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Bartók Concerto [1972, Chicago, Hyde Park High School]

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Video Identifier: V.2011-05-0491
Run Time
0h 19m 38s
Date Produced
"Bartók Concerto" is a ballet choreographed by Ben Stevenson in 1969, set to Béla Bartók's 1943 composition Concerto for Orchestra

This video appears to represent a rehearsal of several movements from Stevenson's ballet, recorded at Hyde Park High School on November 30, 1972. The container notes suggest that another ballet, entitled "Moments from Shakespeare" was rehearsed at the same time, but it is unclear whether or not portions of it are rehearsed in this video.
The video begins with a static-ridden shot of a stage, where a curtain opens and, after a bit more static, a row of four female dancers in long dresses becomes visible, posed on stage left. After they stand posed for approximately a full minute, the row begins dancing across the stage in unison. As the ensemble choreography continues, the camera pulls back and the dancers perform in various "cannon" formations, keeping their hands clasped near their waists--almost religiously. When the music swells, their arms open out and they begin more dramatic choreography (including jumps). Next, the dancers take turns performing solos while the rest remain posed. Each seems to represent a different emotional state, tied to a different musical mood in the concerto. Finally, the dancers all join back together for a brief finale, all ending in a final pose.

The video then cuts to a different movement, in which the four posed female dancers are joined onstage by four male dancers wearing cloaks. After they dance around the female dancers for a few bars, the female dancers exit as two of the male dancers break off and perform their own choreography. Then, one of the men breaks away, removes his cloak, and performs while the other three stand posed in a row on stage right. To end his dance, he falls to the ground as the remaining cloaked men dance toward him aggressively. Another then breaks away and begins a vigorous solo dance, removing his cloak in the process. Following him, the final cloaked men do the same in turn. Afterwards, the fallen man rises again and the four slowly rejoin each other, eventually performing a final ensemble dance. Once they strike their final pose, one of the dancers breaks character and the video ends there.
Additional Credit
Bartók, Béla (is composer)
Stevenson, Ben (is choreographer)
Related Place
Chicago (production location of)