Balanchine and Kirstein’s American Enterprise, coming November 1, 2018 from Oxford University Press.


In 1933 choreographer George Balanchine and impresario Lincoln Kirstein embarked on an elusive quest to found a ballet company and school in the United States, and their efforts would eventually result in the creation of the New York City Ballet and the School of American Ballet. But during the first decade of their collaborative efforts this success was anything but assured.

Tracing the tangled histories of two of the most important figures in twentieth-century dance, Balanchine and Kirstein’s American Enterprise offers fresh perspectives on a pivotal period in cultural history. Deeply researched using sources only made available in recent years, at every turn it challenges the mythologies and received histories that have arisen surrounding the early years of Balanchine and Kirstein’s collaborative efforts. I show how the activities of the School of American Ballet, American Ballet, and Ballet Caravan were deeply intertwined with Balanchine’s work on the Broadway stage and in Hollywood. The book reveals the full extent of Kirstein’s essential role in the enterprise and offers reconstructive analysis of lost works, as well as new and surprising details regarding some of Balanchine’s most iconic ballets, including Serenade, Apollo, and Concerto Barocco. This history involved artists including Richard Rodgers, Martha Graham, George Gershwin, Katherine Dunham, Vera Zorina, and Igor Stravinsky, as well as dozens of lesser known players whose contributions have yet to be fully acknowledged. I show how in the 1930s Balanchine was not the artist that he would eventually become, and how the same was true of the institutions that he and Kirstein jointly created.

Scholarly Articles

Balanchine’s Bach Ballet and the Dances of On Your Toes,” Journal of Musicology 

The Education of Lincoln Kirstein,” Dance Chronicle 38, no. 3 (2015): 336–59.

The American Ballet’s Caravan,” Dance Research Journal 47, no. 1 (April 2015): 69–94.

HD Opera: A Love/Hate Story,” The Opera Quarterly 27, no. 4 (Fall 2011): 443–59.

The Metropolitan Opera Goes Public: Peter Gelb and the Institutional Dramaturgy of ‘The Met Live in HD,” Music and the Moving Image 2, no. 2 (Summer 2009): 24–30.

Editorial and Reference

“The Agon of Opera and Dance,” guest editor for special issue of The Opera Quarterly 31, No. 3 (Summer 2015).

“Introduction,” special issue in honor of Richard Taruskin, Journal of Musicology 31, No. 2 (Spring 2014).

“Music and Dance,” Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism, general ed., Stephen Ross; dance ed., Lynn Garafola.

“Lincoln Kirstein,” Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism, general ed., Stephen Ross; dance ed., Lynn Garafola.

“Rolf de Maré,” Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism, general ed., Stephen Ross; dance ed., Lynn Garafola.


Review of Mary Simonson, Body Knowledge: Performance, Intermediality, and American Entertainment at the Turn of the Twentieth Century (Oxford University Press, 2013), Nineteenth Century Theatre and Film 41, No. 1 (Summer 2014), 99–104.

Recordings in Review,” review of Richard Strauss Capriccio “Live in HD” from the Metropolitan Opera, The Yale Review 100, no. 3 (July 2012): 204–9.

No Sex Please, We’re Dancers,” review of Apollo’s Angels: A History of Ballet by Jennifer Homans, Times Literary Supplement, January 27, 2012, 19–20.

The Promise of The Tender Land, or Laurie Makes Up Her Mind,” review of Glimmerglass Opera production, The Opera Quarterly 27, no. 1 (Winter 2011): 123–29.



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