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NYCB Vol. 8 No. 16 - Apollo

Updated: Apr 4

“Ballet began when Terpsichore touched Apollo’s finger, as on the Sistine ceiling God touches Adam’s, and inspired a pas de deux in which movement became form and bodies learned to speak and sing.”

— Porter, 1972.

Apollo is the oldest ballet in NYCB repertory. Choreographed by Balanchine in 1928, on Serge Lifar, for the Ballets Russes, it was not an immediate success. In 1937, Apollo was performed in America for the first time by Lew Christensen. It wasn’t until it was revived in 1957 for Jacques D’Amboise that it came to be regarded as the masterpieces that it is. (In part, owing to the costume change. Original costumes were designed by Coco Chanel. In 1957, the current design of practice clothes was implemented).

(top left) Alice Nikitina and Serge Lifar. 1928 (First production with the Ballet Russe)

(top right) Daphne Vane and Lew Christensen. Richard Tucker, 1937 (First American production)

(middle left) Suzanne Farrell and Jacques D’Amboise. Swope, 1967

(middle right) Patricia McBride, Balanchine, and Jean-Pierre Frohlich. Swope, 1980.

(bottom left) Heather Watts and Sean Lavery. Swope, 1986.


“It’s like the pope represents Christ. I represent Terpsichore, goddess of the dance.”

— Balanchine, May 1964.

(top left) Andre Eglevsky, Maria Tallchief, Tanaquil LeClercq, Diana Adams. George Platt Lynes, 1951.

(top right & bottom left) Eglevsky, Adams, Tallchief, LeClercq. Photos by Fred Fehl, 1950.

(bottom right) Maria Tallchief and André Eglevsky. Photo by Fred Fehl, 1950. Harry Ransom Center.


Check out the Apollo Ornament in the shop:

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