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San Francisco Ballet is performing Balanchine's Serenade as part of the 2010 season's Program 3. The company website is starting to post casts, and I'm a little confused about the following:

Waltz couple [male and female]

Russian Girl [female]

Angel [female]

Dark Angel [male]

I've never seen the entire ballet, but I always thought the Dark Angel was a female role, and don't remember ever hearing just plain 'Angel' mentioned. Can someone enlighten me? Thanks!

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the wording here is not that of the usual nicknames for these roles.

it's always important to rem. too that Balanchine, to the best of my knowledge, didn't use these terms - certainly his program copy never published these designations - they are used mostly by insiders and fans.

what this rundown means, i suspect, is that the ballerina elsewhere called the 'dark angel,' is the central figure (of fate?) in the Elegy; she is paired with the ballet's second leaing man in SERENADE as it's done nowadays, and that's the dancer this rundown is calling the 'dark angel' - other parlance would have him 'named' perhaps, as the partner of the 'dark angel.'

also the 'Russian Girl' in this listing simply means the ballerina who would dance the central role in the Tema Russe.

i think NYCB nicknames would go more as follows:

Waltz dancer [female]

Waltz partner [male]

Tema Russe dancer [female]

Elegy/Dark Angel dancer [female]

Elegy dancer's partner [male]

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I'm reviving this thread to point people to the very informative Conversations on Ballet interview with Alastair Macaulay regarding the history of Serenade. This is a very in-depth discussion, with lots of technical bits, but I think fans of this Balanchine ballet will find it to be very worthwhile.




'For the past 30 years Alastair has been researching George Balanchine’s Serenade and has recently complied his work into a Symposium  at the New York Public Library entitled “Balanchine’s Serenade: An Evening of Films, Commentary, and Memories.”'


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