Support America’s National Ballet Company® DONATE NOW
Born in Greiz, East Germany in 1941, Karin von Aroldingen began her dance studies with Tatiana Gsovsky at the age of eleven. After passing her state exams in dance history and technique, Miss von Aroldingen joined the Frankfurt Ballet as a first soloist. Her former teacher was the new ballet mistress of this company and Miss von Aroldingen was cast in Miss Gsovsky’s remounting of George Balanchine’s The Seven Deadly Sins as the dancing Anna, opposite Lotte Lenya as the singing Anna.
Miss Lenya was so impressed by Miss von Aroldingen’s dancing that she arranged for her to audition for Mr. Balanchine. At that time Balanchine could not take her into the New York City Ballet, but two months later offered her a place in the corps de ballet. She finished her season with the Frankfurt Ballet, moved to New York and joined New York City Ballet in 1962, becoming a soloist in 1967, and a principal dancer in 1972. She remained with the company until her retirement in 1984.
In 1972, she created a leading role in Balanchine’s Stravinsky Violin Concerto, a role in which she has never been equalled. Her other roles with the company included the Siren in Prodigal Son, and leading roles in Serenade, Movements for Piano and Orchestra, Liebeslieder Walzer, Who Cares?, Scherzo a la Russe, Variations pour une Porte et un Soupir (pas de deux), Vienna Waltzes, Kammermusik No.2, and Robert Schumann’s “Davidsbundlertanze”.
Miss von Aroldingen never missed a performance in her career even when pregnant with her daughter. After retiring she continued her association with the New York City Ballet and the School of American Ballet where she taught children’s classes and acted as a scout for potential students. She has also staged Balanchine’s works for other companies, among them Stravinsky Violin Concerto in 1987 for American Ballet Theatre. Upon Balanchine’s death in 1983, she became heir to the rights to several of his ballets. Source:
International Dictionary of Ballet, Volume 2, edited by Martha Bremser and Larraine Nicholas; St. James Press, Detroit, London, Washington, D.C., 1993