George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust
Excerpts from La Source [Naila] (1866) and Sylvia, ou la Nymphe de Diane (1876)
Photo © Paul Kolnik
Balanchine’s high regard for Delibes led him to choreograph a pas de deux from Sylvia in 1950, which he then expanded into a divertissement in 1965. The present La Source uses music from two of Delibes’ ballets, Naila and Sylvia, and includes parts of the earlier pas de deux and divertissement.
Léo Delibes (1836-1891) was born in St. Germain du Val and died in Paris. He learned music as a child from his mother and uncle. Renowned as a composer for dance, he had a gift for illustrating action, creating atmosphere, and inspiring movement. Although he spent many years as a church organist, he was drawn more to the theater, and he composed many light operas. The decisive advance in his career came in 1870, with his full-length ballet Coppélia.