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 orange 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 lights return 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 psychically, tugging these day-night dreamers back to the present.
The Dim Lustre
Title of the music: Burleske for Piano and Orchestra
Composer: Richard Strauss
Running time: 20 minutes
Number of dancers: 6+5 Women, 4+5 Men
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Julie Kent and Ethan Stiefel of American Ballet Theatre; Paul Kolnik
Leslie Browne and John Meehan. Photo: Jack Mitchelle/Courtesy American Ballet Theatre