Saturday, 2 January 2016
Please, pretty please, will somebody revive this lovely ballet.
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In Prosit Neues Jahr 2 Jan 2016 and Frohes Neues Jahr 1 Jan 2014 I mentioned Lichine's Graduation Ball. As you can see from the video it is a charming ballet. It was once very popular. I saw London Festival Ballet perform it in the late 1960s or early 1970s, It was also in the repertoire of the Australian Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, National Ballet of Cuba and the Ballet of La Scala, Nowadays hardly anybody seems to perform it. Why is that? It is so happy and the music is so lovely.
Admittedly there is not much of a plot. It's a bit like Grease. A girls' school holds a dance and invites the boys in the cadet corps. Both boys and girls are shy at first but they slowly break the ice. They play games and one of the boys takes a fancy to one of the young ladies. So, too, do the students' teachers and they plan to meet after the ball. Unfortunately, they spot the students and the mistress and master lead their miscreant pupils back to their respective establishments.
The music is by Johann Strauss the younger as arranged by Antal Dorati and was first performed in Australia by the Ballet Russe in 1940. Quite remarkable that there was an audience for Strauss when Australia and Austria (then part of Nazi Germany) were at each other's throats.
Graduation Ball would be a lovely ballet for a school or small company.