Pas de Trois (Minkus)

Balanchine considered this work a restaging of the pas de trois from Marius Petipa’s ballet Paquita. He changed some steps for the 1951 New York City Ballet version. The ballet was intended as a tour de force for its three dancers as its demanding choreography poses a nonstop test of technique and virtuosity.

Léon Minkus (1826-1917), born in Vienna, was a composer and violinist of Czech or Polish origin. In the early 1850’s he went to Russia, where he had a successful career as a concert violinist. Beginning as a soloist at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow in 1861, he became its conductor from 1862-1872. His debut as a composer in Russia was in 1869 with the ballet Don Quixote; the scenario was by Petipa. In 1872 he was appointed ballet composer to the Imperial Theaters in St. Petersburg. He continued his association with Petipa with a long series of ballets that were popular in their day, but are now largely forgotten. Among those that have survived are Don Quixote, La Bayadère, and Paquita.

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 uncredited.
The George Balanchine Trust - Pas de Trois Minkus
Choreography:  George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust
Music:  from Paquita
Composer:  Minkus, Leon
Premiere:  1948
Average Length:  8 minutes
No. Dancers:  3