Danse Classique (1988)

Duration 22’
Originally for piano solo, later extended and orchestrated for full orchestra
First performed at the Minerva, Chichester, as part of the 1988 Ballet Central Tour
First orchestral performance by the Northern Ballet Theatre Orchestra, conducted by Brian Fieldhouse with David Chapman (piano)
Choreographed by Michael Pink and Jackie Barrett

Starting life as little more than a demonstration of ballet technique as an opening number for the 1988 Ballet Central Tour, Danse Classique grew into a full-blown exhibition piece, that was later extended and taken into the Northern Ballet Theatre rep by Christopher Gable. In fact it was Gable who sensed that, after the sparkling opening, to revert to the dynamics of the ballet class would be pedantic and deflating. Thereafter Pink and Barrett were intent on choreographing a work that extolled and celebrated the classical technique of the title.

Danse Classique is in three genuine movements, and employs a nineteenth century symphonic ballet language. In fact, when orchestrated, it betrays its pianistic origin by transforming itself into, pretty much, a romantic piano concerto, particularly in the Lisztian slow movement. Since he didn’t have to play the difficult solo part in the orchestral version, the composer made it even more taxing in its orchestral guise, much to the musicians’ alarm!