Le Tombeau de Couperin

Choreography by: George Balanchine

Music by: Maurice Ravel

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Credits

Music
Le Tombeau de Couperin (1919, orchestrated 1920)
Premiere
May 29, 1975, New York City Ballet, Ravel Festival, New York State Theater
Original Cast
Judith Fugate, Jean-Pierre Frohlich, Wilhelmina Frankfut, Victor Castelli, Muriel Aasen, Francis Sackett, Susan Hendl, David Richardson, Marjorie Spohn, Hermes Condé, Delia Peters, Richard Hoskinson, Susan Pilarre, Richard Dryden, Carol Sumner, Laurence Matthews

Length
18 Min.
Lighting by
Ronald Bates (original production); Mark Stanley (current production)

Rooted in the court dances of 18th-century France, the eight youthful couples of Le Tombeau de Couperin mesmerize with their symmetrical patterns and playful interactions.

In 1919 Maurice Ravel composed "Le Tombeau de Couperin” (“The Tomb of Couperin”), a commemorative suite for piano in six movements, in memory of six friends who died in World War I. He was inspired by the style of François Couperin, a French Baroque composer. In 1920 Ravel orchestrated four of the pieces, which make up the score for this ballet.

Balanchine choreographed Le Tombeau de Couperin for New York City Ballet’s 1975 Ravel Festival, and, like the composer, he incorporated French Baroque style and devices into a work with a modern sensibility. The eight couples are divided into left and right quadrilles, and each quadrille forms geometric patterns — diagonals, diamonds, squares — as they dance in unison or echo the movements of the opposite side.


VIEW A SLIDESHOW OF IMAGES FROM LE TOMBEAU DE COUPERIN >