He found a home at New York City Ballet…
In 1948, at the age of 30, Robbins wrote a fan letter to GEORGE BALANCHINE, offering to perform, choreograph, whatever was needed for the opportunity to work with New York City Ballet (NYCB). To which Balanchine replied, “Come.” Robbins started as a featured dancer, and Balanchine soon revived Prodigal Son expressly for Robbins in the title role. Til Eulenspiegel and Bourée Fantasque were created for Robbins, the latter with his friend and longtime muse Tanaquil Le Clercq.
And a mentor, collaborator and lifelong friend in George Balanchine
Robbins was quickly appointed Associate Artistic Director of NYCB under Balanchine. Robbins’ ballets from this period, including The Guests, Age of Anxiety, The Cage, Afternoon of a Faun, and The Concert (Or, The Perils of Everybody), showcase his flair for drama and storytelling, his energy and inventiveness, and his comfort across a vast range of music and movement styles.
Balanchine and Robbins collaborated on dances for Firebird (1970) and Pulcinella (1972), and Robbins committed the majority of his professional life to ballet through the 1970s and ‘80s, with tremendous and varied contribution to the repertoire. Upon Balanchine’s death in 1983, Peter Martins and Robbins assumed the responsibilities of Co-Ballet Masters in Chief at NYCB.
In his final years, Robbins took a leave of absence from NYCB to stage Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, which recreated the most successful production numbers from his 50-plus year career. Despite failing health, he returned to NYCB in 1998 to restage his Les Noces, a monumental work on a score by Stravinsky. It was his final work in a lifetime dedicated to exploring and advancing the way audiences and dancers experience stories onstage.