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Set to Sousa's buoyant marches and dressed in Karinska's delightful all-American costumes, Stars and Stripes contains as much pure dancing as many full-length classical ballets.
For all its exuberant patriotic touches, Stars and Stripes contains as much pure dancing as many full-length classical ballets. The work is divided into five “campaigns,” each of which uses different themes from John Philip Sousa’s marches. When asked why he chose to choreograph a ballet to Sousa, Balanchine replied, “Because I like his music.” Stars and Stripes has been performed for many memorable occasions, including Nelson Rockefeller’s inauguration as governor of New York, tributes for Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, and the opening ceremonies for the New York State Theater (now the David H. Koch Theater) at Lincoln Center. The ballet is dedicated to the memory of Fiorello H. LaGuardia, mayor of New York City from 1934 to 1945 and founder of the City Center of Music and Drama.
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