Sacramento Ballet performance of John Philip Souza’s Stars and Stripes, February 2015.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Stars and Stripes is a ballet in five “campaigns,” choreographed by George Balanchine in 1958 to original music by John Philip Sousa, arranged by Hershy Kay. It lasts an average of 28 minutes.
The ballet, which evokes Fourth of July parades, is one of several of Balanchine salutes to his adoptive country. It is a full-company ballet complete with baton twirling, military marching and a regiment of rifle-bearing ballerinas. The fourth campaign is a challenging pas de deux with a coda set to the Liberty Bell and El Capitan marches which shows the virtuosity of the dancers.
The original cast included four New York City Ballet stars of their time: Canadian ballerina Melissa Hayden and Americans Jacques d’Amboise, Allegra Kent and Diana Adams. It premiered January 17, 1958 at City Center of Music and Drama, New York, with costumes by Barbara Karinska and lighting by Mark Stanley. When Balanchine was asked for his reason to choreograph a ballet to Sousa’s marches, he famously replied: “Because I like his music.”