When George Balanchine’s Symphonie Concertante was revived in 1983, it had not been seen since 1952, the year Balanchine let it drop from the New York City Ballet repertory. It was American Ballet Theatre that brought the work back to the stage, not, as one would expect, the New York City Ballet. And it was a ballet that even in its day divided viewers: you either got it (Edwin Denby: “delicate girlish, flower-freshness”) or you didn’t (John Martin: “perhaps Balanchine’s most boring work”). Because of these facts, the revival of Symphonie Concertante was controversial. Why was the ballet going to ABT, a company that couldn’t hope to perform it as young Balanchine dancers had? And if Balanchine chose to let it go, some argued, why shouldn’t we? After all, he’d choreographed it as a one-off for a single student performance in 1945, a program with the National...

 
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