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NYCB Vol. 6 No. 1 - Haieff Divertimento

Updated: Mar 30

We're back! Tonight is opening night of NYCB's Winter 2023 season.


In his autobiography, Jacques d'Amboise recalled being in the audience watching Haieff Divertimento in 1947 during the first season of Ballet Society (a precursor to NYCB). Jacques was just twelve and a half years old.


"The dancing in Divertimento and jazzy rhythms of the music had me bouncing in my seat […] But what brought me rapture in Divertimento was the pas de deux with Maria Tallchief and Francisco Moncion, with its culmination of an inventive embrace. Frank’s outstretched arms, reaching past Maria’s shoulders, his hands clenching into fists, then repeatedly stretching his fingers yearningly, as he rocks in slow motion. Simultaneously, Maria, balanchine on the tip of her left foot, tucks her head into the crook of Frank’s neck, nuzzling. Then she gently strums the floor with her right foot, making a series of circles as if visualizing the musical phrase by stirring the air. I’d go home and practice every variation, and dream that someday, I would dance with Maria.”

—Jacques d’Amboise in I Was a Dancer (affiliate link)




Francisco Moncion and Maria Tallchief in Haieff Divertimento.

Photo by George Platt Lynes as it appears in the book The New York City Ballet by Lincoln Kirstein, 1973.


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