Stacy Lowenberg in Serenade. Photo © Angela Sterling
April 15–25, 2010
Serenade • Square Dance
The Four Temperaments
“Pacific Northwest Ballet’s all-Balanchine program burned brightly with glowing intelligence and focused technique…. each taking the steps and making them sing with individual freedom.” (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
Serenade (Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky/George Balanchine)
Square Dance (Antonio Vivaldi & Arcangelo Corelli/George Balanchine)
The Four Temperaments (Paul Hindemith/George Balanchine)
When George Balanchine came to America in 1933, he found a country that knew little about ballet. Inspired by America’s freedom, youth, and modern vitality, he whole-heartedly adopted his new home and through a prodigious outpouring of works, shaped in part by limited resources, he removed layers of classical ballet’s conventional excess. PNB pays tribute to the greatest choreographer of the 20th century and its own artistic heritage with all Balanchine, a mixed bill homage to the man who revolutionized an art form in ways that have changed it forever.
Balanchine’s first American ballet, Serenade (1934), was choreographed for his students. An ideal manifestation of Tchaikovsky’s soaring Serenade for Strings, its transcendent purity endures and renews itself as a primary testament to the choreographer’s genius. Square Dance (1957) knits classical ballet with the patterns and partnerings of 17th-century court and American folk dance for a buoyant, intricate work, notable for its celebrated male solo. The Four Temperaments (1946), a quintessential “black and white” Balanchine ballet, is an early experiment in spare abstraction based on mythological belief in four personality types. Here, in a series of plotless variations executed by dancers in practice clothes on a bare stage, Balanchine proclaims a new era in ballet with some of the most uniquely composed and distinctly evocative images ever created.