Afternoon of a Faun


Claude Debussy
(Prelude a l’Après-midi d’un Faune, 1892-94)


Jerome Robbins


Bart Cook

Scenic and Lighting Design

Jean Rosenthal

Costume Design

Irene Sharaff


10 minutes


May 14, 1953; New York City Ballet

PNB Premiere

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.

Program Notes

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.

Notes courtesy of the Robbins Rights Trust.