Evening of American Choreography: "Apollo", "In the Night", "Push Comes to Shove"
Music by Igor Stravinsky
Choreography by George Balanchine (1928)
Libretto by Igor Stravinsky
Staging by Francia Russell
Original lighting design by Ronald Bates
Lighting: Vladimir Lukasevich
World premiere: 12 June 1928, Les Ballets Russes de Serge de Diaghilev, Théâtre Sarah Bernhart, Paris
Premiere at the Mariinsky Theatre: 26 January 1992
Premiere of last revived version at the Mariinsky Theatre: 30 April 1998
Running time 35 minutes
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
Apollo, the son of Zeus and Leto, achieves stunning levels of brilliance in dance and citherplaying. He is followed in his sequence of dance by his ever-present companions the three muses – Calliope (the muse of epic poetry), Polyhymnia (the muse of sacred hymns) and Terpsichore (the muse of dance). When Apollo, accompanied by his muses, appears on Mount Olympus everything around him falls silent in adoration of his divine art.
“I regard Apollo as a turning point in my life. In terms of discipline, restraint, the perpetual unison of sound and mood this score was a revelation for me. It seemed to be telling me that I didn’t have to use it all, that I could leave something out. In Apollo and all of the composer’s subsequent music it is impossible to imagine any one given extract to be an extract from another score. Each of them is unique, nothing can be replaced. I examined my own work in the light of that lesson.
It was when studying Apollo that I first understood that the gestures, like tones in music and shades in painting, find certain ‘native ties’ between themselves. Like any group they are subject to their own special laws. And the more solid the artist the more clearly he will understand and consider these laws. Starting with Apollo I developed my choreography along these lines, dictated by these mutual ties.
“Apollo has sometimes been criticised for its ‘lack of theatricality.’ It may be true that there is no vividly expressed story there (although there is a plotline that runs throughout). But its technique is that of classical ballet which in every sense is theatrical, and it is here that we see the start of the literal transformation of sound into visual movement.”
George Balanchine. The Dance Element in Stravinsky’s Music
Age category 12+
"In the Night"
Music by Frédéric Chopin
Choreography by Jerome Robbins (1970)
Staged by Ben Huys
Costumes by Anthony Dowell
Lighting by Jennifer Tipton
Recreated by Nicole Pearce
BOUT THE PRODUCTION
Prior to the appearance of this ballet in the Mariinsky Theatre repertoire, Russian audiences knew Jerome Robbins only as a hypostasis – Robbins-the-choreographer-of-musicals, Robbins-the-Broadway-triumph. Not for his “live” productions, of course, but rather for his film version of Westside Story, which caused a veritable furore in the cinemas of the Soviet Union. In 1992, the Mariinsky Theatre brought another Robbins to the country – Robbins the lyricist and the intellectual, one of the two leading figures at New York City Ballet. The man who took Chopin’s nocturnes and in 1970 created In the Night – a short ballet for three couples. Initially, they appear on stage in turn, while in the finale they all dance at the same time. Each of the couples offers their own version of the dialogue between man and woman – and, impeccably reproducing the choreographic scene, all the performers bring their own ideas of paired relationships to these dialogues. The good-natured coquetry and the claims of divine service, competing in the dazzle and the childlike thirst for trust – all different people, and so every time In the Night looks just that little bit different from the previous display.
World premiere: 29 January 1970, New York City Ballet, New York
Premiere at the Mariinsky Theatre: 18 March 1992
The premiere of the revival: 5 May 2009
Running time 25 minutes
Age category 6+
"Push Comes to Shove"
Music by Joseph Lamb, Franz Joseph Haydn
Choreography by Twyla Tharp
Costume designer: Santo Loquasto
Lighting designer: Jennifer Tipton
Assistant choreographer: Elaine Kudo
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
In the middle of 1970s, the American Ballet Theatre commissioned the ballet from Twyla Tharp for its new star, Mikhail Baryshnikov. Baryshnikov, star of classical ballets, wanted to expand his creative horizons and was interested in working with the modern dance choreographer. Tharp, who had no experience of working for grand theatres at the time, was in no hurry to agree to this flattering commission as she first wanted to make sure that the soloist that chose her could push the limits of classical dance routines. Their meeting marked the start of a long-term collaboration, which gave the world several productions and breathtaking moments of convergence between the seemingly far-away worlds of classical and popular music, of classical and modern dance. The duo of Baryshnikov and Tharp won the audiences not by stories or ideas (although somebody heard a hidden reference to the last name of Baryshnikov’s Leningrad teacher – Alexander Pushkin in the title Push Comes to Shove). The magic was born out of the combination of the choreographer’s humour and the performer’s unique blend of impeccable classical dancing skills and a disco dancer’s or Broadway jazz dancer’s swag. Now the Mariinsky Theatre soloists have the chance to challenge themselves and perform the witty choreography, which requires full body control and easiness of going from one style to the next. At the St Petersburg premiere the famous ballet is performing by the Russian company for the first time.
World premiere: 9 January 1976, American Ballet Theatre, Uris Theater, New-York
Premiere at the Mariinsky Theatre: 21 March 2019, St Petersburg
Running time 22 minutes
Age category 6+
1 Theatre Square
Mariinsky-2 (New Theatre):
34 Dekabristov Street
Mariinsky Concert Hall:
20 Pisareva street