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SAB 90 - Dorothie Littlefield

Who was Dorothie Littlefield?

“She was the first American teacher hired by George Balanchine for his School of American Ballet and she took part in the early performances of Balanchine’s ballets in America (including Serenade).  She danced with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, on Broadway, and on a Broadway tour.  She directed ice shows and actually learned to skate.  Dorothie was known as an excellent teacher with a warm, generous personality.  Patricia Wilde of the New York City Ballet was one of her students.”

Obituary, New York Times


“Dorothie Littlefield, a young dancer from Philadelphia, later ballerina of the Philadelphia Ballet company, and currently a well-known choreographer of ice shows, took over the teaching of the junior grade, and Balanchine and Vladimiroff began teaching the seniors and professional students”.

—“New York City Ballet” by Anatole Chujoy


“Littlefield […] had a fresh-faced American glamour to her […]. A mere eighteen years old when she arrived at the School, Litfield had trained with her mother and sister in Philadelphia. She had studied with some of the Italians teaching in New York in the 1920s and finished her training in Paris, where she went with her sister to learn from the Russian expatriate teachers who had settled there. She was a devoted admirer of Balanchine.”

Kirstein wrote that Littlefield had, “an excellent sense of America limitations and possibilities” She shared the teaching load and helped to conduct rehearsals at the School before leaving it to join the American Ballet, the first of the Balanchine-Kirstein companies in 1935.”

—“But First a School” by Jennifer Dunning (affiliate link)


This was the ONLY photo I could find of Dorothie, which is actually a photo someone had listed on eBay. She’s shown with one of the skaters in the ice shows she directed. If you know of any other photos of Dorothie, please let me know.

Dorothie Littlefield


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