Most recent performance
There are currently no scheduled performances of Apollo. It was last on stage 22 February—14 March 2013.
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.
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. Balanchine's Apollo had its premiere in Paris in 1928 (a few months after the unsuccessful premiere of the score in Washington with choreography by Adolf Bolm), 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.
News and features
22 June 2015
Fantastical stories thousands of years old continue to influence today’s most prominent artists.
1 September 2014
How ancient mythological stories continue to inspire choreographers and dancers.
28 August 2014
Dance has long been inspired by myths and folk tales, with Deloitte Ignite offering extracts of classics and new works on one bill.
9 August 2014
What did you think of the Mariinsky's performance of Balanchine's double bill?
6 May 2014
See Jonathan Cope rehearsing Nicol Edmonds as Apollo in this exclusive Insights event footage.
31 October 2013
With The Rite of Spring returning, we look at some of Stravinsky's other iconic ballet scores.
Apollo (originally Apollon musagète and variously known as Apollo musagetes, Apolo Musageta, and Apollo, Leader of the Muses) is a ballet in two tableaux composed between 1927 and 1928 by Igor Stravinsky. It was choreographed in 1928 by balletmaster George Balanchine, with the composer contributing the libretto. The scenery and costumes were designed by André Bauchant, with new costumes by Coco Chanel in 1929. The scenery was executed by Alexander Shervashidze, with costumes under the direction of Mme. A. Youkine. The American patron of the arts Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge had commissioned the ballet in 1927 for a festival of contemporary music to be held the following year at the Library of Congress, in Washington, D.C.The story centres on Apollo, the Greek god of music, who is visited by three muses: Terpsichore, muse of dance and song; Polyhymnia, muse of mime; and Calliope, muse of poetry. The ballet plainly takes Classical antiquity as its subject, though its plot suggests a contemporary situation. It is concerned with the reinvention of tradition, since its inspiration is "classique", or even post-baroque; nevertheless, it uses a chamber orchestra, with only 34 string instruments (8. 220.127.116.11).