Western Symphony

Choreography by: George Balanchine

Music by: Traditional American melodies orchestrated by Hershy Kay

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Traditional American melodies
September 7, 1954, New York City Ballet, City Center of Music and Drama
Original Cast
Diana Adams, Janet Reed, Patricia Wilde, Tanaquil Le Clercq, Herbert Bliss, Nicholas Magallanes, André Eglevsky, Jacques d'Amboise

27 Min.
Costumes by
Set by
John Boyt (1955)
Lighting by
Jean Rosenthal (original production); Mark Stanley (current production)

Western Symphony is a rodeo of frisky fillies and lonesome cowpokes with a rousing, non-stop finale that brings the curtain down.

Western Symphony is a striking example of Balanchine’s fascination with American themes. Set on a rugged Old West street populated by cowboys and dance hall girls, the ballet nevertheless is very much a classical work.  Balanchine used steps from the traditional ballet vocabulary, but he infused them with the formations and gestures of American folk dancing.  The lively and familiar score consists of Hershy Kay’s orchestrations of classic American folk songs, including “Red River Valley,” “Good Night Ladies,” and “Oh Dem Golden Slippers.”

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