Music: By Maurice Ravel (Valses Nobles et Sentimentales, 1911, orchestrated 1912; La Valse, 1920, commissioned by Serge Diaghilev).
Choreography: By George Balanchine.
Production: Costumes by Karinska. Lighting by Jean Rosenthal.
Premiere: February 20, 1951, New York City Ballet, City Center of Music and Drama, New York. Conductor: Leon Barzin.
Cast: VALSES NOBLES ET SENTIMENTALES: FIRST WALTZ, Overture (not danced); SECOND WALTZ: Vida Brown, Edwina Fontaine, Jillana; THIRD WALTZ: Patricia Wilde, Frank Hobi; FOURTH WALTZ: Yvonne Mounsey, Michael Maule; FIFTH WALTZ: Diana Adams, Herbert Bliss; SIXTH WALTZ: Adams; SEVENTH WALTZ: Bliss, Brown, Fontaine, Jillana; EIGHTH WALTZ: Tanaquil Le Clercq, Nicholas Magallanes; LA VALSE: Le Clercq, Magallanes, Francisco Moncion, 16 women, 9 men.
Note: The eight Valses Nobles et Sentimentales establish a mood of disturbed gaiety and impending catastrophe. In La Valse the stage becomes a ballroom of waltzing couples. The figure of Death, in black, enters; a girl in white dances with him. Waltzing ever faster, unable to resist him, she dies.
Film: 1973, RM Productions.
Video/DVD: 2004, Kultur, Balanchine (SECOND WALTZ).
Revisions: 1974, New York City Ballet: Figure of Death makes momentary appearance in EIGHTH WALTZ, foreshadowing events of LA VALSE.