Jerome Robbins

Choreographer & director

Antique Epigraphs_New York City Ballet

Glass Pieces_New York City Ballet

Fancy Free_Pacific Northwest Ballet

The Cage_Australian Ballet

Ballets: U.S.A. rehearsal_1959

West Side Story

[pics: (nytimes.com) (gettyimages.com) (playbill.com) (smh.com.au) (europeanweekly.org) (dancingperfectlyfree.com) (images.google.com)]

Jerome Robbins is world renowned for his work as a choreographer of ballets as well as his work as a director and choreographer in theater, movies and television. His Broadway shows include On the Town, Billion Dollar Baby, High Button Shoes, West Side Story, The King and I, Gypsy, Peter Pan, Miss Liberty, Call Me Madam, and Fiddler on the Roof. His last Broadway production in 1989, Jerome Robbins= Broadway, won six Tony Awards including best musical and best director.

Among the more than 60 ballets he created are Fancy Free, Afternoon of a Faun, The Concert, Dances At a Gathering, In the Night, In G Major, Other Dances, Glass Pieces and Ives, Songs, which are in the repertories of New York City Ballet and other major dance companies throughout the world. His last ballets include A Suite of Dances created for Mikhail Baryshnikov (1994), 2 & 3 Part Inventions (1994), West Side Story Suite (1995) and Brandenburg (1996).

In addition to two Academy Awards for the film West Side Story, Mr. Robbins has received four Tony Awards, five Donaldson Awards, two Emmy Awards, the Screen Directors' Guild Award, and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award. Mr. Robbins was a 1981 Kennedy Center Honors Recipient and was awarded the French Chevalier dans l'Ordre National de la Legion d'Honneur. Mr. Robbins died in 1998. (jeromerobbins.org)

American Masters Bio
New York City Ballet Bio
New York Times Obit & Articles
Jerome Robbins Exhibit
Picture Gallery

All three books tell the same story, of an eagerly ambitious, desperately insecure boy who was torn about his Jewish heritage and his love and lust for men, who named names to the House Un-American Activities Committee but remained an admired dancer and went on to become a world-famous ballet choreographer, the director and choreographer of some of the great midcentury musicals, to experiment with vanguard arts and finally to settle into an autumnal old age (he died in 1998) as George Balanchine’s junior partner at the New York City Ballet. Or as autumnal as a neurotic gay Jew from New Jersey could hope to be. American Bodies

Q: What makes him an American master?

A: Robbins brought a uniquely American sensibility to his work, beginning with his landmark ballet, Fancy Free, which reflected his desire to “dance about how we are today,” rather than only perform the old Russian works that were the staples of ballet. He was a primary architect of four of the most enduring works of the American musical theater, including one, West Side Story, which was responsible for expanding and elevating the form, plus there is no more important American-born ballet choreographer. If that’s not an ‘American master,’ what is? Judy Kinberg of Something to Dance About

Something to Dance About Trailer
"My father was a book that wouldn't open its pages."-Jerome Robbins

"Jerry was a sponge: He was hungry, he was thirsty, he was dying to be somebody."

"He wasn't fun to be around. He could be mean. Mean as a snake."

"He was hell to deal with."

"I'm afraid I'll be stuck on a limb of failure and cut off."-JR

"Jerry was making money hand over fist. He was the king of Broadway."

"He was the best at staging numbers."-Stephen Sondheim

"We couldn't get anyone to produce it (West Side Story). It took three years of peddling."-JR

"He was always putting obstacles in front of us to see how quickly we could surmount them."

"When you walk into the rehearsal hall at 9 o'clock in the morning, he is the president, he is the dictator, he is God."

"Do it faster, only slower."-JR

"He was a very good collaborator, except when you had to argue a point."-SS

"Lenny (Bernstein) was afraid of two things: God and Jerry Robbins."

"He's a genius. We have to cater to genius."-Leonard Bernstein

"Musicals are so painful for me."-JR

"Jerry's insecurity was astonishing."-Peter Martin

"He had a healthy amount of self-loathing."

"He wanted to be loved so badly."

SDA Outtakes: Balanchine & Robbins
"Jerry wanted success. He wanted power, he wanted money, he wanted security."

West Side Story: Cool
Fiddler on the Roof: Bottle Dance
Rita Moreno: Remembering Jerome Robbins
"He had a vicious temper. He could smell a victim a mile away."
50th Anniversary World Tour of West Side Story (pics)

Christopher D'amboise: Remembering Jerome Robbins
"One thing I miss about Jerry was the standard he exacted on us."
Christopher Wheeldon: Remembering Jerome Robbins
"Deep down he was a softie."
Dances at a Gathering
"It's not stressful to watch. You just sit back and enjoy."
Glass Pieces
"It's kind of relentless."