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Jerome Robbins
Biographical Information

Birth Date:October 11, 1918
Astrology Sign:Libra
Chinese Sign:Horse - Yang
Birth Name:Jerome Rabinowitz
Birth Place:New York City
Died Date:July 29, 1998

Occupation:choreographer, dance company founder/Director

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Jerome Robbins

Biography:Jerome Robbins (October 11, 1918-July 29, 1998) was an American choreographer whose work has included everything from classical ballet to contemporary musical theater. Among the numerous stage productions he worked on were West Side Story, High Button Shoes, Wonderful Town, Bells Are Ringing and Fiddler on the Roof.

On screen, Robbins recreated his stage dances for The King and I (1956) and shared the Best Director Oscar with Robert Wise for the film version of West Side Story (1961). That same year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honored him with a special award for his choreographic achievements on film. By the end of his life in 1998, he would be awarded 5 Tony Awards, 2 Academy Awards, a Kennedy Center Honor, the National Medal of the Arts, the French Legion of Honor, three Honorary Doctorates, and an Honorary Membership in the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

Robbins was born "Jerome Wilson Rabinowitz" on October 11, 1918, exactly one month before the end of World War I, in the Jewish Maternity Hospital in the heart of Manhattan's Lower East side - a neighborhood populated by many immigrants. The Rabinowitz family lived in a large apartment house at 51 East 97th at the northeast corner of Madison Avenue. His parents, Lena and Harry Rabinowitz, favored a Jewish hospital because it provided kosher food and Yiddish-speaking doctors. “Jerry” to loved ones, his middle name reflected his parent's patriotic enthusiasm for the current president. Rabinowitz translates to “the son of a rabbi” - a name Robbins never liked, as it marked him as the son of an immigrant. In his latter life he decided that he was gay.

In the early 1920s, the Rabinowitz family moved to Weehawken, New Jersey. 10 years prior, Fred and Adele Astaire had lived there briefly as children only a block away from one of Robbins' boyhood homes. His father and uncle opened “Comfort Corset Company,” and this was a unique venture, especially in the family, which had many show business connections including vaudeville performers and theater owners. Robbins, however, was headed away from business and into the arts.

He began college studying Chemistry at New York University (NYU), but dropped out after a year for financical reasons, as well as to pursue dance. He studied at the New Dance League, learning ballet with Ella Daganova, Antony Tudor and Eugene Loring, modern dance at the New Dance League, Spanish dancing with the famed Helen Veola, folk dance with Yeichi Nimura, and dance composition with Bessie Schoenberg.

By 1939, he was dancing in the chorus of such Broadway shows as Great Lady, The Straw Hat Revue and Keep of the Grass, which George Balanchine choreographed. Robbins was also dancing and choreographing at Camp Tamiment in the Poconos of Pennsylvania. Here he choreographed many dramatic pieces with controversial ideas about race wars, lynching, and war. But in 1940, he turned his back (albeit temporarily) on the theater and joined the Ballet Theatre (later known as the American Ballet Theatre). From 1941-44, Robbins was a soloist with the company, gaining notice for his Hermes in Helen of Troy, the Moor in Petrouchka and Benvolio in Romeo and Juliet.

At the same time, Broadway dance was changing. Agnes de Mille had brought not just ballet to Oklahoma, but had made dance an integral part of the drama of the musical piece. Challenged, Robbins choreographed and performed in Fancy Free, a ballet about sailors at liberty, at the Metropolitan Opera as part of the Ballet Theatre season in 1944. Ballet Theater commissioned the piece once under the direction of Lucia Chase and John Alden Talbot because another was taken out of the season's lineup. Oliver Smith, the set designer and collaborator on Fancy Free knew Leonard Bernstein and eventually Robbins and Bernstein met to work on the music. Though neither of the two knew this would be the first of many collaborative efforts, Fancy Free was a success and laid the foundation for On The Town.

Later that year, he choreographed and created On the Town, a musical based on the ballet, which effectively launched his Broadway career as a dance director. His first assignment was Billion Dollar Baby (1945) and two years later he won his first Tony Award for choreographing Nanette Fabray and Phil Silvers in High Button Shoes.

During this period, Robbins continued to create dances for the Ballet Theatre, alternating between the two for the better part of the next two decades. Barely a year went by without a new Robbins ballet and a new musical choreographed by Robbins. With George Balanchine he choreographed Jones Beach at the City Center Theater in 1950, and directed and choreographed Irving Berlin's Call Me Madam, starring Ethel Merman.

In 1951, Robbins created the now celebrated dance sequences in Rodgers and Hammerstein's The King & I (including the children's ballet, The Small House of Uncle Thomas and the celebrated Shall We Dance? waltz between the two leads). That same year, he created The Cage for the New York City Ballet, with which he was now associated. Robbins collaborated with George Abbott on The Pajama Game (1954), which launched the career of Shirley MacLaine, worked on the 1955 Mary Martin vehicle, Peter Pan (recreated for the small screen in 1955, 1956 and 1960) and directed and co-choreographed (with Bob Fosse) Bells Are Ringing (1956), starring Judy Holliday. In 1957, he was involved with a show that some feel is one of his crowning achievements: West Side Story.

With its exuberant ballets and lively dances set in and around NYC's of Hells Kitchen, West Side Story is now hailed as a classic. West Side Story changed the face of Broadway with its songs and dance numbers, really telling the emotional story behind these characters. This musical also marked the first collaboration with Robbins and a young Stephen Sondheim, who wrote the lyrics. The writing team that included Arthur Laurents and Leonard Bernstein worked very well together, only disagreeing on minor issues such as the decision to make Maria die or not. The four aided one another along in their respective areas of expertise. Robbins took the job of director very seriously and expected the rest of the cast members to as well. As a way for the actors to really indulge in each of their roles, Robbins did not allow cast members of the opposite gangs (Jets and Sharks) to converse during any of the rehearsal process. Many of the actors found this idea innovative and even though it proved difficult, the end result on stage was all worth it. The original Broadway production cast starred Carol Lawrence as Maria, Larry Kent as Tony, and Chita Rivera as Anita. Although it opened on Broadway to mostly great reviews, it was overshadowed by Meredith Willson's The Music Man at that years Tony Awards. West Side Story did, however, earn Robbins his second Tony Award for choreography. His streak of hits continued with Gypsy (1959), another Ethel Merman vehicle. By 1962, he had turned to straight play directing with Arthur Kopit's Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mama's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feelin' So Sad. In 1964, Robbins won matching Tony Awards for his direction and choreography of Fiddler on the Roof, one of the most successful musicals of all time that for many years also held the record as the longest running Broadway musical. Never deserting the ballet, he continued to choreograph and stage productions for both the Joffrey Ballet and the New York City Ballet into the 1970s.

Robbins became ballet master of the New York City Ballet in 1972 and worked almost exclusively in classical dance throughout the next decade, pausing only to stage revivals of West Side Story (1980) and Fiddler on the Roof (1981). In 1981, his Chamber Dance Company toured the People's Republic of China.

The eighties saw an increased presence on TV as NBC aired Live From Studio 8H: An Evening of Jerome Robbins' Ballets with Members of the New York City Ballets and a retrospective of Robbins' choreography aired on PBS in a 1986 installment of Dance in America. The latter led to his creating the anthology show Jerome Robbins' Broadway in 1989 which recreated the most successful production numbers from his 50-plus year career. Starring Jason Alexander as the narrator, the show included stagings of cut numbers like Irving Berlin's Mr. Monotony and well-known ones like the Tradition number from Fiddler on the Roof. For his efforts, he earned a fifth Tony Award.

While Robbins' career seemed to be a charmed one, it was not without a period of difficulty. In the early

Achievements: (Filmography)
Fiddler on the Roof (1972)
West Side Story (1962)

Chinese Horoscope for Jerome Robbins
Includes characteristics and Vices
Jerome Robbins's Chinese Horoscope
Chinese Year: February 11, 1918 - January 31, 1919
Birthday: October 11, 1918

The Horse is a Yang,
and is the Seventh sign of the Chinese horoscope.


Personality and Character Cards:
Personality and character cards are identical!

Jerome Robbins's Personality Tarot Card The Emperor - Personality Card

Birthday: October 11, 1918

Material success, stability, authority and ambition.

This year's Growth Tarot Card
Based on this year's birthday

Jerome Robbins's Growth Tarot Card The Hierophant

Birthday: October 11, 2018

Guidance on religious matters and the need to find spiritual meaning in life.




Portions of famous people database was used with permission from Russell Grant from his book The Book of Birthdays Copyright © 1999, All rights reserved. Certain biographical material and photos licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License, from Wikipedia, which is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.

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