Music: Effervescent Foolery

A ballet based on a spot commercial sounds about as inviting as St. Vitus's Dance. Except if it was choreographed by George Balanchine, a genius who can design, with seemingly equal facility, enduring masterpieces or tremendous trifles. His latest work, which was given its world premiere by the New York City Ballet last week, is 22 minutes of slight but effervescent foolery. The title is the giveaway: PAMTGG (pronounced Pam-te-guh-guh) stands for "Pan Am Makes the Going Great."

Intrigued by overexposure to the airline's familiar radio and TV ad, Balanchine commissioned Jazz Composer Roger Kellaway to write a score based on its...

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