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Agnes de Mille

Hoofers and helmers

De Mille brought an American spunk to Broadway dance, expanding upon Balanchine’s use of ballet to develop a musical’s storyline. She had studied ballet and her choreography for Aaron Copland’s “Rodeo” led her to “Oklahoma!” Her work on “Oklahoma!” in 1943 immediately created a vogue for dream ballets. More groundbreaking work followed with her choreography for “Carousel,” “Brigadoon,” “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” “Paint Your Wagon” and “100 in the Shade,” among others. She won two Tonys (“Brigadoon” and “Kwamina”) but never left the world of ballet, working steadily even after a stroke in 1975.

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