• Foto: Kiran West

Friday 21. Sep. 2018, 7.30 pm - 9.30 pm | Großes Haus


Two Ballets by Jerome Robbins

Chopin Dances

"Dances at a Gathering" is about my life in that period – just a feeling of love and relationships with people.
Jerome Robbins

Ballet by Jerome Robbins

Music: Frédéric Chopin
Choreography: Jerome Robbins
Costumes: Joe Eula
Lighting: Jennifer Tipton
Staging: Ben Huys

World Premiere:
New York City Ballet, New York State Theater, New York, May 22, 1969

One of the pleasures of attending a concert is the freedom to lose oneself in listening to the music. Quite often, unconsciously, mental pictures and images form, and the patterns and paths of these reveries are influenced by the music itself, or its program notes, or by the personal dreams, problems and fantasies of the listener. Chopin's music in particular has been subject to fanciful "program" names such as the Butterfly Etude, the Minute Waltz, the Raindrop Prelude, etc...
Jerome Robbins

Or, The Perils of Everybody
Ballet by Jerome Robbins

Music: Frédéric Chopin
Choreography: Jerome Robbins
Set: Saul Steinberg
Costumes: Irene Sharaff
Licht: Jennifer Tipton
Staging: Jean-Pierre Frohlich

World Premiere:
New York City Ballet, City Center of Music and Drama, New York, March 6, 1956

2 hours | 1 intermission

Premiere in Hamburg:
Hamburg Ballet, December 5, 2010

Supported by the Foundation for the Support of the Hamburg State Opera

[Read more]
To be read before the performance

An evening entitled "Chopin Dances" raises high expectations. Chopin and ballet is a momentous story which began in 1907 with Mikhail Fokine's "Chopiniana", preceded by Isadora Duncan's dance creations in Paris in 1900. Chopin himself paid tribute to the dances of his Polish homeland throughout his life. His mazurkas became export goods, transporting Masovian culture all the way to America, where it lived on in the homesickness experienced by many Polish emigrants.

Jerome Robbins also experienced the influence of Frédéric Chopin's music on dance. The choreographer, who died in 1998 in New York, was born to Eastern European immigrants. Robbins returned to the New York City Ballet to create his ballet "Dances at a Gathering" after an absence of twelve years. The work was created for the 25th Anniversary City Center Gala. Originally Robbins intended to choreograph only a pas de deux for Edward Villella and Patricia McBride which had its first performance as part of the gala on May 8, 1969. The official world premiere followed on May 22 at the New York State Theater.

In an interview with Hubert Saal, Robbins recalled the rehearsal process: "I started out to do a pas de deux for Eddie Villella and Pat McBride. Then I got turned on by the music. It all started to pour out as if some valve inside me had opened up and the purity of working with dancers took over. I took whatever appealed to me and let it happen, trusting it." His continued exploration of the music led to an increasing amount of numbers, and demanded additional dancers. Five female dancers and five dancers are characterized as individuals by the different colors of their costumes.

The dances do not follow a dramatic narration or plot; rather, the sequence allows the soloists to communicate through dance itself. Thus, "Dances at a Gathering" really does mean dances during an encounter. The result is a classical ballet with a slightly folkloristic touch, tracing human poetry in its gestures.

The selected compositions by Frédéric Chopin are also marked by a folkloristic character. There are, for example, many mazurkas which embody the soul of the Polish landscape. Community and roots – both were important to Robbins: "The atmosphere of the ballet seems to be European, yet not European. It looks nostalgically to its roots, and yet, with American steadfastness, it gazes at the pioneers' horizon."

Jerome Robbins talks of people and about people. He tells stories even where the dance is led only by music: "Ballet makes me feel like an author. I can say whatever I want to say, limited only by my own capacities and those of my dancers."


Jerome Robbins is world renowned for his work as a choreographer of ballets as well as his work as a director and choreographer in theater, movies and television. His Broadway shows include On the Town, Billion Dollar Baby, High Button Shoes, West Side Story, The King and I, Gypsy, Peter Pan, Miss Liberty, Call Me Madam, and Fiddler on the Roof. His last Broadway production in 1989, Jerome Robbins= Broadway, won six Tony Awards including best musical and best director.

Among the more than 60 ballets he created are Fancy Free, Afternoon of a Faun, The Concert, Dances At a Gathering, In the Night, In G Major, Other Dances, Glass Pieces and Ives, Songs, which are in the repertories of New York City Ballet and other major dance companies throughout the world. His last ballets include A Suite of Dances created for Mikhail Baryshnikov (1994), 2 & 3 Part Inventions (1994), West Side Story Suite (1995) and Brandenburg (1996).

In addition to two Academy Awards for the film West Side Story, Mr. Robbins has received four Tony Awards, five Donaldson Awards, two Emmy Awards, the Screen Directors' Guild Award, and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award. Mr. Robbins was a 1981 Kennedy Center Honors Recipient and was awarded the French Chevalier dans l'Ordre National de la Legion d'Honneur. Mr. Robbins died in 1998.

Venue: Großes Haus, Dammtorstraße 28, 20354 Hamburg
Prices: 6,00 EUR to 109,00 EUR

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