Clowns (The)

17 Dancers, Male Solo

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“…A choreographically devastating ‘Commedia dell’Arte’.”

—Robert Joffrey

When Gerald Arpino’s The Clowns premiered in 1968, it was hailed as a masterpiece—a contemporary parable of human survival in the face of nuclear holocaust. “Shattering”, proclaimed the LA Times.

The ballet explores the comedies and tragedies of human existence and the ever-recurring cycles of destruction and rebirth. Technology is introduced in the form of sculptures and balloons. Plastic society is epitomized and the theme of man against his environment is prevalent. The theme of technology gone awry is also prevalent in Hershy Kay’s musical score, which combines orchestral music with electronic sound effects.


Gerald Arpino


Hershy Kay

Costume Design:

Edith Lutyens Bel Geddes

Lighting Design:

Scott Kepley after the original Thomas Skelton

Set Design:

Vernon Lobb and Kit Coburn


February 29, 1968

Running Time:

30 minutes

Number of Dancers:

17 (5 female, 12 male)



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