New York City Ballet Dances Balanchine, McGregor at Lincoln Center
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The last date listed for New York City Ballet: Balanchine/McGregor was Saturday May 15, 2010 / 8:00pm.
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“McGregor is doing some of the most exciting work in ballet on the planet.” —New York Times
“Startling clarity and breathtaking invention” —The Telegraph
_*The Four Temperaments:*
_Balanchine choreographed The Four Temperaments for the opening program of Ballet Society, the forerunner of New York City Ballet. It is one of his earliest experimental works, fusing classical steps with a lean and angular style. The ballet is inspired by the medieval belief that human beings are made up of four different humors that determine a person’s temperament.
Each temperament was associated with one of the four classical elements (earth, air, water, and fire), which in turn were the basis of the four humors (black bile, blood, phlegm, and bile) that composed the body. In a healthy body, the humors were in balance. But if one became predominant it determined an individual’s temperament. Thus a person dominated by black bile was melancholic (gloomily pensive), by blood was sanguinic (headstrong and passionate), by phlegm was phlegmatic (unemotional and passive), and by bile was choleric (bad-tempered and angry).
The titles of the ballet’s four movements — “Melancholic,” “Sanguinic,” “Phlegmatic,” and “Choleric” — reflect these principles.The Four Temperaments, with its references to the medieval concept of psychological humors, is classically grounded but definitively modern movement.
Cortège Hongrois (“a courtly parade in the Hungarian style”) was created by Balanchine as a farewell gift for Melissa Hayden when she announced her retirement after more than 20 years of dancing principal roles in the Company. The mixture of “character” ethnic dances with classical ballet, including a grand pas de deux, is also a tribute to Marius Petipa, choreographer of the original full-length Raymonda (1898).
As a student and dancer in St. Petersburg, Balanchine knew Raymonda and the character dances typically included in Petipa’s great 19th century ballets. The full-length Raymonda ends with a lavish Hungarian divertissement, which is recalled in Cortège Hongrois’ ethnically accented costumes of green, white and gold. Balanchine considered the_ Raymonda_ score “a treasure chest of music.” For Cortège Hongrois he chose some of the same music he had used for Pas de Dix in 1955. Still other excerpts were chosen for the 1961 Raymonda Variations.
About Wayne McGregor and the New McGregor Ballet:
Britain’s bold contemporary voice, Wayne McGregor, is known for his groundbreaking collaborations across the visual arts and sciences. At the age of 22, he founded Wayne McGregor | Random Dance, the resident company of Sadler’s Wells Theater. As The Royal Ballet’s first resident choreographer in 16 years, McGregor made waves as the first to come from the world of contemporary dance. His premiere will be set to Thomas Adès’ violin concerto “Concentric Paths,” and marks the first time that McGregor will create an original piece for an American company.