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Nicholas Magallanes (November 27, 1922 – May 2, 1977) was a principal dancer and charter member of the New York City Ballet.[1] Along with Francisco Moncion, Maria Tallchief, and Tanaquil Le Clercq, Magallanes was among the core group of dancers with which George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein formed Ballet Society, the immediate predecessor of the New York City Ballet.[2]

Nicholas Magallanes
Maria Tallchief and Nicholas Magallanes in The Nutcracker 1954.png
Nicholas Magallanes partnered with Maria Tallchief as the Sugar Plum Fairy performing The Nutcracker (1954)
BornNovember 27, 1922
DiedMay 2, 1977
North Merrick, Long Island, New York, US  United States
OccupationDanseur
Years active1939–1976
External video
You may watch Nicholas Magallanes dancing the role of "The Shepherd" in Gian Carlo Menotti's opera Amahl and the Night Visitors in 1951 here

Contents

Early life and trainingEdit

Magallanes was born in Santa Rosalia de Camargo, now known as Camargo City, in the eastern part of the Mexican state of Chihuahua. He moved with his parents to the United States when he was five years old, first to New Jersey and then to the Lower East Side of New York City. When he was sixteen years old, he was spotted at the New York Boys' Club on East Tenth Street by Pavel Tchelitchev, who recommended him to Lincoln Kirstein as a scholarship student at the fledgling School of American Ballet.[3] A handsome youth, with dark Latin looks and a strong, muscular physique, he auditioned for Balanchine and was accepted into the school in 1938. Under the tutelage of Balanchine and Pierre Vladimiroff, he soon began to show promise as a performer. He first appeared on stage in American Ballet Caravan's production of A Thousand Times Neigh, a tribute to the automobile, at the Ford pavilion at the 1939 New York World's Fair. Thus began his lifelong association with the enterprises of Balanchine and Kirstein.[4]

Professional careerEdit

In 1940, Magallanes danced briefly with the Littlefield Ballet, directed by Catherine Littlefield, and toured South America the following year with American Ballet Caravan.[5] Back in the States, he appeared on Broadway in Balanchine's dances in two musical shows, The Merry Widow (1943) and Song of Norway (1944).[6] On Broadway he also appeared in Ruth Page's dances in Music in My Heart (1947).[7] Earlier in the decade he performed in La Vie Parisienne (1942) to the music of Jacques Offenbach.[8] He then danced with Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo (1943–1946), when Balanchine was ballet master.[9] During this time he collaborated with Balanchine to create several roles including: The Poet in La sonnambula (The Night Shadow), Cleónete in Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme and Jean de Brienne in Raymonda.[10] Subsequently, he danced with Balanchine's Ballet Society (1946–1948). From 1948 until shortly before his death in 1977, he was a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet.[11]

Roles createdEdit

This is a selected list. Choreography is by George Balanchine unless otherwise noted. The primary source of information is The Balanchine Catalogue.[12][13]

 
Maria Tallchief and Nicholas Magallanes in The Nutcracker 1954 lift

Other rolesEdit

Besides the many original roles that he created, Magallanes danced in almost every ballet in the New York City Ballet repertory. He was closely associated with Balanchine's Serenade, Concerto Barocco, Symphony in C, and The Four Temperaments. [16] Along with Orpheus, with Magallanes in the title role, Concerto Barocco and Symphony in C were on the program of the inaugural performance of the New York City Ballet on October 11, 1948 at the New York City Center of Music and Drama.[17][18] [19] After almost thirty years, his last appearance with the company was in 1976, in the mime role of Don Quixote in Balanchine's ballet of the same name (Don Quixote).[20][21]

Television and filmEdit

 
Three Kings and Amahl Amahl and the Night Visitors 1958

Nicholas Magallanes' talents also extended beyond the ballet stage into the realm of television and film. In 1951 he appeared with Tanaquil Le Clercq in the CBS TV special Premier.[22] He also danced in the live premier of the first opera composed for television in America – Amahl and the Night Visitors on the debut of the Hallmark Hall of Fame show for the NBC network in the role of the Dancing Shepherd (1951).[23] In later years he was also featured on several other broadcasts including: Camera Three for CBS as Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake (1956), Omnibus in A Midwinter Night's Dream (1961) and episodes of The Bell Telephone Hour for NBC (1962–1964).[24] His performances on film included a collaboration with Tanaquil Le Clercq dancing La Valse (1951) and with Louis Falco in a production of Dionysus in the role of Pentheus (1963).[25][26] In 1967 he also collaborated with Suzanne Farrell, Edward Villella and Francisco Moncion in Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream dancing the role of Lysander.[27][28][29]

Technique and styleEdit

 
New York City Center
NYC Center auditorium 2008

Never a virtuoso, Magallanes had a secure place as one of the most reliable partners in the company, often being paired with Maria Tallchief. In one notable instance, he saved the opening night performance of Balanchine's elaborate production of The Nutcracker on February 2, 1954. Balanchine had choreographed the grand pas de deux for Tallchief and André Eglevsky, but at the eleventh hour Eglevsky injured his ankle and was unable to perform. With no understudy on standby, Magallanes learned the technically challenging part in one day's rehearsal and danced the Cavalier of the Sugar Plum Fairy to great acclaim.[30][31]

Magallanes was also a dancer-actor of unique lyric gifts. A slender man. with noble bearing and expressive features, he embodied the Balanchinian archetype of the yearning poet-lover, bringing a special romantic grace and fervor to the melancholy heroes of Serenade,La Valse, and La Sonnambula.[32] His dramatic performance as Orpheus, opposite Francisco Moncion as the Dark Angel and Maria Tallchief as Eurydice, is considered definitive and has never been surpassed. A stunning set of photographs of the trio by George Platt Lynes suggests the drama of their interrelationsips.[33][34]

Personal lifeEdit

Called "Nicky" by everyone who knew him, Magallanes was very well liked by his colleagues. He was an affable, friendly person, with a ready smile. One of his favorite pastimes was playing cards with other company members. It was not uncommon to see him and others at rest or on tour seated in a group playing a card game. He never married, and no long-term romantic attachment is known. He died of lung cancer at his home in North Merrick, Long Island. He was only 54 years old.[35]

Post mortemEdit

In 2013, Magallanes figured as a character in Nikolai and the Others, a play by Richard Nelson produced by the Lincoln Center Theater and presented at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater in New York. Depicting a gathering of Russian éemigré artists in the 1940s, the play includes a scene in which Balanchine choreographs Orpheus on Magallanes and Tallchief as Stravinsky looks on. Magallanes and Tallchief were played by Michael Rosen and Natalia Alonso; Balanchine was portrayed by Michael Cerveris. The play had a short run and was not a critical success.[36]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Horst Koegler, "Magallanes, Nicholas," in The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Ballet, 2d ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982)
  2. ^ Lynn Garafola with Eric Foner, eds. Dance for a City: Fifty Years of the New York City Ballet (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999).
  3. ^ Larry Kaplan and Maria Tallchief, Maria Tallchief: America's Prima Ballerina (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2003)
  4. ^ Anne Murphy, "Magallanes, Nicholas," in International Encyclopedia of Dance, edited by Selma Jeanne Cohen and others (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998).
  5. ^ The New York Times - Nicholas Magallanes, Dancer, 54, City Ballet's First Orpheus in '48 on nytimes.com
  6. ^ Nicholas Magallanes on ibdb.com
  7. ^ Nicholas Magallanes on ibdb.com
  8. ^ Nicholas Magallanes on ibdb.com
  9. ^ The New York Times - Nicholas Magallanes, Dancer, 54, City Ballet's First Orpheus in '48 on nytimes.com
  10. ^ The New York Times - Nicholas Magallanes, Dancer, 54, City Ballet's First Orpheus in '48 on nytimes.com
  11. ^ The New York Times Obituary - Nicholas Magallanes, Dancer, 54, City Ballet's First Orpheus in '48 on nytimes.com
  12. ^ The George Balanchine Foundation, www.balanchine.org/balanchine/searchresults.jsp
  13. ^ Nicholas Magallanes as cast in ballets choreographed by George Balanchine The George Balanchine Foundation – Nicholas Magallanes on balanchine.org
  14. ^ Amahl and the Night Visitors – Nicholas Magallanes perfroming on archive.org
  15. ^ The Paley Center for Media – Hallmark Hall of Fame – Amahl and the Night Visitors – Nicholas Magallanes in the cast of dancers on paleycenter.org
  16. ^ The New York Times - Nicholas Magallanes, Dancer, 54, City Ballet's First Orpheus in '48 on nytimes.com
  17. ^ Nancy Reynolds, Repertory in Review: Forty Years of the New York City Ballet (New York: Dial Press, 1977).
  18. ^ The Dance Encyclopedia 1967 pg. 24 - Nicholas Magallanes as Orpheus in the City Center Premier of 1948 on books.google.com
  19. ^ The New York City Ballet. Anatole Chujoy. Knopf Publishing, New York, 1953 p. 207 - Nicholas Magallanes on books.google.com
  20. ^ Arlene Croce, Going to the Dance (New York: Random House, 1982).
  21. ^ The New York Times - Nicholas Magallanes, Dancer, 54, City Ballet's First Orpheus in '48 on nytimes.com
  22. ^ Premier (1951) with Nicholas Magallanes and Tanaquil Le Clercq on imdb.com
  23. ^ The Paley Center for Media – Hallmark Hall of Fame – Amahl and the Night Visitors – Nicholas Magallanes in the cast of dancers on paleycenter.org
  24. ^ Nicholas Magallanes on imdb.org
  25. ^ La Valse Nicholas Magallanes and Tanaquil Le Clercq on imdb.com
  26. ^ Dionysus (1963) Nicholas Magallanes and Louis Falco on imdb.org
  27. ^ Nicholas Magallanes on imdb.com
  28. ^ AMidsummer Night's Dream Nicholas Magallanes, Suzane Farrell, Edward Villella, Francisco Moncion and George balanchine on imdb.org
  29. ^ Nicholas Magallanes in the premier of Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's DreamThe George Balanchine Foundation - A Midsummer Night's Dream - Nicholas Magallanes in the cast playing Lysander on balanchine.org
  30. ^ Kaplan and Tallchief, Maria Tallchief: America's Prima Ballerina (2003).
  31. ^ >Murphy, "Magallanes, Nicholas' in International Encyclopedia of Dance (1998).
  32. ^ Murphy, "Magallanes, Nicholas," in International Encyclopedia of Dance (1998).
  33. ^ George Platt Luynes, Ballet (New York: Twelvetrees Press, 1985).
  34. ^ David Leddick, George Platt Lynes (New York and Berlin: Taschen Books, 2000).
  35. ^ "Nicholas Magallanes, Dancer, 54, City Ballet's First Orpheus, in '48," obituary, New York Times, May 5, 1977.
  36. ^ Ben Brantley, "Famous Russian House Guests, with Plenty of Baggage," review of Nikolai and the Others, by Richard Nelson, New York Times, May 6, 2013.

External linksEdit