Balanchine!

Balanchine!

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Looks like Ballet Palm Beach (BPB) is moving UP in the world!

The Balanchine Trust approved BPB to perform Balanchine’s Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux! This marks a milestone for BPB as only ballet companies of a certain standard are allowed to perform Balanchine works!

The Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux (you might also see the composer’s name spelled Tchaikovsky, Chaikovsky, Tschaikowsky- but… tomatoes, tomahtoes) is a jam-packed, 8 minute display of virtuosity and charm!

“It should put people on their feet!” said ballet mistress, Claudia Cravey. “We were blessed to have Leslie Peck, répétiteur from the Balanchine Trust, with us to pass on her wisdom. What’s neat is that even though it’s been fifty plus years, this piece is still very challenging for dancers today. It requires lots of stamina!”

Ready for the challenge is Steven Melendez and Lily Ojea. Steven juggles two different dancing schedules in two different states. He dances at BPB and at the New York Theatre Ballet. Lily recently returned to the company after the birth of her second child. She was back in pointe shoes within two months! If that doesn’t spell dedication (and the time management skills of Dr. Who), I don’t know what does!

Ballet Palm Beach will be presenting the Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux in a mixed bill also featuring exciting new works including, Snow White, an original take on Grimm’s fairy tale.

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Some backstory… for those awesome people that might like that sort of thing.

Originally, the music to the Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux was a part of Swan Lake.

Some Russian diva ballerina didn’t like the choreography for the Black Swan pas de deux and demanded, much to the chagrin of I’m sure everyone involved, requested it to be re-choreographed, using music by a different composer, Minkus.

“EWWW! Minkus? In the middle of my ballet?!” exclaimed Tchaikovsky. “I think NOT!” So, he wrote his own version that synchronized perfectly with the new choreography. That was the version to which aforementioned ballerina danced. Sorry Minkus.

His composition remained buried for years as it was never published with the original Swan Lake score. Balanchine discovered it and choreographed an endearing piece. Now lucky dancers all over the world get to collapse in exhaustion from rehearsing it! Hooray!

-Rebekah Levin

Photo credit: Janine Harris