Most recent performance
There are currently no scheduled performances of Serenade. It was last on stage 14–26 May 2014.
This non-narrative ballet evokes a succession of shifting moods, taking its inspiration from the music, Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings.
Serenade was the first ballet that George Balanchine made after arriving in the United States in 1933. It was created on students in his newly formed School of American Ballet and retains a hint of its classroom origins. The opening tableau – 17 dancers assembled in slanting lines – was determined by the number of students who came to the first class. When one girl arrived late and another fell and started to cry, Balanchine absorbed the incidents into his choreography.
Balanchine described Serenade as ‘dancers in motion to a beautiful piece of music’. The corps de ballet is in near-constant movement, flowing in and out of patterns with an extraordinary sense of speed. Although 80 years old, Serenade is one of Balanchine’s most popular works – as loved by audiences and dancers as it was by its creator. Balanchine continued to rework the ballet throughout his lifetime, and it is now regularly performed by companies around the world.
News and features
With a slip of the foot: How rehearsal mishaps and improvisation can leave a lasting legacy in ballet choreography
19 May 2014
15 May 2014
14 May 2014
23 April 2014
25 April 2013
Serenade is a ballet by George Balanchine to Tschaikovsky's 1880 Serenade for Strings in C, Op. 48. Students of the School of American Ballet gave the first performance on Sunday, 10 June 1934 on the Felix M. Warburg estate in White Plains, N.Y., where Mozartiana had been danced the previous day. This was the first ballet that Balanchine choreographed in America. It was then presented by the Producing Company of the School of American Ballet on 6 December at the Avery Memorial Theatre of the Wadsworth Atheneum, to return the favor of sponsoring Balanchine's immigration to America. The official premiere took place on 1 March 1935 with the American Ballet at the Adelphi Theatre, New York, conducted by Sandor Harmati. NYCB principal dancer Philip Neal chose to include Serenade in his farewell performance on Sunday, 13 June 2010. The blue tutus used in Serenade inspired the naming of the Balanchine crater on the planet Mercury.