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Suzanne Farrell wearing a white diamonds costume in attitude front on pointe, held up by a kneeling George Balanchine in front of a suited man atop a white horse on a racetrack in Saratoga Springs, NY

“A ballet is a movement in time and space, a living moment. Like a hothouse flower, it blooms, then dies. A ballet is life.”

– George Balanchine
Helgi Tomasson and Patti McBride in the studio, holding hands and smiling
A ballet of subliminal and foreboding mystery

On May 31, 2022, Patricia McBride and Helgi Tomasson coached NYCB soloist Erica Pereira and principal dancer Anthony Huxley in the roles McBride and Tomasson originated in Balanchine’s Divertimento from Le Baiser de la fée. Shortly after its 1972 Stravinsky Festival premiere NY Times critic Clive Barnes called the Divertimento “quietly and yet also deafeningly entrancing. Just as Stravinsky gives us Tchaikovsky with a vital tinge of acid, so Balanchine provides us Petipa far more sophisticated than we might have expected.”

Recovering lost choreography with Labanotation

Thanks to a recently rediscovered Labanotation score found at Ohio State University and the impeccable memory of Barbara Walczak, the Video Archives recording on May 16, 2022 allowed for the original version of the Agon’s Gailliard to be recreated on India Bradley and Alexa Maxwell of the New York City Ballet. Ms. Walczak also coached Symphony in C and Bourrée Fantasque with Chun Wai Chan participating in the male roles. 

Male dancer jumping with legs split, and another dancer kneeling in front
Two dancers facing each other, arms intertwined in a courtly neoclassic dance position
Agon Video Archives Recording

March 14, 2022, Allegra Kent and Bart Cook coached dancers Mira Nadon and Davide Riccardo in the Agon pas de deux. Allegra Kent, though not the originator of the role, performed the role with Arthur Mitchell soon ofter the premiere and performed it for many years after with Bart Cook stepping in for her final appearances in the ballet.

In speaking about Agon, Balanchine said, “Agon is for me the quintessential contemporary ballet. Stravinsky composed it specially for us … In my opinion, it is his – it is our – most perfect work, representing a total collaboration between musician and choreographer.”

Allegra Kent in attitude front, leg held by Bart Cook in Agon