Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux

George Balanchine

A virtuosic ballet, Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux is brief, beautiful, and beloved – an adrenaline rush for both dancers and audiences.

For the original production of Swan Lake in Moscow in 1877, Tchaikovsky composed a pas de deux for Act III at the request of Anna Sobeshchanskaya, a Bolshoi prima ballerina who was one of the first dancers to perform the lead role. Since it was composed later than the rest of the music, it was not included in the published score and was therefore not available to Marius Petipa when he choreographed his famous Swan Lake in St. Petersburg, in 1895. In its place, Petipa moved some music from Act I to Act III, and it is this piece that is now well-known as the Black Swan pas de deux. Well over half a century later, the complete and original Swan Lake score was found, including an appendix with the lost pas de deux. Hearing of its historic discovery, George Balanchine asked for — and was granted — permission to use it for his own choreography. The result is an eight-minute display of ballet bravura and technique.

  • World premiere by: the New York City Ballet at the City Center, New York (USA), March 29 1960
  • Premiere by Compañía Nacional de Danza: at Teatro de la Zarzuela, Madrid (Spain), January 25 1984. Reset under the direction of Joaquín De Luz, Teatro de la Zarzuela, Madrid, July 12th 2022

Piotr Ilich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) studied at the Conservatory in St. Petersburg, where Balanchine later studied piano in addition to his studies in dance. Tschaikovsky is one of the most popular and influential of all romantic composers. His work is expressive, melodic, and grand in scale, with rich orchestrations. His output was prodigious and included chamber works, symphonies, concerti for various instruments, operas, and works f


  • Choreography:
    George Balanchine (1904-1983) - © The George Balanchine Trust
  • Music:
    Piotr Ilich Tchaikovsky (Swan Lake extract, Op. 20, Act III)
  • Staging:
    Nanette Glushak
  • Costume Design:
    Barbara Karinska
  • Lighting design:
    Jack Owen Brown (on the original by David Hays)
  • Costumes made by:
    CND wardrobe
  • Running time:
    10 minutes
  • Premiere reset cast CND:
    Elisabetta Formento, Thomas Giugovaz