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Peter Martins' first ballet, a series of solos and duets for two dancers that is set to eight short pieces by Ives, is an edgy, contemporary work full of propulsive movement.
Calcium Light Night was Peter Martins’ first choreographic work. It premiered in Seattle, Washington in 1977 as part of a concert touring engagement organized by Martins while he was still a Principal Dancer with New York City Ballet. The work is set to several compositions by the American composer Charles Ives and entered the repertory of the New York City Ballet in January 1978.
Subsequently, George Balanchine incorporated Martins’ Calcium Light Night into Ivesiana, his own ballet to the music of Charles Ives, for several performances. Ives, who was born in Danbury, Connecticut in 1874, was a true pioneer of a strong national art. Virtually every work he wrote bears relation to American life, and his early development was greatly influenced by village concerts organized by his father, who was a band leader during the Civil War. The Ives compositions that Martins used for this ballet are from various sets of pieces and are not presented in chronological order.
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