Le Combat

Dancers James Jordan and Corrinee Giddings.
Dancers James Jordan and Corrinee Giddings.

Choreography: William Dollar
Music: Raffaello deBanfield
Costume Design: Robert Stevenson

Le Combat (The Duel), the best-known work of William Dollar, American-born choreographer, dancer, and teacher, was originally commissioned by Roland Petit for his Ballets de Paris. The ballet is suggested by Canto III and Canto XII of sixteenth century Italian poet Torquato Tasso’s epic “Jerusalem Delivered.” The poem’s subject is the First Crusade, and it was Tasso’s intention to exhort the peoples of Europe to unite in crusade against the heathen. At the ballet’s center is Tancredi, one of the epic’s most important figures and the embodiment of courtly virtue. He encounters Clorinda. Their final meeting is a mortal combat. The choreographer’s use of movement suggestive of horse, at times centaur-like, visually heightens the dramatic connection to the story of the Crusades.

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