Dance: Making Stravinsky Look Easy

At Mr. B. 's house, Peter Martins puts on a "nice" ballet

Why not design a ballet around Stravinsky's Suite from "L'Histoire du Soldat"? When George Balanchine asked him to do just that last fall, Peter Martins, a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, thought he knew very well why not. With six pieces of choreography to his credit, Martins, 34, was promising but relatively inexperienced. Even veteran choreographers have found Stravinsky's jagged rhythms and irregular beats difficult, if not impossible to translate into movement. L'Histoire du Soldat, which originated as a...

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