The Clowns

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.

Additional resources

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2 Responses to The Clowns

  1. Roger says:

    Hi! I wanted to make sure you and your followers know about this site:

    It’s th site for the Arpino Joffrey Foundation, with a clip from a performance of “The Clowns.”

  2. Marin Rose says:

    Thank you, Roger, for your wonderful link!

    Here is the link for The Clowns clips.

    Check out other beautiful Arpino pieces, choreographed for The Joffrey, including
    Sea Shadow (one of my favorite ballets):

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