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Jacobs School of Music

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Jacobs School of Music

Last modified: Friday, August 26, 2011

IU Jacobs School of Music Distinguished Professor Violette Verdy to receive New York City Ballet award

Aug. 26, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Violette Verdy, distinguished professor of ballet at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, will receive the 2011 Jerome Robbins Award on stage at an all-Robbins New York City Ballet evening at the David Koch Theater Sept. 30. She will join 25 other former and current company ballerinas, all of whom worked with choreographer Robbins.

Dancer Chita Rivera, who worked extensively with Robbins, will present the awards, which carry an honorarium as well as a statue.

Violet Verdy

Violette Verdy

Print-Quality Photo

A leading ballerina of the 20th century, Verdy was a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet for 20 years and performed as a guest principal artist with major companies in America and Europe, such as the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Royal Ballet at Covent Garden, the Paris Opera Ballet and the Stuttgart, Munich and Hamburg Ballets.

"Balanchine told me that he himself was not really the American choreographer, and that the great one was Jerry," said Verdy.

In 1970, Robbins, a pre-eminent figure in the dance and theater world, established The Jerome Robbins Foundation with the intent to support dance and theater and their associative arts. Following the outbreak of AIDS, he directed the foundation's resources almost exclusively to addressing the AIDS crisis. Before his death in 1998, Robbins expressed his wish that the foundation again extend its resources to the performing arts -- dance and theater especially but not exclusively -- including what developed into The Jerome Robbins Award.

Past recipients of the award are Jennifer Tipton, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Twyla Tharp, Robert Wilson, New York City Ballet, Brooklyn Academy of Music and San Francisco Ballet.

This year, in a departure from the usual model, 26 former and current New York City Ballet principal ballerinas who were vital to the decades of Robbins' creative life with the company will share the honor.

Images of each ballerina, in a Robbins ballet, will be projected as they accept their award. The evening's printed program will include remembrances from the ballerinas of working with Robbins.

The other dancers receiving the award are Helene Alexopoulos, Alexandra Ansanelli, Merrill Ashley, Yvonne Borree, Maria Calegari, Suzanne Farrell, Judith Fugate, Jillana, Allegra Kent, Gelsey Kirkland, Darci Kistler, Maria Kowroski, Sara Leland, Lourdes Lopez, Kay Mazzo, Patricia McBride, Yvonne Mounsey, Kyra Nichols, Jenifer Ringer, Melinda Roy, Stephanie Saland, Margaret Tracey, Violette Verdy, Heather Watts, Miranda Weese and Wendy Whelan. Melissa Hayden, Nora Kaye, Tanaquil Le Clercq and Janet Reed will be recognized posthumously.