Concept

Checkmate (ballet)

Summary
Checkmate is a one act ballet created by the choreographer Ninette de Valois and composer Arthur Bliss. The idea for the ballet was proposed by Bliss, and subsequently produced by de Valois for the Vic-Wells Ballet. It was first performed on 15 June 1937 at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Paris. Checkmate is widely regarded as de Valois' signature ballet and a cornerstone of the British ballet repertoire, being performed regularly by the Royal Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet. Overview After World War I, Bliss developed an interest in ballet, after seeing the Ballets Russes of Sergei Diaghilev in London. Bliss composed Checkmate for the Vic-Wells Ballet (later the Sadler's Wells Ballet), who produced the first performance at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in 1937. Constant Lambert conducted the Orchestre Lamoureux, and the premiere dancers included the following:
  • June Brae (Black Queen)
  • Harold Turner (Red Knight)
  • Michael Somes (Black Knight)
  • Frederick Ashton (D
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