The Year Of The George

There are celebrations all over America this year in honor of George Balanchine’s 100th birthday. “All this is for the man who transformed ballet as surely as Pablo Picasso did painting or Balanchine’s collaborator, Igor Stravinsky, did music. Balanchine made an Old World art form new by dropping the frills and pantomime. He was about pure dance. Ballet did not have to tell a story: “When you have a garden of pretty flowers, you don’t demand of them, ‘What do you mean?’ ” he said.”