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Balanchine and de Mille paved the way for Jerome Robbins
[[image]] Martha Swope[[vertically on the side of the picture]] [[image]] Martha Swope[[vertically on the side of the picture]] 
George Balanchine's choreography for On Your Toes (l.) brought new respect to ballet on B'way; Jerome Robbins continued the tradition with West Side Story (r.)

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gled long and hard to make a name for herself. Her persistence and determination paid off on October 16, 1942, when the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo danced her new ballet, Rodeo, at the Metropolitan Opera House. This timeless work about a proud, feisty cowgirl who secretly yearns for the affections of a head wrangler, received 22 curtain calls at its premiere.
[[tab]] Shortly thereafter, de Mille learned that the Theatre Guild was about to produce a show with another Western theme, a musical based on Lynn Rigg's play Green Grow the Lilacs. She "badgered" Rodgers and Hammerstein about letting her do the dances until she "wore them down," and they gave her the opportunity to choreograph Oklahoma!
[[tab]] "I came into rehearsals with a whole troupe of dances," she remembers, "and nobody thought the girls I wanted were pretty. I saw to it that a couple of beauties were chosen for the chorus, but I told everybody that if they didn't take the three girls I wanted I wouldn't do the show. So they took them- Bambi Linn, Diana Adams and Joan McCracken."
[[tab]] Oscar Hammerstein wanted to end the first act with a dance sequence, a dream ballet that took place in a circus. But de Mille had other ideas. "I said to Oscar, 'You don't need a ballet here,'" she relates. "'It has nothing to do with the plat.' And he said, ' We've got to have a ballet, because we can't end on a dark note.' I 

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said, 'Why not? Laurey is scared, but you haven't shown what she's scared of. She certainly would not be dreaming of herself as a circus queen. That's unsound dramatics. It has nothing to do with life. And besides, you have no sex in the first act. There's no suspense.'"
[[tab]] Hammerstein asked Rodgers to join them. De Mille wanted to create a psychological dream ballet that depicted Laurey's confusion over her attraction to Jud, the dangerous farmhand who wore two dirty shirts and was fond of French postcards. "I told them that Laurey was unconsciously fascinated by Jud's lurid life," she relates. "I said, 'Let me put those postcards on the stage, and we'll all have some fun.'" Rodgers and Hammerstein agreed, and de Mille choreographed "Laurey Makes Up Her Mind," in which Laurey must choose between Jud, the man she fears, and Curly, the man she loves. The piece- which made dream ballets fashionable- echoes the plot of the show, and gives the conflict a complexity it would not otherwise have. It was not only the first psychological ballet choreography for Broadway, but the first ballet to substitute dancing counterparts for the "real" Laurey, Curly, and Jud (it is, after all, a dream sequence). De Mille's choreography was also the first to make Broad way audiences aware that ballet could speak powerfully and effectively to Americans about Americans.
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Johnnie Walker 
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The upwardly mobile.
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Years 12 old

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