Alexandra Danilova was the first of George Balanchine's lifetime of muses. Balanchine created 18 ballets for her, the first of which was 1921's "Poeme." The partially spoken-word piece was one of the first "modern ballets" -- and positioned Danilova as the first of the "modern" ballerinas.
He was known with affectionate reverence as "Mr. B," and that imperious initial may as well have stood for "ballet" itself. Without George Balanchine, there would be no American ballet, only ballet in America. The self-proclaimed artistic descendent of the great Russian choreographer Marius Petipa, B