On a darkened stage, a solitary, troubled young man enters and kneels. He is approached by a young woman who seeks to comfort him. They dance together and embrace; in the end she departs, and he is alone again.
Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky (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 for piano. His creations for the ballet, composed in close partnership with Marius Petipa, include Swan Lake, The Nutcracker and, The Sleeping Beauty.