The Dance: Never Mind the Ginza

To Choreographer George Balanchine, the dancers of the Japanese Imperial Household, who made an American tour three years ago, offered more than an unfamiliar art form. They gave him a novel idea: Why not apply the technique of the classic Western ballet to the spirit and music of Bugaku, the Japanese court dance? Bugaku's 1,200-year-old tradition of "noble music" left Balanchine unawed, and Composer Toshiro Mayuzumi was asked to write "some Japanese-flavored music" that Balanchine could set to dancing. Last week, with the New York City Ballet's premiere of the new Bugaku,...

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