• Peter Dickinson
  • Juilliard Dances (1959)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)
  • 10110110percpfvc
  • 12 min

Programme Note


Allegro - Adagio - Allegro

These three dances were written when I was a post-graduate student at the Juilliard School of Music in New York 1958/9. Three composers were invited to write music for an abstract dance which already existed, with choreography by William Hugg. This was an experiment in reversing the normal process of ballet choreographed to existing music. The three composers - myself, Leonardo Balada and Dorothy Hill (Klotzman) - spent many evenings watching the dancers and plotting their scores. Eventually the ballet was given three times with the three different scores in the same programme.

The dancers appeared in practice costumes and there was no set and of course no scenario, so the music is not tied to any sequence of events. However, I remember the choreographer specifying the flashing traffic lights and city bustle of New York in the first dance; a rather unhappy but erotic pas de deux in the second one; and a cheerful party atmosphere, including wolf whistles, in the rather jazzy final dance. The instruments are flute, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, trombone, piano, cello and percussion. The first British performance was at the Barber Institute of the University of Birmingham on February 27, 1970, conducted by David Greer.