Rabab Al-Sharif | Staff Writer
Suki Schorer, School of American Ballet faculty member and former Balanchine ballerina, is the 2012 recipient of the Dance Artist Teacher Award.
Chautauquan Kay Logan established the award, which is given to an outstanding educator in the dance world annually, in 1995, because of her respect and appreciation for teachers.
“People do not recognize how important a good teacher is in the lives of so many people,” Logan said in an interview with The Chautauquan Daily in 1997. “Teaching is indeed an art, and it should be more revered than it is in our country.”
Marty Merkley, Institution vice president and director of programming, will present Schorer with the award at tonight’s performance with the Music School Festival Orchestra and Festival Dancers.
In 1959, George Balanchine invited Schorer to join the New York City Ballet, and by 1968, she was made a principal dancer.
She danced principal roles in many of Balanchine’s works including “Apollo,” “Serenade,” “Concerto Barocco, Symphony in C,” “Stars and Stripes,” “Tarantella” and “Jewels.”
Balanchine made solo roles on her in “Don Quixote,” “Raymonda Variations,” “Harlequinade,” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
Schorer, who has been teaching for more than 40 years, began teaching classes at the School of American Ballet while she was still in the corps.
In 1972, Balanchine asked Schorer to reorganize the New York City Ballet lecture demonstration program for public schools, and she developed the format that has been used ever since.
Balanchine showed his confidence in Schorer as a teacher when he appointed her principal teacher of a new class he had organized for advanced girls at SAB.
In 1998, she was appointed to SAB’s Brown Foundation Senior Faculty Chair.
Schorer was awarded the Distinguished Teacher in the Arts Prize of the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts in 1997, and received the Dance Magazine Award in 1998. She became an honorary member of the National Registry of Dance Educators in 2003.
Though the award was created to recognize the unsung teachers in the dance world, Merkley said, the concept of recognizing educators applies to teachers in all fields.
“Teachers have a tremendous impact on students’ lives,” he said. “They can change lives.”
He said the point of the award is to celebrate teachers who give their knowledge and legacy to their students no matter what the subject is.
“Just as (Schorer) is passing on the Balanchine Legacy in the dance world,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about.”