How Near Heaven

How Near Heaven
World premiere date
Premiere location place
Washington, DC
Dance sections

1.Theme/Adagio: Full Cast

2. March: Moore, Boggs, Graffin and Dokukin, Kalinin, Roberts, Selya

3. Romance: Herrera, Boggs, Graffin and Black, Brown, Mau, Tuttle, Brown, Chen, Snyder, Sundstrom

4. Aria Italiana: Herrera, Moore, Black, Brown, Mau, Tuttle, Brown, Chen, Snyder, Sundstrom

5. Bouree Classique: Boggs, Graffin, Dokukin, Kalinin, Roberts, Selya, Black, Brown, Mau, Tuttle

6. Wiener Walzer: Harvey, Askegard and Full Cast

7. Moto Perpetuo: Harvey, Herrera, Moore, Black, Brown, Mau, Tuttle, Brown, Chen, Snyder, Sundstrom

8. Funeral March: Harvey, Askegard, Herrera, Moore and Dokukin, Kalinin, Roberts, Selya

9. Chant: Herrera, Moore

10. Fugue and Finale: Full Cast


Shawn Black, Sandra Brown, Sara Mau, Ashley Tuttle, Gabrielle Brown, Yan Chen, Johanna Snyder, Lisa Sundstrom

Andrei Dokukin, Vladislav Kalinin, Keith Roberts, John Selya

Total number of dancers
Other program information

Conductor: Jack Everly
Assistant to Miss Tharp: Shelley Washington Whitman

How Near Heaven was Tharp’s first commission for American Ballet Theatre under the leadership of artistic director Kevin McKenzie. The ballet featured three of the company’s principal ballerinas: Kathleen Moore, Paloma Herrera, in one of her first roles as principal, and Cynthia Harvey, who would retire the following year.

The two young ballerinas (Herrera was only 19 at the time) mirror each other through folk and social dance sequences. Quick steps and explosive jumps characterize their phrases. They are mythological twins – representations of duality and the constancy of change.      

The third ballerina is measured and controlled. She is often partnered in high, sustained lifts, elevating her above the action onstage. Poised and mature, she personifies unification.

  • How Near Heaven
    Members of the ensemble in performance. ©Richard Greenhouse
  • How Near Heaven
    Harvey (lifted) with members of American Ballet Theatre. ©Jack Vartoogian
Video URL
Video Description

Dancers of American Ballet Theatre in a 1996 restaging.

Full music program

Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge for String Orchestra, Op. 10
Composed by Benjamin Britten - 1937

Variation 1: Adagio
Variation 2: March
Variation 3: Romance
Variation 4: Aria Italiana
Variation 5: Bourrée classique
Variation 6: Wiener Waltzer
Variation 7: Moto perpetuo
Variation 8: Funeral March
Variation 9: Chant
Variation 10: Fugue and Finale

Music details
Music track
Audio sample

Variation 3: Romance
Composed by Benjamin Britten

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Metropolitan Opera House
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Metropolitan Opera House
New York, NY
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Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
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