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Interview with Peter Deign

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Interview with Peter Deign
Poole, Patricia
Deign, Peter (Interviewee)
Hardy, Camille (Interviewer)
George Balanchine Foundation (Presenter)

Popular Balanchine

Dates / Origin
Date Created: 2002-08-01
Table of Contents
Disc 1 (40 min.). Peter Deign discusses performing in the Broadway musical Courtin' time; his training as a dancer in the South Bronx, changing his name from Edward Peter Nielsen to Peter Deign when he joined the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo; about the Dance Magazine photograph from Jan. 1951 with Deign and Audrey Keane; performing with Audrey Keane; first working with Balanchine for the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in Serenade; a memory of Balanchine; getting the job for Courtin' time because he already danced with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo; remembering the audition process; Balanchine creating the opening number in Boston and playing the drums when they presented this dance to the producers; remembering the movement for the opening number; Camile Hardy reading aloud the list of dancers in the cast; having no memory of the women's dance for A man never marries a wife; Hardy reading the lyrics for the Wishbone song and waltz which was described as a choreographed Pin the tail on the donkey; Balanchine being intrigued with homespun quality of this show since it was the first time he had worked with the Americana theme; the movement and costumes for Chose your partner, the section Deign danced with Patricia Poole, along with several corrections he personally remembers getting from Balanchine; working with Balanchine as he created folk dances and a comparison to Agnes de Mille; the difference in Balanchine when creating ballets opposed to folk dances; Balanchine developing music with Dorothea Freitag (pianist); and Balanchine giving classes. |||| Disc 2 (40 min.). Deign describing a typical day during rehearsals and class given by Balanchine; about Johnny and the puckwudgies, with the puckwudgies performing on pointe, Deign being a swing and having to partner different dancers every night, and a description of the costumes worn; Camille Hardy reading the lyrics to Johnny ride the sky; about the Act II opening ballet number and what Deign thought of it; Balanchine using tap dance elements in the Sensible thing to do number; a story about the potential old maids; discussion of the Maine will remember the Maine production number with a story about dividing the men in half; Deign's favorite things about working with Balanchine; personal story about asking Balanchine to attend a drag show in Burlesque house in Boston; Balanchine working on Courtin' time at the same time he was having the first New York City Ballet (NYCB) Chicago tour and first NYCB summer season; Balanchine being in Boston to continue choreographing but not going to Philadelphia; Lloyd Nolan leaving show and the union giving them extra tryout; how Deign felt about the dancers; the difference between dancing on Broadway and dancing in a ballet company; auditioning for Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo while still performing four shows a day at the Roxy; performing with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and the roles he danced; his experience dancing in Song of Norway; listing the numbers in which he danced; remembering the big ballet scene with some of the staging and movements. |||| Disc 3 (ca. 14 min.). Continuing with the ballet scene from Song of Norway with Deign describing his placement downstage to perform jetés; the rehearsal process; describing the dance numbers and scenes; the most important thing Deign learned from Balanchine and watching Balanchine perform in the 1929 film, The dark red roses; final thoughts about Courtin' time with comments about what he thought of as the best song, Golden moment; and concludes with Deign reciting a poem.
Library locations
Jerome Robbins Dance Division
Shelf locator: *MGZIDVD 5-7310
Balanchine, George
Deign, Peter
Keane, Audrey
Poole, Patricia
Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo
Musicals. Courtin' time
Wright, Robert, 1914-2005. Song of Norway
Venue: Videotaped during an interview at the Balanchine Foundation, New York, N.Y., on Aug. 1, 2002.
Acquisition: Gift; George Balanchine Foundation. NN-PD
Physical Description
Extent: 3 videocassettes (DVCam) (20 min.) : sound, color ; 1/4 in.
Type of Resource
Moving image
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b19683024
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 065a0be0-f79b-0130-9c67-3c075448cc4b
Rights Statement
The copyright and related rights status of this item has been reviewed by The New York Public Library, but we were unable to make a conclusive determination as to the copyright status of the item. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use.

Item timeline of events

  • 2002: Created
  • 2018: Digitized
  • 2020: Found by you!
  • 2021

MLA Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "Interview with Peter Deign" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 2002.

Chicago/Turabian Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "Interview with Peter Deign" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed November 28, 2020.

APA Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. (2002). Interview with Peter Deign Retrieved from

Wikipedia Citation

<ref name=NYPL>{{cite web | url= | title= (moving image) Interview with Peter Deign, (2002)|author=Digital Collections, The New York Public Library |accessdate=November 28, 2020 |publisher=The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations}}</ref>

Interview with Peter Deign