The Elements

The Elements
World premiere date
Premiere location place
New York, NY
Dance sections

I. Chaos
McKerrow/Braun, Butler/Roberts, Moore/Chapman, Selya, Boggs, Belotserkovsky, Tuttle, Brown, Black, Corella, Dokukin, Fagan, Kalinin, Martin, Maynard

II. Earth and Water (Air pour les violons)
Chapman, McKerrow, Belotserkovsky, Tuttle

III. Fire (Chaconne)
Moore, Braun, Roberts, Butler, Selya, Chapman, McKerrow, Tuttle, Black

IV. Air (Ramage)
Boggs, Braun, Selya, Chapman, Roberts, Belotserkovsky

V. Nightingales
Black, McKerrow, Tuttle, Moore, Butler, Brown

VI. Loure (La Chasse)
Selya, Black, Butler, Belotserkovsky, Moore, Braun, McKerrow, Chapman

VII. Tambourin
Brown, Boggs, Roberts, Braun, Tuttle, Chapman, Selya, Belotserkovsky

VIII. Sicilienne
Roberts, Butler

IX. Rondeau (Air pour l’amour)
Butler, Selya, Boggs, Braun, Chapman, Roberts, Belotserkovsky, Moore, McKerrow, Brown, Black, Tuttle

X. Caprice
Braun, Company

Chorus

Angel Corella, Andrei Dokukin, Jonathan Fagan, Vladislav Kalinin, Christopher Martin, Parrish Maynard

Total number of dancers
18
Runtime
00:22:14
Other program information

Costumes executed by Barbara Matera
Ballet Mistress for Twyla Tharp: Shelley Washington Whitman

From the original program: "Jean-Féry Rebel (1666-1747) was a violinist, harpsichordist, conductor, and composer at the court of Versailles. Les Élémens was his last work, which he was coaxed out of retirement to write in 1737. Composed for the dancers of the Academia Royale, it is the old master's account of the evolution of the cosmic order from cosmic chaos."

The Elements follows the progression from chaos to order enacted by Rebel’s Baroque score. In the opening section, classical vocabulary clashes with disparate movement styles. The dancers move through the rapid succession of steps with uninhibited quickness. Flashing lights and the dissonant music add to the primal energy onstage.

As the ballet develops, Tharp untangles the knot of movement presented in the opening sections. The elements are distilled in turn until the final section, when they are reassembled in rational, Newtonian harmony. 

  • The Elements
    Butler and Roberts in performance. ©Paul Kolnik
Video Description

Dancers of American Ballet Theatre in rehearsal.

Full music program

Les Élémens
Composed by Jean-Féry Rebel - 1747

I. Le cahos
II. Loure I: La terre et l'eau
III. Chaconne: Le feu
IV. Ramage: L'air
V. Rossignols
VI. Loure II
VII. Tambourins I & II
VIII. Sicilienne
IX. Rondeau: Air pour l'Amour
X. Caprice

Music details
Music track
webmusic-the_elements.mp3
Elements | American Ballet Theatre
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA
The Elements | American Ballet Theatre
Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
Los Angeles, CA
Elements (premiere) - How Near Heaven - Americans We | American Ballet Theatre
Metropolitan Opera House
New York, NY