Bart Cook was born in Ogden, Utah. He studied classical dance in Salt Lake City under the direction of William Christensen, a pioneer in American dance, and at The School of American Ballet. In 1971, Bart Cook joined the New York City Ballet and shortly after, George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins began to cast him in leading roles. In 1979, he was promoted to principal dancer. Bart Cook specialized in Balanchine’s »black and white« neo-classical roles and is particularly remembered for his contribution to the »Melancholic Variation« in »The Four Temperaments«. Other memorable roles were in »Rubies«, »Bugaku«, »Liebeslieder Walzer«, »Vienna Waltzes«, »Union Jack«, »Square Dance«, »La Sonnambula« and »Variations Pour une Porte et un Soupir«. Furthermore he worked extensively with Jerome Robbins, originating and performing soloist roles in »The Cage«, »Glass Pieces«, »I’m Old Fashioned«, »Dances at a Gathering«, »The Concert«, and »Opus 19«. Bart Cook toured throughout the world with the New York City Ballet and Mikhail Baryshnikov and Friends. In 1993, he appeared in the film version of Balanchine’s »The Nutcracker« as Herr Drosselmeyer and has appeared on television numerous times in »Dance in America« and »Live from Lincoln Center« on PBS.
He was appointed Assistant Ballet Master to Jerome Robbins by George Balanchine in 1980 and served in that capacity until 1993. Since 1987 Bart Cook has been a repetiteur for the George Balanchine Trust and later also for the Jerome Robbins Rights Trust. This difficult and exacting work requires traveling to major companies throughout the world to mount Balanchine’s and Robbins’ ballets. The companies Bart Cook has visited include the Royal Ballet London, Ballet de l’Opéra de Paris, La Scala di Milano, San Francisco, Pacific Northwest and Fort Worth-Dallas Ballet, the Dance Theater of Harlem, Colorado Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Bavarian State Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet and Ballett am Rhein Düsseldorf Duisburg.
It was at the suggestion of Balanchine that Bart Cook began to work also as a choreographer. He created works for The School of American Ballet, the New York City Ballet Education Department, the American Music Festival and the New York City Ballet. In 1996 Bart Cook traveled with his wife – former NYCB ballerina Maria Calegari – to Russia along with several writers and musicians to speak about George Balanchine. More recently, he has served as Chairman of the Faculty for The Richmond Ballet Center for Dance, from 1997 to 1998, and as an Associate Professor at S.U.N.Y. Purchase College from 1998 to 1999.
At the Vienna State Ballet he was responsible for the restaging of Balanchine’s »Stravinsky Violin Concerto« in 2011 and now returns in 2021/22 for the revival of Balanchine’s »Liebeslieder Walzer«.