The Tiller in the Fields (1978)



Tiller in the Fields continued Tudor's previous exploration of themes that are served by the wondrous, occasionally menacing, backdrop of nature. In Shadowplay, the Boy with Matted Hair struggled with the Arboreals and the Celestials in a world that is threatening, but ultimately comforting and accepting. The Leaves Are Fading embodies the romantic theme of love heightened by the concept of autumn leaves, fading and falling and swirling in the wind. In Tiller, nature and the passage of time surely and quietly take their course.

The Tiller, a young peasant boy opens the ballet with a spin and a fall to the ground landing in a languid posture that becomes his motif. It seems that he loves the sunshine far more than either work or women. As the village women cross the stage, he dances with one and melds into the ensemble of six couples with mazurka-like pushes of the heel into the floor and patterns of circles that fly out into space;

Similar to the intrusion of two boys in Sunflowers, Tiller introduces the outside person, this time a woman. Very dramatically, a different kind of figure intrudes into this bucolic setting. With one arm slung thoughtfully over her head, she immediately attracts the male with her soft dancing. Like heroines of romantic ballet, she appears only when his friends have left the scene and disappears when they return, unnoticed. He wonders whether she is just an ideal figure that he has imagined. She will become the agent of experience who destroys the earlier innocence of the hero.

Antony Tudor
Music / Composer
Antonin Dvorak
Symphony #2, Opus 4
Symphony #6, Opus 60
Overture In de Nat'r
Opus 91
First Performance
Washington, D.C.
Kennedy Center
December 13, 1978
American Ballet Theatre
Cast First Preformance
Patrick Bissell, Gelsey Kirkland, Nancy Collier, Cynthia Gast, Camille Izard, Lucette Katerndahl, Cristie Keramidas, Lisa Lockwood, Lisa Rienhart, Kristine Soleri, Brian Adams, John Gardner, Robert La Fosse, Danilo Radojevic
Dunya Ramicova
Ming Cho Lee
Thomas Skelton
1978 by Airi Hynninen
Number of Dancers
1+8 Women, 1+6 Men
Average Length
26 Minutes
Costumes / Scenery
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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