This week we welcome Elyse Borne into our studios to set Balanchine’s energetic Allegro Brillante. Ms. Borne’s spry spirit seems to embody the ballet: abbreviated in length, yet loquacious as can be. I could explain what I mean, but I think Mr. B has already done a better job than I could…
Balanchine described Allegro as “a concentrated essay in the extended classical vocabulary, in which a maximum amount of choreographic development is contained within a rather restricted area of time and space…It contains everything I know about the classical ballet in 13 minutes.” Oof.
Maria Tallchief, the ballerina goddess on which this work was originally choreographed, defined it as “an expansive Russian romanticism.” Of course, Balanchine’s work is notoriously tied to music, and Allegro seems to go one step further, sewing itself in and out of Tchaikovsky’s fast paced score to make the movements appear even more difficult and impressive.
While I have relearned a crucial lesson in not getting one’s hopes up (stay tuned for a story), right now I am enjoying the opportunity to learn Ms. Tallchief’s role in this joyous ballet, with coaching from the human brillante herself. Back to Ms. Borne…
She’s a ball of energy with a perfect manicure and red lips that leave a punchy kiss on each of her adorably sassy little isms. One of my favorites from yesterday:
“Whatever melts your butter. Speaking of melting butter…” On choosing port de bras, and transitioning from a la seconde into penché.
photo of Elyse Borne, c/o The Balanchine Trust.