Jerome Robbins in Person
Six years after his death, Jerome Robbins remains a key figure in the world of dance. Though his ballets are far less widely performed than those of George Balanchine, his mentor and master, they are staple items on the programs of such major companies as the Paris Opéra Ballet, the San Francisco Ballet, and above all the New York City Ballet (NYCB), the company for which Robbins created the vast majority of his dances. And though comparatively little of his work for Broadway survives except in fragments, at least two of the shows with which he was most closely associated, West Side Story (1957) and Fiddler on the Roof (1964), continue to be performed in versions that make use of his dances. The revival of Fiddler that opened last season at Broadway’s Minskoff Theatre, for example, was completely restaged by the director David Leveaux—except for Robbins’s original choreography, which was scrupulously reproduced.
Yet for all his continuing renown, Robbins has remained no less enigmatic a figure than he was in his lifetime. As I wrote seven years ago in these pages:
About the Author
Terry Teachout is COMMENTARY’s critic-at-large and the drama critic of the Wall Street Journal. Satchmo at the Waldorf, his first play, runs through November 4 at Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut.