Music: Piotr Illitch Tchaikovsky
Choreography: Leonid Massine. Sets and costumes: André Masson.
Premiere: on April 13, 1933 by the Ballets Russes du Colonel de Basil in Monte-Carlo.
Dancers at the premiere: Irina Baronova, Tatiana Riabouchinska, Nina Verchinina, David Lichine, Leon Woizikowsky.
In 1933 he created his first symphonic ballet, Les Présages, using Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony.
Although dancers such as Isadora Duncan had previously used symphonic music, Massine's choreography
more completely paralleled the structure of the music. The symbolic characterizations of Les Présages were
innovative because they relied on dance itself rather than costuming or props to convey their identity.
Choreartium, first performed in London (1933) and danced to Johannes Brahms's Fourth Symphony, created
even greater controversy; its second movement was close to modern dance in movement style. Critics declared
it was both blasphemous and redundant to add dance to these musical masterpieces. With their eventual acceptance,
Massine's symphonic ballets effected a choreographic revolution and in turn led to reforms in costuming and sets.
By Steve Crook