Artistic director Peter Boal commissioned Tharp to create two new works for the Pacific Northwest Ballet: Afternoon Ball and Opus 111. The two works, performed back-to-back, form an opposition pair – one work light and classical, the other cold and contemporary.
Afternoon Ball is a portrait of a lost generation. Three ragamuffins perform simultaneous solos; their isolated dances finally merging into a disconnected trio.
One performer is transported to an earlier era, as two other dancers in Biedermeir costumes enter and warm lights rise. Composer Vladimir Martynov’s references to Franz Schubert stand in stark contrast to the dissonance of the previous section.