A word from writer Arlene Croce about George Balanchine’s Agon

We asked dance critic Arlene Croce to give us some insight into the ballet:

“Before it was ever performed, Agon was understood to be the climax of the most powerful partnership in ballet history, a partnership concieved as a friendly contest (Agon means contest) between Music (Igor Stravinsky) and Dance (George Balanchine). On November 27, 1957 and again on December 1, the official opening night, Agon was unveiled to packed houses at City Center, home of the New York City Ballet, and was instantly recognized as a classic of the twentieth-first as well as the twentieth century. Not only an artistic triumph, it was, against all expectation, a box-office hit. The programs of the 1957-58 season were repeatedly torn up to make room for extra perfrormances of Agon. In the years to come, the wit, the daring, the tensions and intricacies of Agon invaded the consciousness of ballet companies the world over. Often imitated, never surpassed, not even by its creators, Agon stands today as the supreme example of advanced American style in the classical ballet.”

Arlene Croce, a dance critic for The New Yorker for many years, is a leading authority on the works of George Balanchine, having written extensively on the subject throughout her  career. 

Festival Ballet Providence will be presenting Agon as part of our double-bill Agon & Orchis March 8, 9, and 10 at The Vets in Providence, RI.

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