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Maria Calegari, an Italian New Yorker, began her life of dance at the age of four in Bayside, Queens with Jeanette Du Pons. At age ten she studied with Florence and Victor Reilley who prepared her for an audition at the School of American Ballet. At fourteen she received a full scholarship which included a chance to attend Professional Childrens School in New York City.
In 1974, at the age of seventeen, she was chosen by George Balanchine to join the New York City Ballet. It was then she received her love of teaching the Balanchine style and technique taking Mr. B's classes daily. Miss Calegari became a principal dancer in 1983 and has performed over forty soloist roles in Mr. Balanchine's ballets. Some of her favorites include Agon, Apollo, Symphony in C, Divertimento #15, Swan Lake, Mozartiana, Nutcracker and Serenade. She also worked extensively with Jerome Robbins creating exciting new ballets like Glass Pieces, The Gershwin Concerto and Antique Epigraphs. She appeared in major roles in most of Mr. Robbins well-known ballets. Other notable choreographers worked with are Twyla Tharp, Peter Martins, Helgi Tomasson, Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, Robert LaFosse and Bart Cook. She credits her understanding of how to be a Ballerina by watching other ballerinas like Patricia McBride, Suzanne Farrell and Karin Von Aroldingen, and from having such wonderful teachers like Susan Hendl, Rosemary Dunleavy, Suki Schorer and Stanley Williams. Miss Calegari traveled throughout the world with the NYCB and has appeared on television in Dance In America and as Titania in the Live from Lincoln Center broadcast of Mr. Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Her work in the 1993 Balanchine Celebration may be viewed at Lincoln Center's Library for the Performing Arts.
Since leaving the NYCB in 1994, Miss Calegari appeared in 1995 at the Kennedy Center in Suzanne Farrell Stages Balanchine, dancing Monumentum/Movements and Tzigane. In 1996, she joined the ranks of répètituers for the George Balanchine Trust helping to stage Balanchine's ballets. In 1997 - 1998 she served as artist-in-residence for the Richmond Ballet, both teaching and performing. Most recently her teaching has been influenced by the work of Marika Molnar and Tina Bernal, who have taught her how to create a safe and physically sound ballet class. Miss Calegari enjoys teaching and coaching students and professionals at all levels. Her diverse range of teaching brought her this past year many new experiences. From teaching at SUNY Purchase, to setting a Balanchine ballet for the Stuttgart Ballet, to choreography for the Linda Duci Dance Ensemble and to Salt Lake City to give a workshop for Childrens Ballet Theater.
This past summer Miss Calegari taught at the American Academy of Ballet at Vasser College, Studio Maestro in New York City and Dance for Joy, in Mohegan Lake, N.Y.
In the coming year, Miss Calegari will be continuing her work for the George Balanchine Trust and will be an Artist - in - Residence at the Conservatory of Performing Arts.
Miss Calegari and Bart Cook, her partner for many years at New York City Ballet, have recently launched a web-based personal consulting service for dancers, Talking Technique.