Balanchine invites you to a ball

Dance · Music

What a dream is the performance (video below) of a duet from George Balanchine’s “Vienna Waltzes” sublimely danced by Karin von Aroldingen and Peter Martins.

“Vienna Waltzes” had its premiere at New York City Ballet on June 23, 1977. Original cast: Karin von Aroldingen, Sean Lavery, Patricia McBride, Helgi Tomasson, Sara Leland, Bart Cook, Kay Mazzo, Peter Martins, Suzanne Farrell, Jorge Donn.

Yowsa. Nice cast.

Seen below are Balanchine-favorite von Aroldingen, born in East Germany, paired with Martins, a native of Denmark. The two dance to the Russian maestro‘s choreography set to music by a Hungarian. It’s all European.

The duet marks the encounter of a man and woman; it charts their growing intimacy. 

Franz Lehar wrote the “Gold and Silver” waltz in the good old days, in 1902, as a commission for Princess Metternich-Sandor’s “Guld-und-Silber” ball. The music is the sound of Europe before it splintered.   

An absolutely divine sequence begins at 6:50, when the dancers engage in a entwined, backward waltz step. It’s so private and deeply romantic … it’s almost erotic and yet, … all that decorum. Balanchine was such a genius.


Thank you, Marcus Galante, for directing us to the year-end pleasure.

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