The serenade, in its most common form, is a piece of music composed in honour of somebody and typically played in the evening, outdoors. When played at sunrise, it is known as an aubade. Since the Middle Ages, passionate lovers and seasoned seducers have sung of their amorous woes beneath their beloved’s window, accompanied by a stringed instrument such as a mandolin or, if assisted by accomplices, an ensemble of fellow musicians. The serenade became a musical genre in its own right and was adopted by Tchaikovsky in 1880 with his Serenade for Strings in C major. In 1934, Balanchine set his first American ballet, Serenade, to Tchaikovsky’s piece, combining all the key elements of neoclassicism: restrained lines, clear movement and dynamic dancing.
Along a continuum of three choreographies, Bruno Bouché (artistic director of the OnR Ballet), Gil Harush and Brett Fukuda (dancer and choreographer of the OnR Ballet) explore different artistic fields, some of which are addressed by Balanchine’s iconic work: string ensembles, a simple open stage, verticality, and the scope of human relationships. A serenade for three voices accompanied by musicians from the Mulhouse Symphony Orchestra.