Todd Bolender


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(b Canton, Ohio, 17 Feb. 1919; d Kansas City, Kansas, 12 Oct. 2006)

US dancer, choreographer, and ballet director. After studying with Chester Hale, Vilzak, and at the School of American Ballet, he began his career in 1937 dancing with Ballet Caravan, the Littlefield Ballet, American Ballet Caravan, Ballet Theatre and Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. While with Ballet Caravan, he created the role of the State Trooper in Lew Christensen's Filling Station (1938), Alias in Loring's Billy the Kid (1938), a Father in Loring's City Portrait (1939), and a leading role in Dollar's A Thousand Times Neigh! (1940). In 1946 he joined Ballet Society, precursor to New York City Ballet, where during the next fifteen years he created many roles for Balanchine (Phlegmatic in Four Temperaments, The Fox, Divertimento, Metamorphoses, Agon, Ivesiana) and for Robbins (Age of Anxiety, The Pied Piper, Fanfare, Quartet, The Concert). His first choreographed ballet was Mother Goose Suite (mus. Ravel, 1943) which he made for American Concert Ballet, a group he co-founded with William Dollar and Mary Jane Shea. For NYCB he subsequently made several works including The Miraculous Mandarin (mus. Bartók, 1951), Souvenirs (mus. Barber, 1955), The Still Point (mus. Debussy, 1956), Creation of the World (mus. Milhaud, 1960), and Piano Rag Music (mus. Stravinsky, 1972). He was ballet director in Cologne (1963–6); and subsequently in Frankfurt (1966–9); then in 1975 he co-founded Pacific Northwest Ballet, which he ran until 1977. He was then director of the ballet company, Ataturk Opera House, Istanbul (1977–80) and between 1981 and 1995 was artistic director of Kansas City Ballet (which became the State Ballet of Missouri in 1986). He choreographed many works for that company, including Classical Symphony (mus. Prokofiev, 1982), An American in Paris (mus. Gershwin, 1987), and Celebration (mus. Gershwin, 1989). He also danced in and directed Broadway musicals.

Subjects: Dance.

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