Attended by the male dancer, the ballerinas move together in a whirl of perpetual motion. The 1967 rendering of Valse-Fantaisie was originally presented as the second section of Glinkiana, which was choreographed to four different compositions by Glinka. The music, roughly contemporaneous with the waltzes of Frederic Chopin, is fast and light, although it was popularly called “the Melancholy Waltz.”
Mikhail Glinka (1804-1857), Russia’s first national composer, has been called the Mozart of his country. He is best known for his operas A Life for the Tsar and Ruslan and Ludmila. As a student at the Maryinsky Theatre, Balanchine danced in the latter; in 1969 he directed and choreographed the opera for the State Opera of Hamburg.