Eternal Idol

Eternal Idol, by Michael Smuin, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre
  • Choreographer: Michael Smuin
  • Music: Frederic Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Minor
  • Costumes: Marcos Paredes
  • Lighting: Sara Linnie Slocum; recreated by Christina Giannelli
  • World Premiere: December 4, 1969, Academy of Music, Brooklyn, New York
  • PBT Performance Date: March 2016

Program Notes

Eternal Idol is a pas de deux created by Michael Smuin for American Ballet Theatre in 1969 as a tribute to French sculptor Auguste Rodin. It alludes to and explores Rodin’s aesthetic, referencing two of his most renowned sculptures: “The Eternal Idol,” which depicts a man leaning against a woman in a pose both intimate and reverential; and “The Kiss,” a sculpture showing a couple wrapped in an embrace. These and many of Rodin’s other works celebrate human physicality and the expression of tenderness and passion in romantic relationships.

In the ballet, Smuin brings Rodin’s sculptures to life, transforming them into a sensuous movement sequence that utilizes classical technique but with a form that is fluid and malleable. Smuin molds the dancers’ bodies like a sculptor, positioning and repositioning torsos, arms, and legs. He gives them few solo moments, preferring to intertwine them or to have them mirror each other’s movements—revealing a relationship that is in sync physically and emotionally. Chopin’s piano concerto adds a poetic current to the choreography. Eternal Idol is a classically elegant ballet in the vibrant, eclectic, and astonishingly broad body of Smuin’s repertoire.