Choreography: Antony Tudor
Music: Gustav Mahler
Dark Elegies is said to be Tudor’s greatest masterpiece, exemplifying the depth of human emotion through abstract movement. By reflecting the spirit of the Song Cycle, Antony Tudor has constructed his choreography on the lines of what may conveniently be called “symphonic ballet,” to distinguish it both from classical ballet style and the romantic story-telling kind.
There are choreographic links between the songs, and Tudor has endeavored to mirror the ideas of the songs in the movements of the dancers. The straightforward literal movement depicts the grief of village peasants over the death of their children. The piece is set to Gustav Mahler’s emotional set of five songs, Kindertotenlieder (Songs on the Death of Children). This performance of Dark Elegies occurs in the centennial year of Tudor’s birth.
World Premiere: February 19, 1937, Ballet Rambert, Dutchess Theatre, London
Kansas City Ballet Premiere: October 11, 2007, Lyric Theatre