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Serenade


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Ballet in one act with choreography by Balanchine and music by Tchaikovsky. Premiered 10 Jun. 1934 by students of the School of American Ballet in a private performance at Felix M. Warburg's estate, White Plains, New York; given its first public performance 8 Dec. 1934, Avery Memorial Theater, Hartford, Connecticut, and its first professional performance, with scenery by Gaston Longchamp and costumes by Jean Lurcat, on 1 Mar. 1935 by American Ballet at Adelphi Theater, New York. This setting of Tchaikovsky's Serenade in C major for String Orchestra (with the 3rd and 4th movements of the score interchanged) is probably the most popular and widely performed of all Balanchine's works. It is essentially a plotless ballet, though romantic images are suggested in its final movement, which evoke earlier ballets such as Swan Lake and Giselle. Its pure dance sections are largely performed by women, reflecting the gender balance of students for whom it was first choreographed, and two moments—when a woman arrives late to take her place amongst the rows of dancers, and when another woman falls to the floor—were famously incorporated from real events which occurred during rehearsal. After 1936 the work was performed without scenery and new costumes were designed for later productions such as those by Karinska, 1964. It has been revived for many companies, including Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo (1940), Paris Opera Ballet (1947), San Francisco Ballet (1952), Royal Danish Ballet (1957), La Scala (1960), Royal Ballet (1964), Australian Ballet (1970), Berlin Opera Ballet (1970), Hungarian State Opera Ballet (1977), Dance Theatre of Harlem (1979), Matsuyama Ballet (1982), the Kirov (1998), and the Bolshoi (2007).

Subjects: Dance.


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