Influential twentieth-century dancer, choreographer, and ballet master. He was one of the founders of both the New York City Ballet and the School of American Ballet.
At the age of nine, he began attending the Imperial Ballet School in St. Petersburg, Russia. He later studied music at the Petrograd Conservatory.
In the mid 1950s, he choreographed an updated version of the famous Nutcracker ballet.
He frequently choreographed dances set to the music of Igor Stravinsky.