Concerto Barocco

Choreography by: George Balanchine

Music by: Johann Sebastian Bach

One of Balanchine’s greatest masterpieces, Concerto Barocco is music made visible as two elegant yet dynamic lead ballerinas each depict one of the instrumental soloists in a virtuosic double violin concerto.

Balanchine said of this work: "If the dance designer sees in the development of classical dancing a counterpart in the development of music and has studied them both, he will derive continual inspiration from great scores." In the first movement of the concerto, the two ballerinas personify the violins, while a corps of eight women accompany them. In the second movement, a largo, the male dancer joins the leading woman in a pas de deux. In the concluding allegro section, the entire ensemble expresses the syncopation and rhythmic vitality of Bach's music.

This work began as an exercise by Balanchine for the School of American Ballet and was performed by American Ballet Caravan on its historic tour of South America and later entered the repertory of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. In 1951, Balanchine permanently eliminated the original costumes and dressed the dancers in practice clothes, probably the first appearance of what has come to be regarded as a signature Balanchine costume for contemporary works. On October 11, 1948, Concerto Barocco was one of three ballets on the program at New York City Ballet's first performance.



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Concerto in D minor for Two Violins, B.W.V. 1043
June 27, 1941, American Ballet Caravan, Teatro Municipal, Rio De Janeiro.
NYC Ballet Premiere
October 11, 1948, New York City Ballet, City Center of Music and Drama
Original Cast
Marie-Jeanne, Mary Jane Shea, William Dollar

NYC Ballet Original Cast
Marie-Jeanne, Ruth Gilbert, Francisco Moncion
20 Min.
Costumes by
Eugene Berman (from 1951, performed in practice clothes and without scenery)
Lighting by
Mark Stanley