A brief but charming work to Duke Ellington’s melodies, Sophisticated Lady presents a leading ballerina in a Valentino ball gown and heeled shoes being wooed by a group of men before her leading man emerges.
Peter Martins created Sophisticated Lady as a pièce d’occasion for the opening night of NYCB’s American Music Festival in 1988. Set to Duke Ellington’s 1932 jazz standard of the same name, the ballet features a leading lady being wooed by a chorus of men before her partner finally appears. Created for Suzanne Farrell, the surprise leading man at the premiere performance was Martins himself, which also marked his return to the stage after retiring from dancing in 1983. In fall 2012, the ballet was re-costumed by the legendary fashion designer Valentino, as part of s special NYCB gala evening in honor of the acclaimed couturier and his work.