As described by the choreographer, the music is reflected through the interlaced bodies of two dancers rooted to a central spot on the stage; referred to by the composer as a kind of preview of the Orpheus pas de deux. Originally presented (with Symphonie Concertante  and Circus Polka ) on the program of the National Orchestral Society entitled Adventure in Ballet, November 5, 1945, danced by students of the School of American Ballet, with Todd Bolender as guest artist. The Ballet Society premiere was part of an evening that included the premiere of Orpheus .
In 1966 and for the New York City Ballet Stravinsky Centennial Celebration in 1982, Balanchine choreographed new works to this music, both also called Élégie. (see FESTIVALS DIRECTED BY BALANCHINE.)