Nicholas Magallanes (1922–1977) was a first-generation principal dancer with the New York City Ballet. Along with Jerome Robbins, Francisco Moncion and Maria Tallchief, Magallanes was among the core group of dancers with which George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein formed the New York City Ballet (formerly Ballet Society ) in 1948. Magallanes created the title rôle in Balanchine's " Orpheus " to music by Stravinsky, the ballet that marked the debut of the new company.
Magallanes was born in Camargo, Mexico. He began his ballet studies at Balanchine's School of American Ballet in 1938. Prior to the formation of City Ballet, Magallanes danced with Ballet Caravan and the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo.
More highly regarded for his partnering skills than for his technical virtuosity, Magallanes nonetheless projected a strong personal magnetism on stage. During his career at City Ballet he had leading rôles in Balanchine's "Western Symphony," "Liebeslieder Walzer," "Serenade," "Concerto Barocco," and "The Four Temperaments." He also created the rôles of the poet Arthur Rimbaud in Frederick Ashton's "Illuminations (1950) and the Victim in Jerome Robbins's "The Cage" (1951). He retired from the company in 1976. His last rôle was that of Don Quixote in Balanchine's ballet of the same name, opposite Balanchine's muse Suzanne Farrell. Magallanes died the following year of lung cancer.
In 2013, Magallanes figured as a character in "Nikolai and the Others," a play by Richard Nelson produced by New York's Lincoln Center Theater that depicted a gathering of Russian emigre artists in the 1940s. The play included a scene in which Balanchine choreographs "Orpheus" on Magallanes and Tallchief as Stravinsky looks on.