On Stage at the Ballet

My Life as Dancer and Artistic Director


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About the Book

Dancer Robert Barnett trained under legendary choreographer Bronislava Nijinska. His professional ballet career was launched when he joined the Colonel de Basil Original Ballet Russe company. In the late 1940s, when George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein formed the New York City Ballet, Barnett was among the first generation of dancers. Under Balanchine’s direction, he rose from corps de ballet to soloist. In 1958 he became principal dancer and associate artistic director of the Atlanta Ballet—the oldest continuously operating company in America—and served as artistic director for more than thirty years. He was head coach of the American delegation to the International Ballet Competitions in Varna, Bulgaria, in 1980 and in Moscow in 1981. Barnett’s autobiography recounts the life of a dancer and artistic director, offers insight into what is involved in pursuing a professional career in dance and provides a history of ballet in America from the early 1920s through 2019.

About the Author(s)

Robert Barnett teaches and coaches at schools and companies throughout the U.S. and abroad, sets Balanchine ballets for schools and companies approved by the Balanchine Trust and remains active with the Atlanta Ballet.

Dance writer and education consultant Cynthia Crain is a member of the Dance Studies Association and Biographers International Organization, a trustee on the Atlanta Ballet board and on the Education Committee of the Atlanta Ballet, Centre for Dance Education.

Bibliographic Details

Robert Barnett with Cynthia Crain

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 221
Bibliographic Info: 63 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2019
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7910-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3732-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Preface: Not While I’m Around 1
One. The Early Years 5
Two. Military Service and a Ballet ­Pre-Pro 29
Three. The Original Ballet Russe Tour 46
Four. The Muny in St. Louis 62
Five. First-Generation New York City Ballet 72
Six. Triumphs, Tragedies and Tours 87
Seven. Virginia “Ginger” Barnett 99
Eight. Atlanta Civic Ballet 115
Nine. The Atlanta Ballet 130
Ten. Families and Friends 150
Eleven. A New Direction 168
Twelve. Passing It Along 180
Chapter Notes 195
Bibliography 197
Index 203