George Balanchine in America: Institutions, Economics and Aesthetics of the Nonprofit Performing Arts, 1933-1954


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This dissertation examines choreographer George Balanchine’s early career in America, during which he was active within ballet, opera, musical comedy, and film musicals. It examines the meaning of presenting art in a noncommercial spirit before the official category of the nonprofit organization existed, with selected case studies including Balanchine’s iconic ballet Serenade, his controversial dance-intensive staging of Gluck’s “Orfeo ed Euridice,” and the vaudevillian excess of the film “The Goldwyn Follies.” The project argues that artists such as Balanchine, who would literally spend the morning with Stravinsky at the Metropolitan Opera and the afternoon on Broadway with Rodgers and Hart, helped to foster a nonprofit aesthetic sensibility through their crossing of classical and vernacular boundaries.