Australia 1900 – United States of America 1982
United States from 1919
Dancers from Igor Stravinsky's symphony, Jeu de cartes
[The card game] choreographed by Geprge Balanchine
Bruehl- Bourges process colour offset
image 27.7 (h) x 21.6 (w) cm
A ‘ballet in three deals,’ choreographed by George Balanchine with a score by Stravinsky, premiered on 27 April 1937 at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York. It was performed by the newly-formed Mordkin Ballet (which would be renamed the Ballet Theater in 1940 and the American Ballet Theater in 1956, one of the foremost ballet companies the twentieth century) with the composer conducting at the premiere. The idea of basing a ballet on a poker game may have come from Stravinsky who was a keen card player. Each act or ‘deal’ began with the same introduction or ‘shuffle,’ with the villain Joker having the power to turn the game of confrontations, alliances and combats through his ability to become any card. The transformation of a Surrealist language into a photographic style can be seen in this highly abstracted composition in which the figures seem to free-fall through space.