The Chairman Dances

Choreography by: Peter Martins

Music by: John Adams

Martins transforms an unused passage from John Adams’ opera Nixon in China into a colorful display with suggestions of traditional Chinese lyric gestures and pageantry.

Combining the vocabulary of classical dance with a suggestion of traditional Chinese lyric gestures and pageantry, The Chairman Dances builds on the repetitiveness of its minimalist score and boldly colorful staging. It features a lead dancer and a corps of 16 women attired in brilliantly colored costumes, with decor by Rouben Ter-Arutunian. The ballet was inspired by a scene originally written for, but not included in, the production of Adams' opera, Nixon in China, that of Chairman Mao dancing with his future bride, the movie star Chiang Ch'ing.

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The Chairman Dances (1985)
May 14, 1988, New York City Ballet, American Music Festival, New York State Theater
Original Cast
Darci Kistler

12 Min.
Costumes by
Rouben Ter-Arutunian
Set by
Rouben Ter-Arutunian
Lighting by
Mark Stanley