Brief Fling is Mikhail Baryshnikov’s last commission from Twyla Tharp during his tenure as artistic director of American Ballet Theatre. The title references both the traditional Scottish dance and a short-lived romance. Isaac Mizrahi’s tartan costumes divide the dancers into clans of blue, red, green, and off-white.
In the opening section, two soloist couples in red and a quartet in green punch out syncopated phrases to a military tattoo. The principal couple clad in blue, originally danced by Cheryl Yeager and Julio Bocca, performs an extended set of variations to an English folk song backed by the ensemble dancers dressed in off-white. The finale features each clan in succession, compounding into a furioso fugue.
The score by Michel Colombier intersperses Percy Grainger’s sunny interpretations of traditional melodies from the United Kingdom with an ominous electronic score.
Notes courtesy of Twyla Tharp Productions. Used by permission.
Pacific Northwest Ballet’s 2016 performances of Twyla Tharp’s Brief Fling mark the first-ever performances of this ballet with live music. PNB thanks Dana Colombier for providing original musical materials.