Moscow: Ministerstvo kultury SSSR; Goskoncert, 1962. Item #127
12 pp.: ill. 27,5х20,5 cm. Original illustrated wrappers. Near fine.
The program of concert tour of American troupe of New York City Ballet. It contains the article on the history of the troupe under the direction of George Balanchine. The program is illustrated with photographs of ballet scenes. New York City Ballet brought 61 dancers. They were accompanied by Balanchine, Kirstein, Betty Cage, and a company doctor; four conductors and pianists, who had the task of rehearsing the Soviet orchestra that would travel with them on tour; their stage manager and a small crew; four wardrobe personnel; and chaperones for the dancers under age 18.
Per the carefully calibrated principles of Cold War reciprocity, NYCB would trade places with the Bolshoi, which would embark on a tour of the U.S. and Canada.
While both troupes were away from home, Cuban Missile Crisis emerged. Both the State Department and the dancers were determined to carry on with the performances, even if they were nervous about the crisis. The Embassy had been charged with shaping public perceptions of the United States, and NYCB’s performances proved a fortuitous tool. In his report, the Air Force attaché wrote that “the most talked-about event in Moscow during the week of the crisis was the opening of the New York City Ballet.”
The company was also worried that the Soviet government would attempt to detain Balanchine, as they’d originally feared. In the moment, the possibility of war and detention seemed very, very real.
On October 28th, when Radio Moscow announced that the Soviet Union had accepted the U.S. proposal to end the standoff, the company closed its run in Moscow at the Bolshoi Theatre. The applause was so vociferous that Balanchine came on stage to ask the audience to let them leave. Fans were still clamoring for an encore even as the company’s bus pulled away from the theatre. (Marcy, R. Dancers and Diplomats // The Appendix. September, 2014).