In ballet, a pas de deux (French, steps of two) is a type of duet. It usually consists of an entrée, adagio, two variations (one for each dancer), and a coda.
Notable Pas de deux
- The Black Swan Pas de deux from the third scene of Swan Lake. Choreography by Marius Petipa. Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, revised (ending of the Adagio) and orchestrated (Odile's variation) by Riccardo Drigo. Variation for Odile originally created for the ballerina Pierina Legnani from Tchaikovsky's Opus 72 for Piano.
- The Bluebird Pas de deux from the third act of The Sleeping Beauty. Choreography by Marius Petipa and (possibly) Enrico Cecchetti. Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (this was originally intended as a Pas de quatre.)
- The Diane and Actéon Pas de deux, derived from the Pas de Diane (AKA Les Amours de Diane) from Marius Petipa's 1903 revival of his 1868 ballet Tsar Kandavl (AKA Le Roi Candaule). Later revised by Agrippina Vaganova for the dancers Galina Ulanova and Vakhtang Chabukiani and added to the ballet La Esmeralda in 1931. Music by Cesare Pugni, adapted by Riccardo Drigo. 1868, 1903, 1931.
- Grand Pas Classique, derived from music taken from the opera-ballet Le dieu et la bayadère, ou La courtisane amoreuse. Originally choreographed by Victor Gsovsky for the dancers Yvette Chauvire and Vladimir Skouratoff. Music by Daniel Auber. 1949.
- The Flower Festival at Genzano Pas de deux from the ballet Blomsterfesten i Genzano. Choreography by August Bournonville. Music by Eduard Helsted. 1858.
- La Sylphide Pas de deux from the ballet "La Sylphide" ("Sylfiden"). Choreography by August Bournonville. Music by Herman Severin Løvenskiold. 1836. Originally part of the large divertissement within the second ("white") act of the ballet, selected pieces have been put together to create a Pas de deux by leaving out the corps de ballet dances to adapt it for gala performances. Thus it, not being intended as a classical pas de deux with a traditional structure, begins with a mimic scene between James and the Sylphide representing their first encounter in the enchanted wood, followed by a short female variation, which leads immediately to the bravura solo variation of James. The Sylphide's second variation is followed by the coda, in which some of the parts danced by the corps have been reassigned to the Sylph.
- The Le corsaire pas de deux. Originally presented as a Pas d'action à trois with choreography by Samuil Andrianov in 1915 for a new production at the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre of Marius Petipa's 1899 revival of Le Corsaire. First danced by Samuil Andrianov as Conrad, Tamara Karsavina as Medora, and Mikhail Obukhov as the suitor. Today the Le Corsaire Pas de deux is presented in versions derived from the revisions of Agrippina Vaganova (1931) and Vakhtang Chabukiani (circa 1940), among many others. Music by Riccardo Drigo (opening Adage); male variation by Yuli Gerber; female variation by Baron Boris Fitinhof-Schell; and coda by Drigo. Often other variations are utilized for the female by the composers Anton Simon (in Rudolf Nureyev's 1960 version), and Cesare Pugni.
- Don Quixote Grand Pas de deux. Originally choreographed by Marius Petipa. Today presented in a redaction derived from revisions by Alexander Gorsky (1900, 1903), and Rostislav Zakharov (1941), Mikhail Konstantinovich Obukhov which derived into the Cuban version and many others. Music by Ludwig Minkus and Riccardo Drigo. NOTE - The famous Variation of Kitri with the fan was originally composed by Riccardo Drigo for the Ballerina Mathilde Kschessinskaya in 1902.
- Spring Waters. Choreography by Asaf Messerer. Music by Sergei Rachmaninoff (from his Song for Voice and Piano - opus 14/no.11).
- The Nutcracker Pas de deux. This one occurs late in Act II, and is presented in many different versions. Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, 1892. It does not include an intrada, but consists only of an adagio, the two variations, and a coda. It was originally meant to be danced by the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier, and is still performed that way in many productions, but is now very often danced by the Nutcracker Prince and Clara, the girl through whose eyes we experience the entire story, and who is the heroine and female lead of the ballet. In the Baryshnikov production of the ballet, the adagio is placed last, and the other sections, beginning in order with Variation I (a tarantella) are danced first. Another dance by the couple is performed earlier in Act I, immediately after the Nutcracker transforms into a Prince (in the Balanchine production of The Nutcracker, the music for this earlier dance is played, but it is not danced at all.)
- The Carnival in Venice Pas de deux (AKA The Fascination Pas de deux from Satanella. Choreography by Marius Petipa. Music by Cesare Pugni, based on the composition for violin Le Carnaval de Venise by Nicolò Paganini. NOTE - this Pas de deux was originally created by Petipa for the ballerina Amalia Ferraris as an addition to his revival of the ballet Le Diable amoureux (or Satanella, as the ballet was known in Russia), where it acquired the title The Fascination Pas de deux.
- The Talisman Pas de deux. Choreography by Pyotr Gusev after Marius Petipa. Music by Riccardo Drigo and Cesare Pugni. NOTE - this Pas de deux was fashioned by Pyotr Gusev in 1955 from music from two of Petipa and Drigo's ballets - The Talisman (1889). The male variation was taken from Petipa's ballet The Pharaoh's Daughter (1862) set to Cesare Pugni's music.
- The Harlequinade Pas de deux. Choreography by Pyotr Gusev after Marius Petipa. Music by Riccardo Drigo. NOTE - this Pas de deux from fashioned by Pyotr Gusev circa 1930 from music from Petipa and Drigo's ballets Harlequinade and The Talisman (1889). The coda comes from the Grand Pas des Fleurs from second act of The Talisman, while the rest of the music is from Harlequinade. George Balanchine also presented a version of this Pas de deux in 1955.
In popular culture
- Norman McLaren chose a pas de deux as the style of dance for his groundbreaking 1968 animation of the same name.
- WALL-E contains an outer space pas de deux between two joyous robots.
- Reality program So You Think You Can Dance has had a pas de deux in both seasons four and five. A contemporary pas de deux, choreographed by Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson was danced by contemporary dancers Katee Shean and William Wingfield in week six of season four. A classical pas de deux was danced by contemporary/hip-hop dancer Ade Obayomi and classical ballerina Melissa Sandvig in week four of season five, choreographed by Thordal Christensen and set to a score from Romeo & Juliet.
- Pas de deux is the name of a JAG episode in which several main characters pair off for various story lines.
- Pas de deux is the name of a Law and Order: Criminal Intent episode in which Goren and Eames pursue a terminally ill bank robber who is planning a final suicide-by-cop bank job.
- The painting Dancers, Pink and Green (1890) by Edgar Degas (1834–1917) features two dancers on stage performing their pas de deux.
Sometimes the term pas de deux is applied very loosely to a dance for two, whether it is in strict classical form or not. By this definition, any dance for two people is automatically a pas de deux, though many lovers of classical ballet would strongly disagree.
- Richard Elis and Christine Du Boulay, Partnering - The fundamentals of pas de deux, Wyman & sons 1955
- Anton Dolin, Pas de deux - The Art of Partnering, Dover Publications 1969
- Charles R. Schroeder, Adagio, 1971 Regmar Publishing Co.
- Kenneth Laws and Cynthia Harvey, Physics, Dance and the Pas de Deux, Schirmer books 1994
- Gilbert Serres, Le pas de deux, les portés, Désiris, 2002
- Nikolaij Serebrennikov, Marian Horosko, Pas De Deux: A Textbook on Partnering, University of Florida, 2000
- Suki Schorer, On Balanchine Technique, Partnering section, p. 383, Knopf 1999, ISBN 0-679-45060-2
- Wilfride Piollet - Rendez-vous sur tes barres flexibles - 2° section le pas de deux, L'Une et l'Autre, 2008
- Gilbert Serres, Grands Portés de pas de deux, Désiris, 2008