A whiff of perfume, the touch of a hand, a stolen kiss release whirls of memories which take the rememberers back briefly to other moments and leave them not exactly as they were before.
The ballet opens on a lush red backdrop rich in Viennese ballroom motifs and chandeliers, against which five oranges and red waltzing couples, all looking very much alike, float and whirl through their predetermined steps and patterns. The Gentleman with Her kisses her on the shoulder, triggering a transformation. The lights go down, the music stops; the light returns to reveal the lady facing her double and moving exactly like her. In fact the stage seems to be divided horizontally by a huge mirror. How easily and quickly her mind takes her back to her youth when another young man, it was spring, kissed her on the shoulder. These momentary flashbacks are interrupted by the ballroom scene when the other dancing couples interpose themselves both spatially and physically, tugging these day-night dreamers back to the present.
Ballet Synopsis excerpted with permission from the Ballets of Antony Tudor by Judith Chazin-Bennahum.
Choreography: Antony Tudor.
Music / Composer: Burleske for Piano and Orchestra, Richard Strauss.
First Performance: New York. Metropolitan Opera House. October 20th, 1943. Ballet Theatre.
Original Cast: Nora Kaye, Hugh Laing, Muriel Bentley, Michael Kidd, John Kriza, Rosella Hightower, Janet Reed, Antony Tudor, Albia Kaven, Virginia Wilcox.
Scenery / Costumes: Motley (Elizabeth Montgomery and Margaret Harris).
NYC Ballet Production: New York. New York State Theatre. May 6th, 1964. (May 26th, 1954).
NYCB Cast: Patricia McBride, Edward Villella, Sara Leland, Ramon Segarra, Robert Rodham, Suki Schorer, Mimi Paul, Richard Rapp.
ABT Ballet Revival: May, 1985..
ABT Cast (revival): Johan Renvall / John Meehan, Anna Spelman / Leslie Brown, Clark Tippet, Amanda McKerrow, Bonnie Moore.
Scenery / Costumes: NYC Ballet - Beni Montresor.
Notated: 1984-86 by Airi Hynninen (Labanotation).
Average Length: 20 minutes.
Number of Dancers: 6+5 Women, 4+5 Men.