A Culinary Biography of Balanchine Is Being Presented at the Guggenheim This Month

Balanchine made paskha and kulich for Russian Orthodox Easter each year. Photo by Martha Swope, courtesy of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

Food scholar Meryl Rosofsky is presenting a culinary biography of Balanchine, April 8–9, as part of Works & Process performing arts series at the Guggenheim. Joining her for a panel discussion about Balanchine's passion for cooking are former New York City Ballet dancer Edward Villella, former NYCB physician Dr. William Hamilton and former School of American Ballet dancer Jeanne Fuchs (also a cook and taster of Balanchine's recipes). Current NYCB dancers will perform various excerpts from Balanchine's work.

Balanchine's love for cooking is a little-known fact. During her presentation, Rosofsky will share how food was an important creative outlet, and how it sheds light on his background and his genius. "You can learn a great deal about who Balanchine was as a man and as an artist through his cooking," she says. She will delve into his Georgian family roots, his childhood in Russia (during the horrors of the Bolshevik revolution), his coming of age in France and embracing of America, and outline how those experiences are reflected in his relationship to food and cooking as an adult.

Rosofsky has chosen to hold the event on Russian Orthodox Easter to pay homage to the rituals Balanchine participated in yearly. Prior to the program, The Wright Restaurant at the Guggenheim will offer dishes from Balanchine's repertoire, including paskha and kulich, which he made for his yearly Easter feasts.

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