long, Broadway, The Golden Years (2001).

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Robbins, Jerome (b. Rabinowitz)

(1918–  ) choreographer, ballet dancer; born in New York City. Trained in modern dance and ballet, Robbins joined Ballet Theatre in 1940 and choreographed his first ballet in 1944. In 1949 he joined New York City Ballet, danced principal roles, and choreographed nine ballets before he formed Ballet: USA, in 1959. He choreographed such celebrated Broadway shows as West Side Story (1957) and Fiddler on the Roof (1964) and returned to City Ballet in 1969. There he choreographed such major works as The Goldberg Variations (1971) and Glass Pieces (1983), and became co-ballet master (1983–89). His retrospective Jerome Robbins's Broadway was a 1989 hit.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.