Music: Homegrown

The director of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo shook his head violently over the new ballet. Said he: "You might as well put a mustache on a Rubens." He tried to get Rodeo—and the American woman who composed it—thrown out of the company.

The director failed, and a few nights later, the Ballet Russe presented Rodeo at the Met. To almost everyone's surprise, Manhattan thought it was wonderful.

That night in 1942, Choreographer Agnes George de Mille got her first taste of success. Last week, when the Ballet Russe presented Rodeo again, with Agnes dancing as the Cowgirl, the boots and blue-jeans...

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