Jerome Robbins (October 11, 1918 – July 29, 1998) was an American choreographer, director, dancer, and theater producer who worked in classical ballet, on stage, film, and television. Among his numerous stage productions were On the Town, Peter Pan, High Button Shoes, The King and I, The Pajama Game, Bells Are Ringing, West Side Story, Gypsy, and Fiddler on the Roof. Robbins was a five-time Tony Award-winner and a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors. He received two Academy Awards, including the 1961 Academy Award for Best Director with Robert Wise for West Side Story. (Source: Wikipedia)
Constantly between classical ballet and Brodway musical he was highly successful in both and one of the greatest coreographers of the 20th century!
A documentary about Robbins‘ life and work, Something to Dance About, featuring excerpts from his journals, archival performance and rehearsal footage, and interviews with Robbins and his colleagues, premiered on PBS in 2009 and won both an Emmy and a Peabody Award the same year.
Narrated by Ron Rifkin, the documentary includes excerpts from Robbins’ journals, archival performance footage, never-before-seen rehearsal recordings and interviews with Robbins himself and many of his friends, colleagues and critics, including Mikhail Baryshnikov, Jacques d’Amboise, Suzanne Farrell, Arthur Laurents, Peter Martins, Frank Rich, Chita Rivera, Stephen Sondheim, Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick, and Joseph Stein. It is an amazing programme and should be seen over and over again. It was broadcasted at the Serbian National Television (RTS3) on January 30th 2021. and that has inspired us to write this article.
Robbins was one of the most popular and imaginative American choreographers of the 20th century. Robbins was first known for his skillful use of contemporary American themes in ballets and Broadway and Hollywood musicals. He won acclaim for highly innovative ballets structured within the traditional framework of classical dance movements.
Following a bicycle accident in 1990 and heart-valve surgery in 1994, in 1996 he began showing signs of a form of Parkinson’s disease, and his hearing was quickly deteriorating. He nevertheless staged Les Noces for City Ballet in 1998, his last project.
Robbins suffered a stroke in July 1998, two months after the premiere of his re-staging of Les Noces. He died at his home in New York on July 29, 1998. On the evening of his death, the lights of Broadway were dimmed for a moment in tribute. (Source: Wikipedia)
“Give me something to dance about and I’ll dance it.” is his quote.
Truly amazing and inspirational life of a dancer!