Afternoon of a Faun
(Prelude a l’Après-midi d’un Faune, 1892-94)
Scenic and Lighting Design
May 14, 1953; New York City Ballet
May 11, 1978, performed by guest artists from New York City Ballet; November 4, 2011, staged for Pacific Northwest Ballet
The 2011 addition of Jerome Robbins’ Afternoon of a Faun to the Pacific Northwest Ballet repertory was made possible by H. David Kaplan.
Debussy’s music, Prelude a l′Après-midi d′un Faune, was composed between 1892 and 1894. It was inspired by a poem of Mallarme’s which was begun in 1876. The poem describes the reveries of a faun around a real or imagined encounter with nymphs. In 1912, Vaslav Nijinsky presented his famous ballet, drawing his ideas from many sources, including Greek sculpture and painting. This pas de deux, choreographed by Jerome Robbins, is a variation on these themes. It was first performed in 1953 by New York City Ballet and is dedicated to Tanaquil Le Clercq, for whom the ballet was choreographed.