Shadowplay (1967)



1975 - Mikhail Baryshnikov and Jonas Kage, American Ballet Theatre
Photo by L.D. Vartoogian; Photo Courtesy of Judith Chasin-Bennahum


Shadowplay does not resemble any of Tudor’s other ballets and reinforces his own dictum that he never liked to repeat himself. Though there is no synopsis of the ballet, the program for Shadow play explained that Tudor chose the main structure of his ballet from Koechlin’s “Les Bandar-Log” (1939), which is based on Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book (1894).

The theme of the ballet is growing up, or “a man’s progression to a state of nirvana beyond the distractions and irritations of the world. The young boy is beset by the menaces of the jungle (the world) and its creatures of the trees and of the air. He is confronted by a male figure (Lord of the Jungle or his earthly self). He is successively charmed and threatened by the celestial (a chaste goddess or seductress). In the end, he achieves his peace (manhood) through an act of will (or the sexual act).” (Cohen, Tudor and the Royal Ballet)

Antony Tudor
Music / Composer
Charles Koechlin
Les Bandar Log Opus 176, sections from La Course de Printemps Opus 95
Based on Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book
First Performance
Royal Opera House
Covent Garden
January 25, 1967
Royal Ballet
Cast First Performance
Anthony Dowell, Merle Park, Derek Rencher, Kenneth Mason, Lambert Cox, Keith Martin, Geoffrey Cauley, Peter O’Brien, Donald Kirkpatrick, Ann Howard, MarilynTrounson, Frank Freeman, Ann Jenner, Jennifer Penney, Dierdre O’Conaire, Christine Beckley, Roslind Eyre, Diana Vere, David Drew, Paul Brown
First NY Performance
New York
New York State Theater
July 23, 1975
American Ballet Theatre
1967 by Christopher Newton
(Benesh Notation)
1984-1985 by Judith Siddall (Labanotation)
Number of Dancers
9 Women, 11 Men
Average Length
27 Minutes
Costumes / Scenery
Royal Ballet of England; ABT
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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