Choreography: Gerald Arpino
Music: Hershey Kay
Debut: Joffrey Ballet 1968
Clowns – scary, right? Well, the ballet seems to add a new dimension of eeriness to the subject.
Little is available online in terms of video or commentary but Balanchine deemed it worthy of inclusion in “101.” The ballet begins with a sort of inverted Big Bang, leaving a sole surviving clown among a heap of deceased victims. The survivor manages somehow to revive his dead companions, who in turn tap into previously undiscovered human tendencies toward violence and cruelty. When their wrath turns on the survivor, he succumbs to his own baseness. Imprisoning them all in a giant balloon, he again is the sole survivor.