Classic Cabbages: Rodeo | Interlochen Public Radio


What do cowgirls, cowboys and ballet have in common? Agnes de Mille and Aaron Copland’s 1942 ballet, Rodeo!

The work was a startling combination that used the traditional, highly technical dance form to portray rowdy frontier scenes with titles like “Buckaroo Holiday” and “Hoedown.”

Agnès de Mille, who was a famous dancer and choreographer, invented the history of ballet and asked Copland to write her western-themed music.

Her story follows a tough cowgirl’s disappointment over an unrequited cowboy crush and joy when she ends up dancing with another.

Andrea Mohin/The New York Times



Issac Stappas (center, blue shirt) and other members of the American Ballet Theater in ‘Rodeo’ at the City Center in New York on October 19, 2005. (Andrea Mohin/The New York Times)

Copland uses old cowboy tunes and even a note-for-note quote from a Kentucky fiddler’s performance to energize the ballet’s boisterous dances.

Check out this video with interviews with Agnès de Mille and scenes from the ballet with her original choreography!

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Classical Sprouts is produced by Emily Duncan Wilson. Kacie Brown is the Digital Content Manager.


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