Dark Elegies (1937)


Dark Elegies

ABT - Fall, 2005. Julie Kent and Grant Delong
Photo courtesy of Sally Brayley Bliss


Dark Elegies is danced to the Song Cycle Kindertotenlieder (“Songs on the Death of Children”) by Gustav Mahler (1860-1911). This is a work consisting of five songs to lyrics by Friedrich Rückert.

Tudor described this work as his favorite ballet. And many consider it to be his greatest. From tender moments of quiet devastation to careering bursts of rage, Tudor’s “ballet requiem,” set to Mahler’s absorbing Kindertotenlieder, expresses the raw emotion of a tight –knit community faced with the inexplicable loss of their beloved children.

Kindertotenlieder - German / English Translation


Antony Tudor
Music / Composer
Gustav Mahler
Scenery / Costumes
Nadia Benois N/A
First Performance
London - Duchess Theatre
February 19, 1937
Ballet Rambert
First Cast Performance
Peggy van Praagh, Maude Lloyd, Antony Tudor, Walter Gore, John Byron, Agnes de Mille, Hugh Laing, Daphne Gow, Ann Gee, Patricia Clogstoun, Beryl Kay, Celia Franks (Franca), John Byron; Singer: Harold Child, Baritone
First US Performance
New York - Center Theatre
January 24, 1940
Ballet Theater
First US Performance Cast
Nina Stroganova, Miriam Golden, Lucia Chase, Hugh Laing, Dmitri Romanoff, Antony Tudor
First Canadian Performance
Kingston - Ontario
Kingston Memorial Centre
November 15, 1955
National Ballet of Canada
First Swedish Performance
Royal Opera House
September 6, 1961
Royal Swedish Ballet
Swedish Costumes / Sets
Roland Svensson
First French Performance
Paris - Opera Comique
February I8, 1985
Paris Opera Ballet
"Hommage a Antony Tudor"
1980 by Airi Hynninen
1981 by Elizabeth Cunlieffe
(Benesh Notation)
1983 by Agneta Stjernlof
(Benesh Notation)
Number of Dancers
3+5 Women, 3+1 Men
Average Length
25 Minutes
ABT, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, Ballet Rambert, Boston Conservatory; Star Dancers (Japan); Jose Limon Dance Co.
ABT, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Ballet Rambert, Star Dancers (Japan)
Licensing Information
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Ballet Synopsis excerpted with permission from
The Ballets of Antony Tudor by Judith Chazin-Bennahum.



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