George Balanchine’s “Divertimento No. 15” is a ballet one longs to see, but seldom comes out of the theater fully satisfied by. “Arlene Croce quipped that ‘Divertimento No. 15’ is one of those ballets that are famous for not being done well,” Nancy Goldner writes in her essential volume More Balanchine Variations. “My experience with it would prompt me to amend that to ‘not done well enough.’” I tend to agree with the latter assessment. It is an extraordinary ballet, sophisticated, pure, both light and transparent in its construction. But it seldom achieves the kind of transcendence and flow suggested by the music and choreography.
New York City Ballet in “Divertimento No. 15” by George Balanchine. Photograph by Erin Baiano