Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux

Choreography by: George Balanchine

Music by: Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky

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Excerpt from Swan Lake, Op. 20, Act III, (1877)
March 29, 1960, New York City Ballet, City Center of Music and Drama
Original Cast
Violette Verdy, Conrad Ludlow

9 Min.
Costumes by
Lighting by
Jack Owen Brown, subsequently by David Hays (original production); Mark Stanley (current production)

Set to music originally composed for Swan Lake, Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux is a brief, beautiful, and beloved rush of adrenaline.

For the original production of Swan Lake in Moscow in 1877, Tschaikovsky composed a pas de deux for Act III at the request of Anna Sobeshchanskaya, a Bolshoi prima ballerina who was one of the first dancers to perform the lead role. Since it was composed later than the rest of the music, it was not included in the published score and was therefore not available to Marius Petipa when he choreographed his famous Swan Lake in St. Petersburg, in 1895. In its place, Petipa moved some music from Act I to Act III, and it is this piece that is now well-known as the Black Swan pas de deux. Well over half a century later, the complete and original Swan Lake score was found, including an appendix with the lost pas de deux. Hearing of its historic discovery, George Balanchine asked for — and was granted — permission to use it for his own choreography. The result is an eight-minute display of ballet bravura and technique.

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