A Made in The U.S.A. Genius: Jerome Robbins, master choreographer

Jerome Robbins, master choreographer

The elegant curtain of New York City's Metropolitan Opera House rose to reveal a seedy-looking bar. A drummer rapped out four crisp rim shots, and three dancers in bell-bottom trousers charged onstage. One of them was a 25-year-old whiz kid from Weehawken, N.J., starring in the premiere of his first ballet, a breezy tale of girl-crazy sailors on shore leave that he called Fancy Free. At a time when most Americans thought ballet meant women in tutus pretending to be birds, Fancy Free looked more like Fred Astaire than Swan Lake, and the music, a raucously jazzy score by another boy...

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