George de Cuevas
Jorge Cuevas Bartholín
|Died||22 February 1961 75–76) (aged|
|Nationality||Chilean, naturalized U.S.|
|Occupation||ballet impresario, choreographer|
|Known for||Grand Ballet du Marquis de Cuevas|
|Spouse(s)||Margaret Rockefeller Strong|
|Children||Elizabeth, a.k.a. Bessie (born 1929)|
Jorge Cuevas Bartholín, known as George de Cuevas (1885 – 22 February 1961), was a Chilean-born ballet impresario and choreographer who was best known for the Grand Ballet du Marquis de Cuevas that he formed in 1944.
Cuevas was born as Jorge Cuevas Bartholín in 1885 in Santiago, Chile, a son of Eduardo Cuevas Avaria (1821–1897), a prominent Chilean politician and former diplomat, and his third wife, the former María Manuela del Carmen Bartholín de la Guarda, who was half Danish. He had five siblings: Roberto, Luís, Enrique, Sara, and Carmela.He also had 11 half-siblings from his father's previous marriages.
Though Cuevas was apparently homosexual,he married Margaret Rockefeller Strong, a granddaughter of John D. Rockefeller, in Paris on 3 August 1927. Around the time of the wedding, Cuevas had been serving as a secretary at the Chilean legation in London; the bride had been raised in Italy and studied chemistry at Cambridge University. The Cuevases would have two children, John (born 1931) and Elizabeth (born 1929, aka Bessie, later sculptor Elizabeth Strong-Cuevas). Some sources state that Cuevas was the eighth Marquis de Piedrablanca y Guana, but others state that the title originated in a 1931 petition by Cuevas to King Alfonso XIII of Spain, but was not confirmed due to the latter's abdication. The title of Marquis de Piedrablanca y Guana was first granted to the conquistador Pedro Cortes de Monroy.
He became a naturalized citizen of the United States in July 1940 at the Ocean County Naturalization Court in Toms River, New Jersey, renouncing his title and becoming legally George de Cuevas. His title, however, continued to be used socially and in news reports. Cuevas and his wife sponsored an exhibition in 1940 at the New York World's Fair that included old masters and French moderns borrowed from private collections and valued at $30 million.
He founded a new ballet company as the Ballet International in New York City in 1944, performing at a now-destroyed theater in Columbus Circle. The company was variously called the Grand Ballet de Monte Carlo or the Grand Ballet du Marquis de Cuevas, but was most commonly called The de Cuevas Ballet by theatergoers.
In 1947, Rosella Hightower accepted an invitation from Cuevas to join his new ballet company. The presence there of choreographer Bronislava Nijinska was one of the major factors in Hightower's decision. Nijinska choreographed for Hightower the "glitteringly virtuosic" Rondo Capriccioso. In addition to classic dances, Hightower's performances included Piège de Lumière by John Taras, the troupe's choreographer and balletmaster, in which she danced the role of a butterfly in a tropical forest who enchants a group of escaped convicts.
A 1953 costume party in Biarritz featured 2,000 guests, of 4,000 invitees, who wore 18th-century costumes. Cuevas, dressed in gold lamé and a headdress with towering ostrich plumes, came dressed as the "King of Nature."
On 30 March 1958, at age 72, Cuevas faced off against the 52-year-old retired ballet master and choreographer Serge Lifar in a duel in France. The duel was precipitated by an argument over changes to Black and White ( Suite en Blanc ), a ballet by Lifar that was being presented by the Cuevas ballet company. Lifar had his face slapped in public after insisting that he retained the rights to Black and White. Lifar sent his seconds to Cuevas who refused to extend an apology and chose to duel with swords. As duels had been "technically outlawed" in the 17th Century, the time and location of the duel were not disclosed to the public.The duel was conducted in front of 50 newspaper photographers and ended with the two combatants in tears and embraces in what The New York Times called "what may well have been the most delicate encounter in the history of French dueling", with the sole injury being a cut on Lifar's right forearm in the seventh minute.
The final success of his career was a production of The Sleeping Beauty that debuted in Paris in October 1960 and was well received by critics. His doctors allowed him to attend the ballet's premiere, with Cuevas noting that "if I am going to die, I will die backstage." He was rolled onto the stage in a wheelchair after the performance to a standing ovation from the audience.
George de Cuevas died at age 75 on 22 February 1961, at his villa, Les Délices, in Cannes.His troupe was to have opened Sleeping Beauty in Cannes the night after Cuevas died, and it canceled the performance in his memory.
René Blum was a French theatrical impresario. He was the founder of the Ballet de l'Opéra at Monte Carlo and was the younger brother of the Socialist Prime Minister of France, Léon Blum. A Jew, he was interned in various camps from 1941 until he was murdered by the Nazis at the Auschwitz concentration camp in late September 1942. While at the camps, he was known for keeping up the spirits of his fellow prisoners with tales of his life in the arts.
Bronislava Nijinska was a Polish ballet dancer, and an innovative choreographer. She came of age in a family of traveling, professional dancers.
George Zoritch, was a Russian-born American ballet dancer who starred in performances by Ballet Russe companies on stages all over the United States from the 1930s to the 1960s. Internationally known, he was one of the most glamorous figures and striking personalities in mid-twentieth-century ballet.
Frederic Franklin, sometimes also called "Freddie", was a British-American ballet dancer, choreographer and director.
Serge Lifar was a French ballet dancer and choreographer of Ukrainian origin, famous as one of the greatest male ballet dancers of the 20th century. Not only a dancer, Lifar was also a choreographer, director, writer, theoretician about dance, and collector.
Rosella Hightower was an American ballerina who achieved fame in both the United States and Europe.
Margaret Rockefeller Strong (1897–1985) was an American heiress.
David Lichine was a Russian-American ballet dancer and choreographer. He had an international career as a performer, ballet master, and choreographer, staging works for many ballet companies and for several Hollywood film studios.
The Ballets Russes was an itinerant ballet company based in Paris that performed between 1909 and 1929 throughout Europe and on tours to North and South America. The company never performed in Russia, where the Revolution disrupted society. After its initial Paris season, the company had no formal ties there.
John Taras was an American ballet master, repetiteur, and choreographer.
Maina Gielgud is a former British ballet dancer and a veteran ballet administrator. She was artistic director of the Australian Ballet from 1983 to 1996. She had a twenty-year career as a dancer in Europe and the United Kingdom. Gielgud directed the Royal Danish Ballet between 1997 and 1999. Until 2005, she held the artistic associate position at the Houston Ballet. She is a daughter of Lewis Gielgud and actress Zita Gordon and niece of actor John Gielgud.
The Original Ballet Russe was a ballet company established in 1931 by René Blum and Colonel Wassily de Basil as a successor to the Ballets Russes, founded in 1909 by Sergei Diaghilev. The company assumed the new name Original Ballet Russe after a split between de Basil and Blum. De Basil led the renamed company, while Blum and others founded a new company under the name Ballet Russe de Monte-Carlo. It was a large scale professional ballet company which toured extensively in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, the United States, and Central and South America. It closed down operations in 1947.
Marjorie Tallchief is a former ballerina of the Osage Nation. She is the younger sister of the late prima ballerina, Maria Tallchief, and was the first Native American to be named "première danseuse étoile" in the Paris Opera Ballet.
Bartholin is a Danish family name.
Françoise Adret was a French ballet dancer, teacher, choreographer, and company director.
Irina Nijinska was a Russian-Polish ballet dancer who performed with the company of Ida Rubinstein; in the Théatre de la Danse Nijinska; the Ballets Russes of Col. de Basil; the Polish Ballet, and other troupes. She spent much of her later life promoting the work of her mother, Bronislava Nijinska, the dancer and choreographer.
The Ecole Supérieure de Danse de Cannes Rosella Hightower is a dance school created by the prima ballerina Rosella Hightower in 1961 in Cannes, on the French Riviera. The school is currently a very important dance training center in ballet, contemporary dance and modern jazz.
Monique Loudières is a French ballet dancer and teacher. A member of the Paris Opera Ballet from 1967, she received the status of principal dancer in 1982. After retiring from the stage in 1996, she continued to accept invitations until 2010. From 2001 to 2008, she was artistic director at the École supérieure de danse de Cannes Rosella Hightower.
Jelko Yuresha was a British ballet dancer and choreographer. He and his wife, ballerina Belinda Wright, toured internationally as “Ambassadors of Dance” for the United Kingdom from 1966 to 1977.
Nina Vyroubova was a French ballerina, considered one of the finest of her generation.