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 choreography19 May 2014
George Balanchine isn't the only choreographer to be influenced by the environment of the rehearsal studio.
15 May 2014
What did you think of The Royal Ballet's Mixed Programme?
14 May 2014
A quick guide to The Royal Ballet's triple programme of one-act ballets by Balanchine, Scarlett and Wheeldon.
23 April 2014
Cast changes announced for performances of Serenade, Sweet Violets and DGV.
25 April 2013
From the damning to the indecipherable, a look at Balanchineisms.
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 of Serenade on Sunday, June 10, 1934, on the Felix M. Warburg estate in White Plains, N.Y., where Mozartiana had been danced the previous day. It was the first ballet that Balanchine choreographed in America. It was then presented by the Producing Company of the School of American Ballet on December 6 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 March 1, 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, Sunday, June 13, 2010. The blue tutus used in Serenade inspired the naming of the Balanchine crater on the planet Mercury.