Posted by on 07.15.2010

Tonight I found this video of Miami City Ballet in Balanchine’s “Ballet Imperial” (later renamed Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2). I first came in contact with this ballet when it was a part of our 2008-2009 season. We performed this work many times and it never got old. I had so much fun each and every time I danced this ballet; onstage and off. I don’t know if it is the gorgeous costumes, beautiful music, or inspired choreography, but it is definitely a favorite of mine. Watching this video brought back great memories.

The section shown in this clip is one of the most dramatic in my opinion. There is a moment where the corps men and women create four lines. The men offer their hands and the women take them, then the four lines move across the stage. The dancers all walk to the left, to the right, to the left again, and back to the right. Just simple; walking. Then the corps parts to reveal the principal woman turning in the middle. The illusion this creates is just stunning and so exhilarating to be a part of.

Another stand out favorite for me would have to be Concerto Barocco. Some may wonder how dancers could enjoy doing Barocco, as it is very difficult for the corps and principals alike. What is unique about this ballet for the corps, is there are three movements, about 18 minutes of dancing, and no exits. Thats right, when the curtain goes up, you better be prepared because there is no rest for the weary since the eight corps women are onstage the whole time.

There are so many more elements to this ballet that make it amazing and such an experience to dance. It begins with a brisk first movement, a slow adagio second movement, and an exciting, fast paced third movement. My favorite parts lie mostly in the second movement, when the corps spends most of the dance making beautiful formations with and around the principal couple.

As my feet would begin to cramp during the long period of standing in the second movement, the music would always save me. This ballet is set to Bach’s Violin Concerto in D Minor for Two Violins and is just so beautiful. Every step goes perfectly with the music; as you would expect nothing less from Balanchine. In 101 Stories of Great Ballets (which I have linked to below) Balanchine writes, “Bad music often inspires bad dancing, bad choreography.” This music is the complete opposite of “bad” and his inspiration shows throughout the ballet.

Barocco and Ballet Imperial are hardly my only favorites during my time here at Miami City Ballet. I have already gotten to dance so many of the great ballets in our rep and am looking forward to all the news ones ahead in the 2010-2011 season. More to come later.

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