This introductory chapter begins with a description of the May 1920 performance of the ballet, The Magic Flute by two sixteen-year-olds, Georgi Balanchivadze, the future Balanchine, and Lidia Ivanova. It details the hardships suffered by ballet during this period, especially with audiences clamoring for new styles of dance. It also describes close friendship and rising popularity of the two dancers, which ended in tragedy in the spring of 1924 with the disappearance of Lidia during a boating trip. The chapter then provides an overview of the main themes covered in this book.
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