Choreography by Jerome Robbins
Staged by Jean-Pierre Frohlich
Music by Claude Debussy (Prélude a l’après-midi d’un faune)
Setting and original lighting by Jean Rosenthal
Costumes by Irene Sharaff
Lighting recreated by Perry Silvey

TIMING: 10:00

The scene is an empty ballet studio, the long mirror in which all dancers watch themselves being the fourth wall of stage convention – the audience. The Nymph and Faun are dancers who meet there by chance, and were it not that they are more absorbed in their own images in the mirror than in the reality of their intimate physical contact as they dance together, a romance might have ensued. Robbins is saying something fundamental about the essential narcissism of dancers.

Claude Debussy’s Prelude a l’aprés-midi d’un faune was composed between 1892 and 1894. It was inspired by a poem of Mallarmé’s which was begun in 1876. The poem describes the reveries of a faun and a real or imagined encounter with nymphs. In 1912 Vaslav Nijinsky presented his famous ballet, drawing his ideas from many sources including Greek sculpture and painting.

This pas de deux by Jerome Robbins is a variation on these themes and is dedicated to Tanaquil Le Clercq for whom the ballet was choreographed.

Afternoon of a Faun was given its World Premiere by New York City Ballet, City Center, New York on May 14, 1953, danced by Tanaquil LeClercq and Francisco Moncion.

Afternoon of a Faun was given its American Ballet Theatre Company Premiere at City Center, New York on October 19, 2005 danced by Julie Kent and Ethan Stiefel.

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