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Like the Bartók score to which it is set, Evenfall is both classical and modern. The choreography evokes memories of Swan Lake and Ballet Imperial, and yet the movements — especially for the corps — are often angular and sometimes quirky. Using two principals, 12 women, and six men, Wheeldon has created an abstract ballet that is elegiac in tone, reflecting Bartok’s music. Loss is a recurring motif; more than once, the principal ballerina is left alone onstage at the end of a romantic pas de deux. The sense of loss is further underscored by the luminescent gray costumes, the lighting, and even the ballet’s title — evenfall is the beginning of evening, the “dying of the light.”
Wheeldon’s choreography captures the poignancy in Bartók’s score, written as he was dying of cancer. Evenfall is the second ballet the Company has performed to Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 3. In 1974, John Clifford used this music for a ballet, entitled Bartók No. 3, danced by Debra Austin, Muriel Aasen, Wilhelmina Frankfurt, Sara Leland, and Anthony Blum.
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