George Balanchine (January 22, 1904 – April 30, 1983), born Giorgi Balanchivadze (Georgian: გიორგი ბალანჩივაძე) in Saint Petersburg, Russia, to a Georgian father and a Russian mother, was one of the 20th century's most famous choreographers, a developer of ballet in the United States, co-founder and balletmaster of New York City Ballet. He was a choreographer known for his musicality; he expressed music with dance and worked extensively with Igor Stravinsky. Thirty-nine of his more than 400 ballets were choreographed to music by Stravinsky.
Balanchine's family comprised largely composers and soldiers. His father was the noted Georgian composer Meliton Balanchivadze (1862–1937), one of the initiators of the Georgian Opera. George's brother, Andria Balanchivadze (1906–1992), became a well-known Georgian composer. As a child, Balanchine was not particularly interested in ballet. His mother loved the arts and had the young Giorgi audition with his sister, who shared her mother's passion for ballet.
Based on his audition, during 1913 (at age nine) Balanchine relocated from rural Finland to Saint Petersburg and was accepted into the Imperial Ballet School, principal school of the