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VIDEO: On This Day, October 11- Happy Birthday, Jerome Robbins!

On this day, we're celebrating a bona fide legend of the worlds of theatre and dance, Jerome Robbins,

Born on October 11, 1918 in New York City, Robbins was one of the major forces in 20th century performing arts. He received world renown for his choreography for New York City Ballet, where he spent much of his creative life, as well as for his work with American Ballet Theatre, Ballets: U.S.A., and other dance companies around the world. He received equal acclaim for his work as a director and choreographer of Broadway musicals, plays, movies, and television, winning five Tony Awards and two Academy Awards, as well as numerous other honors including the Handel Medallion of the City of New York (1976), the Kennedy Center Honors (1981), and the National Medal of the Arts (1988).

Robbins began his ballet career with Ballet Theatre (now American Ballet Theatre) in 1940, and his first-ever ballet was the choreographic sensation Fancy Free, created for Ballet Theatre in 1944 by Robbins and Bernstein, who were both young up-and-comers at the time. In 1945 Robbins and Bernstein teamed up with Betty Comden and Adolph Green to turn Fancy Free into On The Town, Robbins' first Broadway musical. Following the success of On The Town, Robbins went on to create some of Broadway's most legendary shows including Billion Dollar Baby, The Pajama Game, Peter Pan, West Side Story, Gypsy, Fiddler on the Roof, and Jerome Robbins' Broadway.

In 1949, at the invitation of George Balanchine, Robbins joined New York City Ballet as Associate Artistic Director, where he both danced and choreographed. In 1959 Robbins left NYCB to focus on his work for the theater, returning to NYCB in 1969 with his landmark ballet to the piano music of Frédéric Chopin, Dances at a Gathering. Robbins would spend the rest of his life affiliated with NYCB, as both a choreographer and the Company's co-Ballet Master in Chief, a position he shared with Peter Martins from 1983 to 1989. Robbins died in New York City on July 29, 1998.


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