Classic Cabbages: Rodeo | Interlochen Public Radio

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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

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RDX

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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