The genius of Balanchine: A visual breakdown

Dancers from the NYC Ballet demonstrate classical ballet steps pre- and post-Balanchine, in a master class with Peter Martins

If you're a fan of ballet, there's a good chance you know the name George Balanchine.

"You can't go to the ballet in the United States and not, if you love it, be a Balanchine fan," says Lesley Stahl. "Because he is American ballet."

Balanchine co-founded the New York City Ballet in 1948 and he proceeded to reinvent the art, right down to the way a foot lands, over several decades.

On the 60 Minutes broadcast this week, Stahl profiled Balanchine's successor, Peter Martins, who is dedicated to preserving the artistic approach of George Balanchine at the New York City Ballet.

But how exactly did Balanchine change specific techniques? During the 60 Minutes shoot, Stahl convinced Martins to give us a master class in proper Balanchine form.

"He wanted more. More, more, more!" said Martins. That means more speed, more height, and more athleticism.

To demonstrate, Martins plucked two lovely dancers from his company to show Stahl and the 60 Minutes cameras classical ballet moves, pre- and post-Balanchine. The demo, in the video player above, is a rare treat for a ballet fan like Lesley Stahl, who studied ballet as a child -- and it's a great primer for anyone who wants to get more out of a trip to the ballet.

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