Race, Gender, and a Modernist Masterpiece: Looking at Balanchine’s Agon

In 1957, George Balanchine and his fellow Russian émigré Igor Stravinsky astonished audiences with their revolutionary ballet Agon for the New York City Ballet. With a score combining French Renaissance dance melodies and twelve-tone invention, Agon's diverse cast wore simple black-and-white practice clothes and performed with unadorned clarity on a spare stage, laying bare the tensions of the civil rights movement, the struggles for gender equality, and the anxiety of the Cold War era. The dancing has an acute sense of competitive risk and elegant athleticism, with the pulse and energy of New York City itself. Balanchine ballerina Heather Watts puts this masterwork of abstraction in the context of its time and ours.

Speakers: Heather Watts
Festival: 2016

Watch and Listen: U.S.A.

Wonder what you ever did before Hamilton came along? So do we! Join us for a lively and informal behind-the-scenes look... See more
New legislation in front of Congress would make it legal to carry a concealed, loaded firearm from any state into any... See more
Norman Lear is the prolific television writer and producer of stories about diverse American life—among them “All in... See more
With nearly 40 million people, the innovation powerhouse of Silicon Valley, and the sixth-largest economy in the world... See more
Ideas about living a moral life can be found in all cultures across time. In previous eras, education was meant to... See more
American women have lived their daily lives — before and after the epic election of 2016 and its accompanying drama —... See more

Pages