George Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante is danced to Tchaikovsky’s unfinished third piano concerto, the last music he composed before his death. In the sweeping style of the music, the choreography alternates between fast-moving ensemble passages and contrasting sections of peaceful lyricism. Although Allegro Brillante was choreographed as a last-minute replacement for a canceled work, Balanchine claimed the ballet “contains everything I know about classical ballet—in thirteen minutes.” (The ballet’s current running time is slightly longer, but it certainly reflects the breadth and wealth of Balanchine’s encyclopedic knowledge of the art form.)
Allegro Brillante was first presented by Pacific Northwest Dance Ballet Company in 1977 in a staging by Melissa Hayden. The ballet was restaged for the Company by Francia Russell in 1979 and by Peter Boal, to open Pacific Northwest Ballet’s 50th anniversary season, in 2022.
Notes by Jeanie Thomas; edited/updated by Doug Fullington.