Theme and Variations
The new version Balanchine made for City Ballet had its premiere on Thursday, June 4, 1981, at the New York State Theater, Lincoln Center, with costumes by Rouben Ter-Arutunian.
The Preghiera is danced by a ballerina, usually a principal dancer, accompanied by four young girls, the Gigue by a male soloist and the Minuet by four women from the corps de ballet. The ballerina returns and is joined by a principal danseur for a pas de deux to the Theme and Variations; the entire cast dances the finale; the Gigue is of sufficient importance that it is not infrequently danced by a second principal danseur.
The choreographer made the original version on his first ballet company, the Paris-based Les Ballets, for its 1933 season at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, which also included The Seven Deadly Sins. It was danced again by the School of American Ballet at its first recital Saturday, June 9, 1934, which was held on the Felix Warburg estate in White Plains, N.Y., where Serenade was danced the following day.
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