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January 24, 2023 44 mins

PART ONE - "He used to say, 'What are you looking at dear? You can't see you. Only I can see you.'"

 

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Speaker 1 (00:08):
We are not part of the outside world. It's separate
from us. There is no need for the outside world
because we are removed from it and apart from it,
and in our own unique sphere. We had our own universe,

(00:44):
and that's where you would rehearse every day, most of
the time, all the time. There are no windows. We
don't need windows because the outside world doesn't matter. And
it was exciting, and I thought everybody was the most
beautiful cheers on the earth that I'd ever seen. And
they were so talented. People were trained to hone his

(01:19):
particular sensibilities, even his ethics, so that there would be
a readiness in all of us to embody his visions.
We were christened, we were graced. We may not be
alive tomorrow. And what could you possibly lose? You literally

(01:46):
have to know, you have to commit and no, and
so you give up everything else. It is a two
seven path and you don't feel like you can do
anything else. M I used to say, what are you
looking at? What are you looking at? Dear? You can't

(02:09):
see you, Only I can see you. M In A

(02:35):
stream of people visited Roosevelt Hospital in Manhattan. They went
to the room at the end of the hall. On
the left a room with an old man. The nurses
hadn't seen anything like it. It was like a pilgrimage.
Many of the visitors were in their twenties. They were
thin and graceful and carried large bags that smelled like sweat.

(02:58):
They were young ballerinas who ansd for this man, women
who saw him as their father, their mother, their knight
in shining armor, their genius, their lover, their husband, the
most important person in their lives. His name was George Balanchine,
but they called him Mr B. I think he'd been

(03:20):
in the hospital for so long and was losing his
mind and losing his words. This is Wilhelmina, Frankfurt. She
was one of the pilgrims. She was twenty six years old,
and she was a ballerina at New York City Ballet,
one of the most prestigious ballet companies in the world.

(03:43):
Mr B was the one who put her there at
George Balanchine was the most famous choreographer alive. He had
created an entirely new style of ballet and popularized the
art form in America for fourteen years. Wilhelmina had danced
for him for fourteen years. He had been the person

(04:04):
who determined her fate. He was also one of the
people she loved most in the world. But now his
health was failing. Where he once modeled arabesques for professional dancers,
he now had trouble balancing. He leaned on walls when
he walked, he lad rehearsals seated. He couldn't hear music

(04:27):
the same way anymore, and he couldn't see the color
blue correctly. And then he felt he'd been at the
hospital for more than a month now, with no sign
of returning to his ballet company. It was not a
happy time for Wilhelmina. I mean, I knew, we all

(04:47):
knew that once he was gone, things we're gonna change.
She went to the hospital when she could with groups
of dancers. Sometimes they just sit and say hi and
just in between rehearsals. But this time was different. This
time she went alone. I went with a mission. Wilomina

(05:07):
wanted his advice on a role she'd be dancing soon.
I wanted to ask balancing about it. I wanted to
hear what he had to say. And it was a
little bit of an excuse to go see him. And
somehow I think it's probably my denial that he was dying.

(05:29):
Balancine was in a hospital bed in blue and white
striped pajamas and a robe. So I sat down with
him and I said, I'm gonna do the Mother and Nutcracker,
and can you help me with the part. So then
he kind of sat up and started coaching the balancing

(05:51):
she knew came to life, dancing from the waist up
in a way only balancing could. He said, give me
your hand, and I gave him my hand. He said, no,
don't give me your hand like that. And he had
a big thing about how you hold hands. He said,
the man must take your hand underneath, and this is
how they kiss it. He kissed her hand and looked
at her almost flirtatious, then let her hand drop to

(06:13):
the bed sheet. I didn't need much. I just wanted
him to talk about it a little bit, and then things,
you know, went from there. Balancie told her to open
a drawer nearby in his hospital cabinet. He had these
bottles of slive of its. It's really strong. Have you

(06:35):
ever had slip of its? Oh? Man, it's like gasoline.
Wilomina didn't have a show that night, she thought, what
the hell. Balancine patted the bed beside him, and like
she done so many times before with her choreographer, she
followed his direction. She hopped on. He said, dear, come

(07:02):
under the covers from My Heart, podcasts and Rococo Punch.

(07:22):
This is the turning room of mirrors America Lance Part one.
Only I can see you. In the US. There is

(07:43):
ballet before George Balanciine and ballet after George Balanchine. He's
so in the water of American ballet that even now
it's hard to divorce him from what it is today,
the beautiful parts and the hard parts. He grew up
dancing for the Czar in Russia and survived revel Ucian
but eventually he landed in New York and created a

(08:03):
ballet company, the New York City Ballet. He drew a
blueprint for how to run a ballet school and a
company under the rule of an artistic director. He emphasized
devotion to the art form above all else. He corey
graphed pieces that were abstract, that colored outside the lines
of traditional ballet. He integrated fast footwork and big movements

(08:24):
into his technique, pushed dancers beyond their limits. These innovations
vaulted him to a position of power few artists ever reach.
Chances are, if you've danced ballet in America, Balancine has
affected you. I know he affected me. Last season we

(08:52):
talked about Mother Teresa, the most famous woman in the
Catholic Church. She and Balancine are very different. But if
there's a mother tree of American ballet, someone larger than life,
I'd say it's George Balancin. Like with Mother Teresa, there
are myths and legends surrounding balancing. He was put on

(09:13):
a pedestal. He created an insular world where dancers felt chosen,
like they were part of something bigger, and it was intoxicating.
Dancer has described him as channeling his artistic vision from
God and dancers were the vessel for his art. And
like with Mother Teresa, that can get very complicated. What

(09:36):
was Balancine's role in his dancers lives or in your life?
She used to say, I am your mother in class,
I am a mother. He well, he was everything. Wilhelmina
entered Balancin's world for the first time in nineteen sixty nine.

(09:57):
She was thirteen years old. She had just left her
family to move to New York on her own to
attend balancing school the pipeline for his ballet company. They
had these old studios on the Upper West Side and Broadway.
There were stairs that led down into the studio where
the class was held, and she remembers one day she

(10:19):
looked up and what I thought was an old man
who was standing at the top of the stairs, and
he came down and he sat with the teacher, and
suddenly he came over and he had his hands all
over my body. I was doing Arabesque. She froze, suspended
an arabesque, one leg lifted behind her, an arm outstretched

(10:41):
in front of her face, and he took my Arab
bask and he turned it so that it was a
more open position, and that my hand was lengthy and
extended and looking over my eyes. And that was my
introduction to George balancing. And I didn't really understand what
he was doing, but I under yet now that he
was looking to see if I was capable of what

(11:03):
his vision for technique for his ballots was. It was
her introduction to Balancian's style of ballet, Unlike anything she'd
experienced before. Balancie had this fantastical way of describing movement.
He would tell danswers to present a foot as if
it were a diamond placed on a red velvet pillow.
Wilhelmina sense to that trusting him would lead to greatness.

(11:27):
You are blessed with having been in the presence of
that kind of genius. And I was scared. I guess
that I might not measure up, or I wasn't as
good as the other kids. I was nervous about unlearning
what I had been taught and re learning this new, complex,

(11:51):
very demanding technique. It was big, animated, acrobatic in ways
that seemed physically impossible to pull off. That technique Balancie
used to describe it as more. Used to say more

(12:12):
and more and more park sausages mom More. It was more, higher, faster, sleeker, extended.
This technique was just take what you know and push it.
M After that day in the classroom with Balancine, well

(12:42):
Amina often noticed his eyes on her. He was watching me.
How did it feel when Balancie noticed you? When you
can tell he was watching you? You know, foll I
loved it. You know I loved you. I mean, how
could you not love it? But At one point he
kept pulling me front, and it became kind of embarrassing

(13:08):
because I had friends that it wasn't happening to. People
would assume that you were flirting or doing you know,
and there was jealousy around it, and that you were
getting close to him because you wanted to dance better parts.

(13:29):
Balancing had a track record of blurring the professional and
the personal, falling in love with his favorite dancers and
marrying some of them. At sixteen, Wilhelmina became an apprentice
with New York City Ballet, the transition from student to
potential professional dancer in Balancing's company, we got dressed up

(13:52):
for class because you wanted him to pay attention to you.
Everybody wore flowers in their hair, and he spoke that
he spoke so quietly, like in a rehearsal. Only dancers
could hear him. He had to be totally tuned into him,
totally tuned in well. He completely wanted all of our

(14:12):
attention and all of our devotion. Not unlike the convent,
we were not supposed to be interested in men. Balancing
felt like if we were distracted by a man, it
would pull us away from what he wanted us to do.
He really wanted us to be completely and totally, just

(14:34):
deeply involved in our dancing. He didn't really want you
to have children. He didn't really want you to get married.
So nobody got married, or if they did, it was
in secret, and you hid your boyfriend. Wilhelmina learned this
the hard way. I was at a cafe across from

(14:58):
Lincoln Center, called Your Allows, and I was with a
date and who should walk by but Balancing. He stopped
in front of them, and he looked at the guy
and he said, will Helmina has the ability to make
a man relax. I think it was sort of an

(15:20):
insult to the guy was like, and then he turned
to a Lamina and he said, dear, you think you're
in Paris, but you're not. And I went, okay, got it.
You know what was he saying? Because I feel like
often I hear quotes from Balancing, and they're indirect and
I don't know exactly what they mean. They're indirect, and

(15:42):
he was sarcastic, very sarcastic. I think what he meant
by that is, you know, New York, you're sitting outdoors,
the busses go by and it's you know, loud and dirty,
but you're not here in the romance of Paris with
this gentleman. I just took that as I'm not that
happy about this, you know, especially because it's kind of

(16:05):
like I was on his turf in a way right
across the street. I laughed, you know, I just laughed
at it. He was just out to like just destroying
my time with the guy. I think, you whatever. I
think he was just throwing his weight around Mr b.
Let let the guy know she's mine. I had her first, right,

(16:27):
I had her first, you know. At the same time
he's having relationships with some of his dancers. Yeah, he did.
You know. I don't know that I thought about it
that much at the time. It was just the way
it was. Balancine asked his dancers to keep their mind

(16:53):
in the studio. In the studio, he asked for their
complete trust. He used to say, well are you looking
at In terms of as a dancer, we look in
the mirror, right, So he'd say, what are you looking at, dear?
You can't see you, only I can see you. To
will Amina, it meant the mirror could lie. You're just

(17:15):
seeing an image of yourself. Fleeting as you're going by.
The audience is seeing something different. Don't listen to the mirror,
listen to my voice. You can't see you, only I
can see you. Balancine controlled the company, controlled who got parts,

(17:55):
controlled your life. He could recast your role at any time.
He could aside you're out of the company. Your artistry
and career were in his hands, and he was seen
as a living genius. Many dancers have praised him for
his gentlemanly manner. Others have said he could be cold
at times cruel even if he didn't like your dancing.

(18:16):
He might be sarcastic or blunt. But Balancine seemed to
like Wilhelmina. She wonders if it's because she resembled one
of his ex wives, another dancer. She was built like her,
had a long nose like hers, and while some dancers
feared Mr. B. Wilomina didn't. For some reason. She felt
he was lonely. It was very easy for me to

(18:39):
talk to him. I think because he was ultimately very
shy himself. He wasn't that comfortable with that many people.
Balancine and Wilhelmina often walked in the same direction at
the end of the day, not surprising since all of
the dancers lived in the area, including Mr. B. One night,
when they were walking home, Wilhelmina had an idea and

(19:02):
I just turned him and I did and said, you
want to have dinner at my house sometime? He said yes.
I said to him, I'm gonna cut this is so
kids stupid. I'm going to cook cocoa van, which I
knew nothing about, nothing about it or how to cook it. No.
Wilhelmina was nineteen, Balancine was seventy one, and Balancine was

(19:24):
big on food. He was known for his refined palette
and cooking. Will Almina was out of her depth. So
I got a cocoa van recipe and I ran to
what was called the Nevada Meat Market. I said, help,
how do I cook cocoa van? I said, what caught?
What would Mr be by? And because that was where
he shopped, he said, oh, he would buy this, he

(19:46):
would buy that. So I got all this stuff and
then I went to sixty seven Wine in Spirits, which
was the liquor store I knew he went to, and
I said, I need some wine that this VALANCHI would
like to drink, and they like laughed at me because

(20:07):
he's such a wine mystery, is like a wine collector.
And then they were like, how much do you want
to spend? I was like ten dollars, you know, so
I'm nineteen. I blew my whole paycheck on it. He
came over and he showed up with two bottles of

(20:31):
seven Lafitte Rothschild's poiac I think it was a poiyak.
Those are now like five thousand dollar bottles of one,
and even then they were hundreds of dollars. So I
was like, you won't my wine. It's no dear, I
think we'll drink this. But at that dinner, that was

(20:52):
like a turning point in my relationship with him, because
first of all, he said he was really impressed with
my cooking. But he stayed a long time and we
had amazing conversation. Amazing conversation. It wasn't sexual, honestly. I
think he appreciated that I asked him over for dinner,

(21:16):
because for the most part, he just went to dinner
with his principal dancers at the time, or he went
home alone. I don't know why people assumed that you
were having sex with him or whatever with him, balanciing flirty,
but he was such a old world gallant gentleman about

(21:39):
all of it. You know. He did that thing where
if he liked you, he would buy you perfume. It
was something he didn't do for everyone, just special dancers.
Wilmina knew this when she was about twenty one years
old on tour with the company in Paris. Balancine was
in his early seventies. We were in the theater. It
was just a mean in between rehearsals, balancing came over.

(22:03):
He handed her a bag, pretty little shopping bag, and
he just heard your this is for you. Inside was
a bottle of perfume. It was a huge bottle of anphony.
He picked the scent, and I was such a brat
that it took up to my hotel room and I

(22:25):
decided I didn't like it, so I poured half of
it down the drain, Probably poured hundreds of dollars perfume
down the drain. And then later when I got older,
I was like, you are an idiot, Willie, or just
an idiot. Well, it's understandable. I mean he's picking how
you smell, and it is your body award and did

(22:47):
that feel like a big deal to you at the time,
where you're like, oh, he's kind of chos me. I
was a little embarrassed because by then I would had
been around long enough to know that people gossiped that
if he was going to do that for you, that
he was sleeping with you. But what he wasn't. I wasn't.

(23:08):
These insinuations felt manageable to wil Amina. She still saw
Balancing as a non threatening old man, an old man
who gave her the opportunity to make meaningful art. She
loved to watch him spin dances out of thin air.
She remembers when he choreographed the opening moments of Symphony
in Three Movements. The composer Igor Stravinsky had written the

(23:30):
music and personally told Balancing it should be a ballet.
And I remember Mr Vigos doing the first step, which
the music goes rum bum bum bum bum, And we
were all in a line and he just pulled his
leg in tight, sort of like a squat position, rolled
his right arm, stuck it up at the air, and

(23:53):
did press and push into a low arab ast position.
And he said, okay, everybody do that. So we all
did it, and the effect. From that opening moment, it's
like you just knew that you were involved in what
was going to be a masterpiece. And the line of

(24:17):
dancers and white leotards looked like a line of cannons
firing in a row. They windmill their arms, jabbed them straight,
They weave in and out of each other. They look
like they're about to collide. He worked furiously, furiously, He
had more energy than everyone, and that was just one rehearsal.

(24:39):
Then he'd go to the next rehearsal, the next rehearsal,
he'd weave a whole different piece that would also go
down in the dance history books. But being the object
of balancing's artistic expression could be relentless. When you're working
in that kind of intensity all the time, you're doing
hos a week, your rehearsal all day, you're doing three

(25:02):
ballets a night. You're doing some core parts, some principal parts,
some soloist parts. You don't have any relief or any
life at all. And there was no counseling or no
thinking about what's the mental health of these young artists.
All that didn't exist. You just had to tough it out.
You might get cast in a difficult role last minute.

(25:23):
Have to learn it immediately, and when you go on
stage to dance it, you know that how you perform
will determine your future. It's something Wilmina did a lot.
She remembers one time when she was thrown into a
complex piece right before a show, and I learned it
on the spot. It's really hard. There's no music, it's
just beeps and bops and things, and and so they

(25:44):
talked me through that. Mr b was in the elevator
with her when she went down to the stage to perform,
and I was like, oh, and he said, just take
it one movement at a time, and she did m
I never got injured. I was on my way to everything.

(26:08):
But a year after she got that perfume bottle, she
was running ragged. She had been cast in balancings A
Midsummer Night's Dream. She was dancing the role of Apolada
in Greek mythology. Apol it is the former queen of
the Amazon's. I didn't feel like I was suited to
the role because although I was long and tall and

(26:28):
strong and could do those kind of tall girl parts,
this was just not me. She even talked to balancing
about it. I said, I don't think this is a
good part for me, but it was like a test,
like I just wanted me to get through it. One
day was particularly bad. I just thought I was dancing
so badly. I wasn't a great turner, you know, as

(26:50):
good at other things, but I was falling off my
turns like so badly. There's a set of whats that
you do there with a bow and arrow in your hands,
and it's in fog, and I was struggling with them anyway,
and I didn't get through it. And I failed in
this role so badly that I left the stage in

(27:16):
a stage rehearsal with an orchestra, which is a very
expensive rehearsal. I think I had a little nervous breakdown.
I think I was popping, you know, I was just
popping and I just couldn't handle it. I just walked
out of the theater in tears. Wilmina decided to talk

(27:38):
to Balancine. I went to him and I said, I'd
like to take a leave of absence. I just can't
do this. But Balancine didn't want her to go. He
told me this story of there were twelve nuns waiting
for Christ. Two calm down from heaven, and six of

(28:01):
them brought enough oil. I don't even know if this
is a real Bible story. Yeah, so he said, six
of them brought enough oil to last the night. Six
only brought enough for a little while. So the six
that didn't bring enough had to leave and go get oil.

(28:22):
And when they came back, Christ had already come, and
the other six nuns had gone to heaven. That one
I got, right, you can go, but I might not
be here when you come back. I guess that was
his way of trying to talk me out of it. Right,
And he's like the Christ figure in that analogy. Oh yeah,

(28:44):
that story he told about nuns missing their chance at heaven,
it wasn't just a story. It was real to dancers
in the company. It was how the place worked. They
were always younger dancers waiting in the wings to take
your place. And Balancine had no problem moving on without you.
So I said him, I understand that I'm taking a

(29:06):
risk that I had to leave. She took some time,
worked at a clothing store, dated got married, but her
decision to leave didn't stick. Not long after, I was
modeling at tavern on the green in the clothing store

(29:27):
and I walked by and there he was. He was
with another ballerina, one of his top dancers and closest friends.
And I walked by their table. I went oh, and
he said, oh dear, it's you. And I realized that
I missed dancing and I missed him. I missed my life.

(29:52):
So I called him. I had his phone ever, I
still have it in an old day book, and I said, hello,
Mr B. It's the prodigal daughter. Wilhelmina called balanching. But

(30:25):
it was a long shot for her to get accepted
back into the company. Generally, once you left, you were out,
just rare exceptions. So I called him and I said, hello,
Mr B, it's the prodigal daughter. And he said, oh, well,
how Mina. I said, I want to come back, and

(30:47):
he said, meet me in my office tomorrow. She showed
up to his office. Her fate was in his hands.
They talked. He told her to come to the theater
the next day she could start dancing again. So he
didn't punish me. He forgave me. He forgave me for it.

(31:07):
He'd forgiven her for leaving the company, for leaving him.
I come to find out that it was unheard of,
so he really was so good to me. However, in
that meeting was the first time he tried to kiss me,

(31:30):
and you're the first person I've told that too. What happened.
It was kind of like to seal the deal. He
went in and I pushed him away. I said, Mr,
b I'm married. It was awkward because I knew that

(31:52):
I was treating him like a man much older than
myself and when she was, which she was. And also
it's awkward to refuse anybody in life, and awkward for
me to stop somebody who had been so good to

(32:15):
me and who I cared about so much. So that
was really complicated. When Wilhelmina said she was married, Balancine
pulled back. He stopped. He just like went, okay, I
got up and left. I got up and left. It
was really it was not that big, but I guess

(32:37):
it was big, right, as sometimes those things are like
like kind of both at once. Yeah, that's an intense
moment for him to try to kiss you, because it
was the moment where she almost had the most power
over you, because he wanted to come back and he
was going to decide whether you did or not. And

(32:57):
in that meeting he leans in to kiss you wait,
which is like, are you going to get your job
back or not? But I mean I was. I had been,
you know, in a way refusing him always in retrospect,

(33:19):
there had been that energy in the air throughout. Yes,
absolutely there was that energy. There was that energy. When
you feel that energy, it's sometimes you can't always put
your finger on it, but you know it's there. That's
exactly right. It was a complicated moment, very complicated moment emotionally.

(33:41):
I never came up again until the hospital Roosevelt Hospital December,
when Balancing was seventy eight years old, will Amina was
She visited him to ask about her role in Balancing Nutcracker.
She had requested to play the role of the mother
of the main character. It wasn't a fancy part, but

(34:03):
she'd been thinking about motherhood lately. Of course, Balancie didn't
like his dancers to have kids, Like a lot of
dancers in the company. She'd had several abortions, and I
wanted to have children. I was getting older, and there
was this one moment in particular she couldn't wait to perform.
It's a simple moment it doesn't exist in other versions

(34:24):
of the ballet. Justin Balanchine's there's this incredible piece of music.
It's a violent solo, and all it is is the
mother with a candle walking across in the front of
the stage looking for Marie, looking for her daughter. She's

(34:45):
looking for her because she's not in her bed. She's
fallen asleep by the Christmas tree with her nutcracker, which
her mother wouldn't let her take to bed. So the
scrim is down, and this violin solo happens. You walk across,
you're looking, looking, looking, and the scrim goes up and

(35:06):
Marie is there, she's fallen asleep, and then all you
do is cover her up, and and it's a It's
just a really beautiful moment. That balancing added to the story.
Balancine told her that as the mother in this ballet,
she was the grand dame of the house. She had
to be elegant. He showed her how the men should

(35:28):
kiss her hand. He directed her to get the bottle
of Slivovitz and join him on the bed, and Wilhelmina
began her dance with Balancine, the strangest ballet she'd ever
danced and we drank. We drank it out of hospital glasses.
They were real glasses at the time. We talked about

(35:51):
all kinds of things while we were drinking. We talked
about the theater. We were laughing. He had this calendar
with Christie Brinkley on it, know, pin up calendar of hers.
He said, dear, come under the covers. So I got
into the covers. He put one arm around her. Women
were his whole life. Women were his inspiration. So to

(36:15):
have one of your women come in and be with
you in a way, it's like that's the was always
the conquest for him to always enjoy women, including physically.
It's funny in the hospital. It didn't bother me because

(36:37):
I felt almost like how you know, when you're really sick,
you're like a mother, almost like you get into bed
to hold the person and comfort them. I felt like that.
I didn't feel grossed out by it. I felt sad
for him, and also I was very drunk. It must

(36:58):
have been a really hilarious looking vision of the two
of us in that hospital. Did like sitting under the
covers together drinking, but also how normal, you know what
I mean, what you would do with someone that you
love that's at the end of their life. You you
do whatever it takes to just have a good time

(37:20):
with them. And as long as that person was alive
and functioning, that my life was kind of okay too.
Half the bottle of Slivovitz was gone now, and he
tried to open my shirt. He said, just let me
investigate a little. Wilhelmina pretended to be in control, to

(37:44):
know what to do. Part of her thoughts, after all
of these years resisting, maybe just let him. I said no, no,
Mr v, come on, you know, And he said, no,
just a little dear. So I did let him open
my shirt and he didn't get very far. Yeah. Then
he tried to kiss her. She held her lips shut.

(38:06):
Will Almina would write about this moment later with some distance.
She wrote about how balanching was like a father to her.
He was too many, She wrote, his hands are there,
but fathers don't do this. And because I love this
father so much, and because I hate him for not
loving me enough to not do this, I pushed him

(38:28):
away and step off the bed. I stumbled out of
the hospital with the rest of the bottle in my hand,
into a cab like God and one, three, four, six

(38:53):
and one choose you have to stay, just stay. Forty
years later, she doesn't perform ballet anymore. Instead, she teaches, yeah,
I got find of it. This one had that emotional
piece to it, right. I think, what's the way that
else put in field of music through your body? Field

(39:16):
of music through your body and your face. She's the
artistic director of a ballet school or California, the Stapleton
School of the Performing Arts and get breath that flow
off and all this week she's teaching a special workshop

(39:39):
for her teenage students. It's all about balancing. But she
doesn't tell them this hospital story. Instead, she tells them
about how to open their arabesques by pulling one shoulder back,
the way Mr B taught her too. She tells them
what it was like to dance for Mr B. Mr Van,
She was very involved in our end of visuality. He

(40:01):
took a lot of time to understand who you are.
She teaches them the choreography just almost ready to her form,
and how to move their feet little feet knows boys
keep a little And she shows these students why she
loves balancing. You have the same growth in the music again.

(40:23):
Right and exist well here, and you have to swell
within yourself. Most of all, she talks about his artistry,
but made balancing great ye all way to the end.

(40:51):
He's the why. She's one of many dancers who do this,
former ballerinas who passed down his repertoire all around the world,
like priestesses with sacred knowledge. They need to pass on,
afraid that the nuances of his art will be lost.

(41:11):
There are not very many of us left around that
actually grew up with balancing. We are a dying breed
and we know it. I realized that it was like
I grew up with Mozart. You know. I came across
this one quote I can't stop thinking about. It's from

(41:34):
Vera Zorina, one of Balancine's wives. Like all of his wives,
she was about Arena, who danced for him. She wrote quote.
He would speak of the suffering faces of dancers, comparing
them to saints. He meant spiritual suffering. To George, dancers
were saints because they worked harder and longer. We're obedient,

(41:58):
never talked back, We're always paid the least, and then
went on stage and danced like angels. To me, this
sums up how Balancine wanted the women in his company
to be Balancine's dancers would change their bodies for him,
some through extreme dieting, drugs, or surgery. Some would have

(42:18):
abortions or avoid romantic relationships to focus on the job.
Some would fall in love with Balancine, and decades after
Balancin died, Ballerina's are still dancing for him, still seeking
his approval. Coming up on The Turning, im serving something

(43:06):
larger than myself. If it's not God than our form
or balancing for me, it felt like it's like balancing's
ghosts or something. The Turning is a production of Rococo

(43:27):
Punch and I Heeart Podcasts. It's written and produced by
Allen Lance Lesser and Me. Our story editor is Emily Foreman.
Mixing and sound designed by James Trout. Jessica Carissa is
our assistant producer. Andrea Swage is our digital producer. Fact
checking by Andrea Lopez Crusado Special thanks to Kate Osborne

(43:48):
and Natalie Jones. Our executive producers are John Paratti and
Jessica Albert at Rococo Punch, I Get, Trina Norvelle and
Nikki Etre at iHeart podcasts, YEA for photos and more
details on the series, follow us on Instagram at Rococo Punch,

(44:09):
and you can reach out via email The Turning at
Rococo punch dot com. M I'm Erica Llance. Thanks for listening. M.
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