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The Kid Should See This

The Mistake Waltz (with an Anatomy of a Dance)

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What happens when you’re very into the music that you’re dancing to? And maybe that’s put you in your own world… even while you’re performing? This movement of mistakes, purposeful mistakes set to Frédéric Chopin’s Waltz in E Minor, is from the Pacific Northwest Ballet. In 2002, The New York Times suggested “that this incident may represent a choreographer’s nightmare.”

Behold ‘The Mistake Waltz‘ from choreographer Jerome RobbinsThe Concert (or, The Perils of Everybody), which premiered in 1956. Open Culture provides some context for what we’re watching:

Performed well, the silliness seems almost improvisational, but as with all of this legendary choreographer’s work, the spontaneous beats are very, very specific.

It only works if the dancers have the technical prowess and the comic chops to pull it off.

Pacific Northwest Ballet's Mistake Waltz
This New York City Ballet version, an ‘Anatomy of a Dance’ narrated by dancer Lydia Wellington, explains what’s going on in each section of the “dizzy, daffy comic” performance. She notes:

“It does feel really good to make the audience laugh. Laughter is a very rare response to get from a ballet. Hearing an audience applaud is one thing, but hearing them laugh is a much more genuine response, and makes us feel really proud for our performance.”



Be sure to watch this next: The giant tap-dancing noses of Shostakovich’s ‘The Nose’.

Plus: The Typewriter, performed with an orchestra.

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