On Thursday, May 31, CAAL members and their guests attended a performance at New York City Ballet featuring the work of three celebrated choreographers - Peter Martins, Benjamin Millepied, and George Balanchine. The performance consisted of three pieces - Jeu de Cartes, New Millepied, and Tschaikovsky Suite No. 3. Before the performance, CAAL members and their guests were invited to an exclusive, private reception in the VIP Lounge with NYCB principal dancer, Teresa Reichlen.
Photo credit: Andrea Mohin/The New York Times
See slideshow of the event:
Jeu de Cartes
Choreographer: Peter Martins
"Years ago, George Balanchine suggested that I choreograph Stravinsky's Jeu de Cartes, not as a ballet about a card game but as an abstraction. I wasn't interested. But when I heard the score recently, I was struck by its jazzy vitality, and I've decided to take Mr. B.'s advice."— Peter MartinsIgor Stravinsky (1882-1971) entered law school in 1901, at the age of 19. That year he also gave his first public piano recital and began studying piano and composition with Rimsky-Korsakov in St. Petersburg. He was to become, before his death, one of the greatest composers and musical innovators of the 20th century, mastering musical styles from Romanticism to Neoclassicism to Serialism. Stravinsky came to the attention of Sergei Diaghilev in 1910, who asked him to orchestrate two pieces by Chopin for the ballet Les Sylphides, and then to compose an original ballet. The result, Firebird, projected both Diaghilev's Ballets Russes and the young composer to worldwide acclaim. His ballets for Diaghilev's Ballets Russes also included Petrushka, choreographed by Michael Fokine, The Rite of Spring, choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky, and Apollon Musagète (Apollo), choreographed by George Balanchine. His music has been used in over 30 ballets originating with New York City Ballet from 1948 through 1992, including Danses Concertantes, Orpheus, The Cage, Agon, Monumentum pro Gesualdo, Movements for Piano and Orchestra, Rubies, Symphony in Three Movements, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Concerto for Two Solo Pianos, Suite from L'histoire du Soldat, Concertino, and Jeu de Cartes. He composed Jeu de Cartes (Card Game: A Ballet in Three Deals) for the first Stravinsky Festival mounted by George Balanchine at the Metropolitan Opera in 1937. In the original version dancers were costumed to represent the four suits in a deck of cards, and the joker was the central character.
Choreographer: Benjamin Millepied
With his work on Darren Aronofsky's Oscar-winning feature film Black Swan, as well as recent creations for American Ballet Theatre and the Kirov Ballet, NYCB's own Benjamin Millepied is one of the busiest choreographers on today's scene. Premiering at the Spring Gala, Millepied's new ballet will be set to a commissioned score by his frequent collaborator, American contemporary composer Nico Muhly '03CC with costumes by renowned fashion house Rodarte and lighting by Roderick Murray.
Tschaikovsky Suite No. 3
Choreographer: George Balanchine
Balanchine's first setting of music from Tschaikovsky's third suite for orchestra was created in 1947, when Ballet Theatre commissioned him to choreograph the theme and variations that constitute the final movement. Called simply Theme and Variations, the work is a riveting display of classical technique that has become a staple of the ballet repertory. In 1970, Balanchine decided to choreograph the entire suite, incorporating Theme and Variations as the fourth and final movement with only minor revisions. With scenery and costumes by Nicolas Benois, the first three movements are danced in a softly-lit ballroom. The women are dressed in long-flowing dresses and their hair is unbound. In the opening movement, the corps of women dance barefoot. 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, grand in scale, with rich orchestrations. His output was prodigious and included chamber works, symphonies, concerti for various instruments, operas and works for the piano. His creations for the ballet, composed in close partnership with Marius Petipa, include Swan Lake, The Nutcracker and The Sleeping Beauty.