The Dead White Men Choreographers Society

There’s a special society in heaven (or?) for the white male choreographers of yore. These special few shaped the lives of so many (women) and enforced the (hierarchical) systems of dance we all take for granted today. Who were these giants of the field? What were they really like?

Stance on Dance has put together stats on some of your favorite dead white dude choreographers. We present these stats mostly courtesy Wikipedia. Know your history, or be doomed to repeat it (oh wait… we already are)!

Dead White Men composite



Born: 1818

Died: 1910

Number of ballets choreographed: Over 50

Number of other men’s wives he seduced: At least two

Number of countries he had to leave for seducing other men’s wives: Two

Biggest hit: The Sleeping Beauty

Hits he didn’t actually choreograph but that are commonly attributed to him: Swan Lake (choreographed by Julius Reisinger) and The Nutcracker (choreographed, at least in part, by Lev Ivanov)

Biggest flop: Conveniently lost to history

Statements he modestly wrote in his diary: “I am amazing.” “I can state that I created a ballet company of which everyone said: St. Petersburg has the greatest ballet in all Europe.”

Statement he wrote in his diary to describe a lead dancer: ” … that nasty little swine.”

Number of children: Nine, by two wives and a “liaison”

Number of pet gerbils: At least four, probably more



Born: 1904

Died: 1983

Number of works choreographed: Over 400

Nickname: Father of American Ballet

Number of wives: Four plus an “unofficial” one

Number of dancers he was romantically linked to: Lost count

Lamest thing he did to a dancer he had a crush on 55 years younger than him who wisely married someone else: Caused her to leave the company

Most questionable quote: “The ballet is a purely female thing; it is a woman, a garden of beautiful flowers, and man is the gardener.”

“Type”: Tall, leggy and very thin

Favorite snack: Nachos

Would he share them with his dancers? Umm… no.



Born: 1918

Died: 1998

Number of works choreographed: Over 450

Biggest hit: West Side Story (the Broadway musical)

Productions he was fired from: West Side Story (the movie)

Political leanings: Sell-out Communist

Blackmail the HUAC had on him: Threatened to out him as gay

General temperament: Angry

Number of times he was so busy yelling at his dancers he accidentally fell into the orchestra pit: One

Number of dancers/actors/musicians/composers he scared with his temper: Lost count

Number of stress balls he squeezed to shreds: 832



Born: 1919

Died: 2009

Number of works choreographed: Over 200

Collaborative and romantic partner: John Cage

Marriages he broke apart: John Cage’s previous marriage

Length of time Merce gave John the silent treatment when they bickered: 4’33”

Favorite way to choreograph: Used the I Ching to generate random movements

Favorite way to grocery shop: Used the I Ching to buy random ingredients


3 Responses to “The Dead White Men Choreographers Society”

  1. cyb

    cringey unsourced unacademic and pointless
    except the 4:33 joke harhar

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