Showcasing the technique of classical ballet at its peak, the form and movement of Divertissement d'Auber runs the gamut of the dancer's virtuoso vocabulary.
Divertissement d'Auber was created in 1959 as a pas de trois to showcase three of San Francisco Ballet's finest dancers, Jocelyn Vollmar, Richard Carter, and Fiona Fuerstner. In 1963, Christensen expanded the work into a ballet for 18 dancers including the pas de trois as the central movement. The principal dancers for that occasion included Cynthia Gregory, Terry Orr, and Virginia Johnson. The original pas de trois, however, is the version most often performed today.
Divertissement d'Auber is set to excerpts from Daniel Francois Aubert's dazzling operatic overtures: The Bronze Horse, The Crown Diamonds, Fra Diavolo, and The Black Domino. It is quicksilver, joyous music that inspired Christensen's most brilliant and effervescent choreographic style. Divertissement d'Auber is a staple of the Christensen canon.
Restaged for San Francisco Ballet's 1987 season, San Francisco Chronicle dance critic Robert Commanday derscribed Divertissement d'Auber as "pure, ingenious choreography."
Photograph: Peter Taylor in the San Francisco Ballet performances of Divertissement d'Auber (1988). Photo by Jack Mitchell.
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