Choreography: George Balanchine
Music: Peter I. Tchaikovsky
Costume Design: Russ Vogler
Allegro Brillante, George Balanchine's classical ballet set to music for piano and orchestra of Peter I. Tchaikovsky, might be aptly subtitled "Appassionata."
The music, originally projected by the composer for use in a symphony, was the last Tchaikovsky composed. It is melodically and stylistically reminiscent of much of his work, and chares with the best of those a brisk vigor which motivates the dance. The choreography, like the music, is Russian and romantic, evidenced throughout in expansiveness of movement and gesture, in dazzling speed, in the inward cast of a lifted knee, in the flung out tours jetes. According to Balanchine, Allegro "contains everything I knew about the classical ballet-in thirteen minutes." (Nancy Reynolds, ed. Repertory in Review: Forty Years of the New York City Ballet.) And some of what Balanchine knew by birth, by experience, was the verve of a Russian vocabulary of dance.
Allegro Brillante is a work for two principals and four couples, and though it requires of all a technical mastery, the ballerina's Cadenza with piano is a creation of dazzling possibilities. That role, originally created by Maria Tallchief, has been danced with dazzling success by numbers of the NYCB's principal ballerinas including, among others, Diana Adams, Director of the Kansas City Ballet School.
World Premiere: March 1956, New York City Ballet, New York
Kansas City Ballet Premiere: February 1985, Kansas City, Missouri