Divertimento No. 15

Originally, Balanchine had planned to revive Caracole, an earlier work to the same score, but he instead created a new ballet that used many steps from Caracole. The new ballet was named after the music, which Balanchine considered the finest divertimento ever written.

The divertimento genre reached its zenith amid the parties and informal entertainments of 18th-century aristocratic life. Divertimentos did not have a fixed structure; the number of movements could vary from one to twelve, and they could be scored for one instrument or a chamber orchestra.

Divertimento No. 15 was choreographed for eight principal dancers, five women and three men, with an ensemble of eight women. The ballet omits the second minuet and the andante from the sixth movement; a new cadenza for violin and viola by John Colman was added in the late 1960’s.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791), from Austria, was one of the supreme musical geniuses of all time. He excelled in all forms of music, including opera, symphonies, concerti for various instruments, and chamber, vocal, piano and choral music, leaving a legacy that is one of the greatest achievements in music. Mozart was considered by many to be the finest pianist, organist, and conductor in Europe. He was a famous child prodigy, and possessed a natural facility for music that is unsurpassed in the history of the art.

Repertory notes provided courtesy of and adapted from New York City Ballet Online Repertory Index. Additional sources: Choreography by George Balanchine: A Catalogue of Works, An Eakins Press Foundation Book, published by Viking (1984); and Repertory in Review: 40 Years of the New York City Ballet by Nancy Reynolds (1970; The Dial Press).
Photo credit: Photo © Paul Kolnik
Choreography:  George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust
Music:  Divertimento No. 15 in B-flat major, K.287
Composer:  Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus
Premiere:  1956
Average Length:  33 minutes
No. Dancers:  16