Choreography by Jerome Robbins
Staged by Jean-Pierre Frohlich
Music by Claude Debussy (Prélude a l’après-midi d’un
Setting and original lighting by Jean Rosenthal
Costumes by Irene Sharaff
Lighting recreated by Perry Silvey
The scene is an empty ballet studio, the long mirror in which all dancers
watch themselves being the fourth wall of stage convention – the audience.
The Nymph and Faun are dancers who meet there by chance, and were it not that
are more absorbed in their own images in the mirror than in the reality of
their intimate physical contact as they dance together, a romance might have
Robbins is saying something fundamental about the essential narcissism of dancers.
Claude Debussy’s Prelude a l’aprés-midi d’un faune was
composed between 1892 and 1894. It was inspired by a poem of Mallarmé’s
which was begun in 1876. The poem describes the reveries of a faun and a real
or imagined encounter with nymphs. In 1912 Vaslav Nijinsky presented his famous
ballet, drawing his ideas from many sources including Greek sculpture and painting.
This pas de deux by Jerome Robbins is a variation on these themes and is
dedicated to Tanaquil Le Clercq for whom the ballet was choreographed.
Afternoon of a Faun was given its World Premiere by New York City
Ballet, City Center, New York on May 14, 1953, danced by Tanaquil LeClercq
and Francisco Moncion.
Afternoon of a Faun was given its American Ballet Theatre Company
Premiere at City Center, New York on October 19, 2005 danced by Julie Kent
and Ethan Stiefel.