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Felix Mendelssohn composed the music used for Octet when he was 16 years old. The freshness and youth of this composition is reflected in the choreography devised by Peter Martins. The ballet consists of two groups of five dancers, one dressed in muted green and the other in a pale red. The dancers in red lead off. They crisscross the stage with joyful jumps and runs. The pas de deux for the couple in green takes on a more reflective, introspective tone, exploring the relationship between the partners. The couple in red follows; their lively pas de deux expresses the exuberance and energy of youth. Octet embodies the range of romantic feeling inherent in Mendelssohn’s music.
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