Advanced Arts Ballets, Inc. Presents The Ballet Theatre
New York: The Ballet Theatre, 1940. First Edition, First Printing.
Quarto (12 3/8 x 8 7/8 inches; 313 x 225 mm),  pages, in stapled pictorial wrappers (soft cover).
Scarce program for the first season of the company that is now known as American Ballet Theatre. The profusely illustrated program for 1940 includes synopses of 17 ballets, profiles of choreographers and dancers, stage designs, and an introduction by Lucius Beebe. Laid in is a single page announcing that The Red Poppy would be performed in place of Etude on April 13 (although this would not have been 1940).
Ballets that first year included La Fille Mal Gardée, Giselle, Swan Lake, Les Sylphides, Carnaval, Death and the Maiden, Judgment of Paris, Voices of Spring, Ode to Glory, Peter and the Wolf, and a "ballet play" by William Saroyan called "The Great American Goof." Cover illustration by Nicholas de Molas.
In 1939, a group of dancers, choreographers, and producers associated with Russian-born Mikhail Mordkin's ballet company joined together to establish a new dance company they called Ballet Theatre. The company premiered in New York on January 11, 1940, to great critical acclaim. Its repertory included not only 19th-century classical ballets, but also works by living choreographers, including Bronislava Nijinska from Russia, Antony Tudor from England, and Eugene Loring from the United States. Ballet Theatre was renamed American Ballet Theatre in 1957. (Reference: Library of Congress, 2015 exhibition).
OCLC shows about a dozen institutional holdings of this program, but it's very scarce in the antiquarian book trade.
An excellent, well-illustrated overview of the first year of America's premier ballet company.
CONDITION: Soiling to wrappers, a bit of rusting to staples. A Very Good or better copy. Item #2544