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Introduction

The ballet relates events surrounding Apollo, Greek god of music, from his birth to his assumption of the leadership of the muses on Mount Parnassus.

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Background

George Balanchine was just 24 when he created his ballet about the youthful Greek god Apollo. It was a landmark in his career, in which he moved from the modernism of earlier works to re-embrace and reinterpret classical choreography. The ballet also marked the start of a long, collaborative relationship with Igor Stravinsky, who produced a score of neoclassical vitality. Apollo had its premiere in 1928 and its success launched Balanchine onto the international stage.

The ballet opens with the birth of Apollo against a luminous blue background, evoking the Aegean Sea. Three muses, wearing brilliant white costumes, dance solo variations before Apollo dances a pas de deux with Terpsichore, the muse of dance. Balanchine’s choreography is perfectly in tune with Stravinsky’s music, which moves between dynamic playfulness and moments of solemnity.