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Featuring two couples, Rococo Variations is both romantic and classical, paying homage to ballet's history with the use of traditional steps employed with modern sensibility.
True to its title, Tschaikovsky’s beautiful Variations on a Rococo Theme tips its hat to the 18th century, but it is also deeply Romantic in its expressiveness and the various moods it evokes, from pensive, to mournful, to joyous. The work, which was composed in 1876, is based on a simple rococo-style theme that is masterfully transformed into seven variations, each with its own distinct personality. The piece is a testament to Tschaikovsky’s genius for invention and skillful construction, and his remarkable ability to create brilliant, challenging, emotionally resonant works. Rococo Variations, Christopher Wheeldon’s ballet set to this music, does not follow Tchaikovsky’s theme-and-variation structure precisely, but it does take inspiration from the rococo music in the lightness of the steps, and in the intricacy (and intimacy) of the partnering.
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