Passamezzi (1962)



This five-minute mini-ballet was created for the Gradus ad Parnassum (l962) Ballet Studies performance that included Dance Studies (Less Orthodox), Trio con Brio, and Little Improvisations. . . . In the case of Passamezzi, one might ask the question, How short is a ballet, or should a ballet be? Baroque music by Antonio Gardano with a Spanish flavor accompanies this brief but elegant piece with a strong sense of period style. Upstage there is a Moorish shaped arch, downstage a bench two young men and a young woman are sitting on, their backs to the audience. The dance seems to include ideas from his other short pieces. The genteel young men carry a cloth, and in turn, each of them does a patterned, baroque-inspired dance. When she sits back down on the bench, each man comes out as if to competitively woo her. Tudor plays with the baroque dance forms. The cloth first hides a bouquet of flowers, then a medieval orb, a symbol of office that represents the kingdom. Finally the cloth conceals a skull, which the young woman chooses, adding a sardonic touch to what appeared to be an innocent game. The young woman finishes under the arch with her young man (who presented the skull) in a lunge looking downstage. Tudor makes no attempt here to test the virtuosic mettle of these dancers. Rather, he concentrates on the carriage of the body, gesture, and rhythmic sensitivity. In this interesting and musically complex piece, Tudor used a minimal and compressed dance vocabulary.

Antony Tudor
Music / Composer
Antonio Gardano
Passamezzi from a collection of Keyboard pieces entitled Intravolatura Nova de Varie Sorte di Balli (1951)
First Performance
New York, The Juilliard School, March 8, 1962, The Juilliard Dance Ensemble
Filmed at Juilliard
Number of Dancers
1 Women 2 Men
Average Length
5 ½ minutes
Costumes / Scenery
Licensing Information

Ballet Synopsis excerpted with permission from
The Ballets of Antony Tudor by Judith Chazin-Bennahum.



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