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NYCB Vol. 8 No. 12 - Slaughter on Tenth Avenue

Updated: Apr 4

(2/2) Balanchine on his 1968 revival of Slaughter on Tenth Avenue: "It is not really a revival of the old Slaughter, just that we are using the same music to make something with new dancers. It will be old-new. I am not trying to make it look like the old one, like years ago. [...] It will be the same type of thing, but it will probably be better—prettier and more interesting."

Repertory in Review: 40 Years of the New York City Ballet by Nancy Reynolds (affiliate link)



Suzanne Farrell & Arthur Mitchell. Photos by Fred Fehl, 1968. Harry Ransom Center.


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Arthur Mitchell began tap dancing as a child. A school guidance counselor suggested he audition for the High School of Performing Arts. For his audition, he performed a tap number to “Steppin’ Out With My Baby,” staged by Tom Nip, a black vaudevillian, Broadway dancer, and choreographer. He was accepted. When Mr. Mitchell graduated, he received the school’s dance award—the first time a male student had won—and he also received a scholarship to SAB. (To learn more about Mr. Mitchell listen to this week’s podcasat episode)


Arthur Mitchell on Slaughter on Tenth Avenue: “Slaughter was quite a trip. Mr. Balanchine told me to make up some tap dancing, ‘You know, like Ray Bolger.’ We even got Ray Bolger in there, but he couldn’t remember a thing. So then he’d say, ‘Okay, you have sixteen bars. I’ll be back in an hour, and you have the gun and ‘one more time,’ he was very specific about what he wanted. It’s a good, fun piece. Balanchine often said to me, of this and others, ‘ You know, Arthur, when you’re serving a meal, you can’t give all meat. You have your appetizer, your main course, your dessert, and your coffee.’ This ballet was not a main course.”

Repertory in Review: 40 Years of the New York City Ballet by Nancy Reynolds (affiliate link)



Arthur Mitchell and George Balanchine rehearsing Slaughter on stage.

Photos by Fred Fehl, 1968. Harry Ransom Center


 

Listen to our podcast episode on Arthur Mitchell

or watch below:



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