Choreographer: George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust
Music: Serenade for Strings in C, Op. 48
Composer: Peter Ilytch Tchaikovsky
World Premiere: June 10, 1935
GRB Performances: 2010
The first performance of Serenade was on June 10, 1934, by students of the School of American Ballet, at Felix Warburg’s estate, White Plains, New York.
Serenade is a milestone in the history of dance. It is the first original ballet Balanchine created in America and is one of the signature works of New York City Ballet’s repertory. The ballet is performed by 28 dancers in blue costumes in front of a blue background. Originating it as a lesson in stage technique, Balanchine worked unexpected rehearsal events into the choreography. When one student fell, he incorporated it. Another day, a student arrived late, and this too became part of the ballet.
After its initial presentation, Serenade was reworked several times. In its present form there are four movements — “Sonatina,” “Waltz,” “Russian Dance,” and “Elegy.” The last two movements reverse the order of Tschaikovsky’s score, ending the ballet on a note of sadness.
Balanchine had a special affinity for Tschaikovsky. “In everything that I did to Tschaikovsky’s music,” he told an interviewer, “I sensed his help. It wasn’t real conversation. But when I was working and saw that something was coming of it, I felt that it was Tschaikovsky who had helped me.”
Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky (1840-1893) studied at the Conservatory in St. Petersburg, where Balanchine later studied piano in addition to his studies in dance. Tschaikovsky is one of the most popular and influential of all romantic composers. His work is expressive, melodic, and grand in scale, with rich orchestrations. His output was prodigious and included chamber works, symphonies, concerti for various instruments, operas, and works for piano. His creations for the ballet, composed in close partnership with Marius Petipa, include Swan Lake, The Nutcracker and, The Sleeping Beauty.
– the George Balanchine Trust
The first ballet Balanchine made in America.
The piece is beautiful—stirring, sweeping Serenade. It is a story about hope.
Choreographer: Paul Taylor
Music: Various 1940s-era songs sung by the Andrews Sisters
Costumes: Santo Loquasto
Lighting: Jennifer Tipton
World Premiere: Paul Taylor Dance Company, June 20, 1991
GRB Performances: 2012
Just as America began to emerge from the Deprression at the dawn of the 1940s, the country was drawn into the Second World War. In a seminal piece of Americana, Paul Taylor recalls that turbulent era through the hit songs of the Andrews Sisters. Although the songs depict a nation surging with high spirits, millions of men were bidding farewell to wives or girlfriends and many would never return from battle. The dance focuses on such poignant dualities. Young lovers lindy, jitterbug and polka in a near manic graps for happiness while in the background shadowy figures – soldiers – fall dead. Among the sections of the dance, the one choreographed to “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (of Company B)” is carefree until the moment the bugler is shot; the one set ot “I Can Dream, Can’t I?” tells of a young lady’s affections for a soldier an ocean away who, for his part, reaches out to a comrade in arms. The dance ends just as it began, with “Bei Mir Bist du Schon” – but the world has clearly changed.
– the Paul Taylor Dance Company
Paul Taylor’s “Company B” has proved to be a smash hit.
Timeless as Ever!
Taylor is a master of creative freedom
Choreographer: Gerald Arpino
Music: Douglas Adamz and Russ Gauthier
Costumes: A. Christina Giannini
Lighting: Kevin Dreyer after the original Thomas Skelton
World Premiere: November 4, 1981
GRB Performances: 2014
Light Rain has been one of Gerald Arpino’s most celebrated signature pieces since its premiere in 1981. Created for the Joffrey’s Silver Anniversary, and presented again as the closing ballet of the Company’s Golden Anniversary, Light Rain remains the company’s most beloved and requested work.
Gerald Arpino created this ballet to showcase the new young dancers of the company. “It is my gift to these talented youngsters…I am inspired by their modes and rituals, their passions.” Light Rain, with its accent on youth, its American artists, and its original music, continues The Joffrey traditions begun in 1956. The original score by Douglas Adamz and Russ Gauthier features an eclectic combination of instruments with an Eastern mesmerizing rhythm.
– the Arpino Foundation
“Light Rain” was a brief history lesson in the all-American athleticism …
”Light Rain” has an integrity about its very nerve.
Taylor is a master of creative freedom