The Dim Lustre (1943)


Dim Lustre

Hugh Laing, Nora Kaye - Photo by Fred Fehl 1943
Photo courtesy of Judith Chasin-Bennahum


A whiff of perfume, the touch of a hand, a stolen kiss release whirls of memories which take the rememberers back briefly to other moments and leave them not exactly as they were before.

The ballet opens on a lush red backdrop rich in Viennese ballroom motifs and chandeliers, against which five orange and red waltzing couples, all looking very much alike, float and whirl through their predetermined steps and patterns. The Gentleman with Her kisses her on the shoulder, triggering a transformation. The lights go down, the music stops; the lights return to reveal the lady facing her double and moving exactly like her. In fact the stage seems to be divided horizontally by a huge mirror. How easily and quickly her mind takes her back to her youth when another young man, It Was Spring, kissed her on the shoulder. These momentary flashbacks are interrupted by the ballroom scene when the other dancing couples interpose themselves both spatially and psychically, tugging these day-night dreamers back to the present.

Antony Tudor
Music / Composer
Richard Strauss, Burleske for Piano and Orchestra
First Performance
New York - Metropolitan Opera House
October 20, 1943
Ballet Theatre
Original Cast
Nora Kaye, Hugh Laing, Muriel Bentley, Michael Kidd, John Kriza, Rosella Hightower, Janet Reed, Antony Tudor, Albia Kaven, Virginia Wilcox
Scenery / Costumes
Motley (Elizabeth Montgomery and Margaret Harris)
NYC Ballet Production
New York
New York State Theatre
May 6, 1964
(May 26, 1954)
Patricia McBride, Edward Villella,Sara Leland, Ramon Segarra, Robert Rodham, Suki Schorer, Mimi Paul, Richard Rapp
ABT Ballet Revival
May, 1985
ABT Cast (Revival)
Johan Renvall/John Meehan, Anna Spelman/Leslie Brown, Clark Tippet, Amanda McKerrow, Bonnie Moore
Scenery / Costumes
NYC Ballet - Beni Montresor
1984-86 by Airi Hynninen (Labanotation)
20 Minutes
Number of Dancers
6+5 Women, 4+5 Men
Scenery / Costume
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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