Balanchine's Youth

At the age of 9, Balanchine enrolls in the ballet section of the Imperial Theater School in St. Petersburg.

At that time, the Imperial Ballet (known today as the Kirov) was already the home of the classic Russian tradition, having fostered the creativity of the great choreographer Marius Petipa in the late 1800s and introduced the world to the classic Russian ballets: Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker.

Young Balanchine appears in school productions and dances children’s roles with the Imperial Ballet.
The experience of performing in elaborate, glittering professional productions leaves a lasting impact and inspires Balanchine to continue his training and explore his own choreographic impulses.