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NYCB Vol. 11 No. 16 - Interplay

Updated: May 9

(L-R) Harold Lang, Tommy Rall, Janet Reed, Melissa Hayden [lifted], John Kriza [lifting],

Muriel Bentley, Fernando Alonso, Roszika Sabo.

Photo by Baron, 1945.

After premiering the ballet in a variety show on Broadway in June of 1945, Robbins premiered the ballet at the Metropolitan Opera House with American Ballet Theatre in October on the same year.

"Those who expect to find in Mr. Robbins' second ballet anything like a repetition of his first, Fancy Free, are doomed to disappointment. 'Interplay' is a pure abstraction, without story or characterizations of any kind. Indeed, the most important aspect of the work is just this; for in it the choreographer has freed himself from the danger of being typed as a composer of genre, not only in the public mind but also, no doubt, in his own. Except for its totally different idiom, this is not unlike something Balanchine might have done. It is primarily formal, light as a feather in substance, inventive for the most part, and extremely well made.

"Its idiom, to be sure, is altogether Robbins'. He has employed the basic approach of the classic ballet and its vocabulary to make a slightly jazzy, quite contemporary, American kind of dance. And he has done it quite easily and authoritatively. Just as the piquant style of Nijinski's Les 'Biches was in its creator's mind a kind of Sylphides of the mid-Twenties, this might be considered as the foundation of an American mid-Forties classic style. The ensembles are not nearly so good as the solo sections, but it is all young and thoroughly engaging and confirms beyond doubt Mr. Robbins' gifts as a choreographer. It is delightfully danced, especially by Janet Reed, Harold Lang and John Kriza, who have the solo assignments. The other five members of the cast, however, are also excellent. They are, for the record, Muriel Bentley, Roszika Sabo, an admirable newcomer named Mildred Herman [Melissa Hayden], Tommy Rall and Fernando Alonso, substituting for Michael Kidd."

"Of the new décor and costumes there are possible differences of opinion. Mr. Smith has done a more theatrical set but a less agreeable one than Carl Kent's for the earlier production. He and Miss [Irene] Sharaff have conspired on a deliberately sadistic combination of raw reds and oranges of various shades and the girls are not very attractively dressed in black tights and skimpy tunics. The work is clearly a success, however, and since it is just the type of simple, sprightly piece the repertoire needs, it is likely to be around for quite a while."

--John Martin, New York Times, November 18, 1945


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