Text and Images Courtesy of Ballet Arizona

Ballet Arizona ushers in spring with an electrifying
program of three performances: two works and one excerpt
from the legendary choreographer George Balanchine.

Above: Ballet Arizona dancers in SerenadeChoreography by George Balanchine. ©The Balanchine Trust. Photo by Rosalie O’Connor.

Widely hailed as the foremost contemporary choreographer in the world of ballet, Balanchine was instrumental in paving the way for ballet in America to flourish. To this day, his works are celebrated and performed all over the world and his innovative, creative style continues to dazzle and inspire dancers and audiences alike. Each season, Ballet Arizona celebrates George Balanchine by bringing three of his masterpieces to life on stage in an All Balanchine production.

“After the exuberance of February’s ENERGY, the company and I look forward to keeping the momentum going by bringing three works from George Balanchine to our Dorrance Theatre stage this month,” says Artistic Director Ib Andersen. “Audiences can look forward to excerpts from the sweeping and romantic Serenade, the sparkling Divertimento No. 15 andthe beautifully phrased conversation between dance and music, StravinskyViolin Concerto.”

This year’s in-person Balanchine program will be performed at Ballet Arizona’s Dorrance Theatre. The one-hour production, with no intermission, will honor widely-spaced seating to allow for social distancing. Following safety guidelines, patrons will be required to wear masks. Read more about the health and safety guidelines here, and watch Ballet Arizona’s Know Before You Go Video.


Above: Ballet Arizona dancer Jillian Barrell in SerenadeChoreography by George Balanchine. ©The Balanchine Trust. Photo by Rosalie O’Connor.

Music: Serenade for Strings in C, Op. 48
Composer: Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky
The first full-length ballet Balanchine choreographed in America, Serenade is a romantic work choreographed to a sweeping transcendent Tchaikovsky score. Although considered one of Balanchine’s plotless ballets, many elements allude to images of yearning, betrayal, and protection. In this presentation of Serenade, viewers will see the first movement, an excerpt from this four-movement ballet.

Above: Ballet Arizona dancers in Divertimento No. 15Choreography by George Balanchine. ©The Balanchine Trust. Photo by Rosalie O’Connor.

Divertimento No. 15
Music: Divertimento No. 15 in B-flat major. K.287
Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Balanchine is said to have considered this piece of music the finest divertimento ever written. To complement the sparkling score, Balanchine created a work of extraordinary ingenuity for his dancers. Considered a distinct example of neoclassical Balanchine repertory, Divertimento No. 15 first premiered at the Mozart Festival in Stratford, Connecticut, in 1956.

Above: Former Ballet Arizona dancers Ilir Shtylla and Natalia Magnicaballi in Stravinsky Violin Concerto. Choreography by George Balanchine. ©The Balanchine Trust. Photo by Rosalie O’Connor.

Stravinsky Violin Concerto
Music: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D major
Composer: Igor Stravinsky
Titled Balustrade, Balanchine originally choreographed Stravinsky’s piece of music in 1941 for the Ballet Russe. Three decades later he revisited the concerto and renamed this ballet with the composer’s given title. It was performed at the New York City Ballet’s 1972 Stravinsky Festival, a tribute to the composer following his death.

Above, left to right: George Balanchine and Igor Stravinsky collaborated to create movement and music for many ballet masterpieces.


George Balanchine, born in St. Petersburg, Russia, was enrolled in the Imperial Theater Ballet School as a child. He credits his first role as a cupid in Marius Petipa’s The Sleeping Beauty as the inspiration for his career in ballet. After joining the State Theater of Opera and Ballet (formerly the Mariinksy Theater), where he choreographed, danced, and organized an experimental ballet company, Balanchine moved to the touring troupe Principal Dancers of the Soviet State Ballet. While performing in Germany, he defected and, after an audition in Paris, joined Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes.

From 1925 to 1933, Balanchine choreographed for various companies including the Opéra de Monte-Carlo, Ballets Russes, Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo, and Les Ballets. After meeting Lincoln Kirstein, an American writer, impresario, art connoisseur, and philanthropist, Balanchine accepted his invitation to establish an American ballet school and company in New York City. Balanchine went on to built his legacy of choreography and style in America from 1934 to 1983 until his death at the age of 79.

Tickets for Balanchine must be purchased by phone so the Box Office can ensure socially distanced seating for each patron. To purchase, please call 602-381-1096.

Ballet Arizona, Dorrance Theatre
April 23-25