Ballet Stars

Throughout the year, ballet companies are celebrating what would be Jerome Robbins's 100th birthday. One of America's most prolific and versatile dancemakers, Robbins is often remembered for his choreography for Broadway musicals like West Side Story and Fiddler on the Roof. However, his ballets, from Fancy Free to Afternoon of a Faun, are equally iconic. One of his best-loved pieces, among dancers and audiences alike, is Dances at a Gathering, a lyrical ballet inspired by Chopin's piano compositions. The hour-long piece features 10 dancers, all dressed in different colors, who move in and out of solos, duets and group dances; it's a staple in company repertories around the world.

In this clip of Dances at a Gathering from the early '90s, Paris Opéra Ballet étoiles Monique Loudières and Manuel Legris dance an intimate pas de deux for the woman in pink and man in brown. Loudières seems to float right through this dreamy duet, with Legris there to sweep her off her feet. With complete trust in her partner, Loudières falls deep into Legris's arms as he glides her across the stage in arabesque. Simple movements, like Loudières's fluttering bourreés at 1:17, create stunning moments. There is the sense of pure contentment in this pas deux, as though nothing else exists beyond the two dancers and the music. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!

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New York City Ballet's Joseph Gordon and Tiler Peck in "Fancy Free." Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB.

One of the titans among choreographers of the 20th century, Jerome Robbins will be celebrated by a number of ballet companies worldwide in 2018 for the centennial of his birth. He died in 1998 at age 79 after a prolific career. His rare talent enabled him to direct and choreograph Broadway hits (West Side Story, On the Town and Fiddler on the Roof, among many) and to create sublime ballets, such as Afternoon of a Faun for New York City Ballet; Fancy Free (his first ballet) for American Ballet Theatre; and NY Export: Opus Jazz for his short-lived troupe Ballets: U.S.A.


Jerome Robbins. Photo Courtesy Dance Magazine Archives.

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