Dissertation Index

Author: Fitzpatrick, Jacob D

Title: Stravinsky, Balanchine, and Agon: An Intersection of Musical Movement and Dance

Institution: University of Wisconsin-Madison

Begun: September 2017

Completed: April 2020


Agon (1957) is a ballet with music composed by Igor Stravinsky and choreography by George Balanchine. If we understand Agon as an interdisciplinary work, one consideration is how to address music and dance in a way that allows us to form meaningful connections between the two. One such link between music and dance is the concept of movement. While there are many ways that we can discuss movement, one prominent form of movement analysis is called Laban Movement Analysis (LMA). The LMA branch of effort can form a connection between music and dance because it addresses not the bodily or spatial patterns of movement, but rather the qualitative ones.

As a case study, this dissertation focuses on a single dance in Agon, the Saraband Step. Chapter 1 begins with Stravinsky’s score and considers what it means to understand music as movement. Chapter 2 introduces LMA and shows how we can hear effort in music by using the four motion factors (weight, time, space, flow). Chapter 3 explores the mimetic hypothesis. It then uses this hypothesis to bridge our understanding of effort that we hear in music to effort that we see in dance. Chapter 4 is an analysis of Balanchine’s choreography and shows how the choreography forms a narrative with movement and space. And finally, Chapter 5 introduces the notion of choreomusicality. It explains how effort can be a tool that invites us to discover choreomusical relationships between music and dance.

Keywords: Stravinsky, Balanchine, Laban, Agon, Ballet, Laban Movement Analysis


Chapter 1. Musical Gesture: A Movement Perspective 1
1.1 Music as Movement 3
1.2 Procedures of Musical Grouping 21
1.3 Musical Gestures 41
Chapter 1 Glossary of Terms 60
Chapter 2. Movement Effort: Four Motion Factors 61
2.1 The Motion Factor of Weight 62
2.2 The Motion Factor of Time 77
2.3 The Motion Factor of Space 91
2.4 The Motion Factor of Flow 106
Chapter 2 Glossary of Terms 123
Chapter 3. Embodying Music with Imitative Behavior 124
3.1 The Motor-Mimetic Hypothesis 124
3.2 Four LMA Branches: Body, Effort, Shape, Space 141
3.3 Other Forms of Mimetic Behavior 161
3.4 Pitch Inversion and Embodiment 177
Chapter 3 Glossary of Terms 181
Chapter 4. Choreography of the Saraband 183
4.1 Some Preliminary Choreographic Considerations 184
4.2 Saraband Step Choreography, première partie 198
4.3 Saraband Step Choreography, deuxième partie 216
Chapter 5. Choreomusicality 231
5.1 Lopukhov’s Dance/Music Dynamics 232
5.2 Lopukhov and Dance/Music Integration 253
5.3 Balanchine and Dance/Music Integration 263
5.4 Effort and Larger Choreomusical Continuities 271
5.5 Some Closing Thoughts 285



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