AT THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS
AN EVENING WITH GLORIA CONTRERAS ON THE OCCASION OF HER NEW BOOK 'WHAT I
LEARNED FROM BALANCHINE: DIARY OF A CHOREOGRAPHER'
Monday May 18, 6 PM
Bruno Walter Auditorium, NY Public Library at Lincoln Center, Amsterdam
Avenue between 65th & 66th Streets
Admission is free - first come, first served
For further information, please call 212/870-1630 or visit
Gloria Contreras, a native of Mexico and founder/director of Mexico's
preeminent ballet company, the Taller Coreografico de la UNAM, and a student of
George Balanchine in the late 1950s, will appear at the NY Public Library
for the Performing Arts to discuss her new book What I Learned from
Balanchine: Diary of a Choreographer, (published in Autumn 2008 by Jorge Pinto
Books, Inc.) Monday May 18 at 6 PM.
The program will feature reminiscences by Gloria Contreras and her
friends, who will discuss her career from her New York days with Balanchine to her
position as Mexico's leading choreographer of classical dance. The book
itself consists of a diary in which Ms. Contreras recounts her experiences
as a student at SAB, studying with George Balanchine and other teachers,
in the late 1950s. Always drawn to choreography, Ms. Contreras initially
showed Balanchine two ballets which she created for her own group, thereby
establishing a relationship with the great choreographer, who followed her
work, and mentored and advised the young Contreras. A few of her early
ballets were also performed by New York City Ballet.
What I Learned From Balanchine presents the joys, dreams, and challenges
of a young artist coming of age, and the invaluable lessons she learned from
one of ballet's greatest choreographers. The book also provides glimpses
of various icons of ballet and modern dance, including Alicia Alonso,
Martha Graham, and Lincoln Kirstein, and offers a snapshot of the New York dance
world in the late 1950s.
Gloria Contreras is founder/director of Mexico's foremost company, The
Taller Coreografico de la UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico).
In 1957, Contreras left Mexico City to spend time in New York, where she
studied at SAB and became a disciple of George Balanchine. During her New
York years (1958-70), she created her first works, El mercado, The Wise and
Foolish Virgins, Ocho por radio, Vitalitas, and Huapango.
Reviewing the Joffrey Ballet's performance of Contreras's Huapango in
1966, Clive Barnes lauded the work for its "tequila-like potency," adding "Ms.
Contreras, using just four dancers in simple leotards, no scenery and no
story, manages to keep her dancers joyously afloat...just the four of them
(manage) to fill out the large City Center stage." (The New York Times)
Upon returning to Mexico in 1970, Contreras founded the Taller Coreografico
in Mexico City, which she directs to the present day. The recipient of
numerous awards and honors in her native country as well as abroad,
including Europe and Russia, Contreras was inducted into the Art Academy of Mexico
What I Learned From Balanchine is published in the Books in Translation
series of Jorge Pinto Books Inc. Edited by Daniel Shapiro; translated from
Spanish by Mitchell Snow and Lucinda Gutierrez.
For a copy of What I Learned From Balanchine for review, please contact