Balanchine was born Giorgi Melitonovitch Balanchivadze in St Petersburg Russia on January 22, 1904. His mother pushed him to try out as a dancer and he discovered he had a talent. He was accepted to the Imperial Ballet School. He went on to the Petrograd Conservatory. He was soon choreographing his own ballets. In 1924 he fled to Paris.
Perhaps the most influential dance personage of the century, George Balanchine was associated mainly with the New York City Ballet, the American company he founded in 1934 and led till his death. His uniquely original choreography and his supremely well-trained dancers set the standard for ballet companies around the world. Some of his most famous ballets include "The Nutcracker," "Agon," "Serenade" and "Apollo." Balanchine also created a number of dances for film and Broadway during the 1930's and 1940's.