(in one act)


To Whom It May Concern:

It gives me great pleasure to provide you with a sense of the ballet “PATER OLYMPIAN” (Olympian Father). You may be familiar with the fact that George Balanchine once said that “ballet is woman.” Who would refute his claim. However, I do not believe that Balanchine or anyone else has ever directly claimed that ballet is not for men. In 1986, Pater Olympian was originally created for men. In the years that followed, this classical ballet story was developed and expanded with the result that the women: the wife of Pater Olympian and, very importantly in 1991 the added character Athena (the goddess of war and wisdom), would have roles as powerful as the men.

Pater Olympian is the story of a father and his son, each in his own time, an Olympian champion at the Olympian Games of ancient Greece. The story of the ballet portrays a deeply rooted psychological problem - the competitive relationship a father often has with his son. It is a powerful story that I believe will be very well recognized in family relationships in most societies. It will hit hard as the truth is brought to the surface to the raw where it can be seen and felt. Fathers will deeply empathize with the inner feelings that the story brings out. As to mothers, the story should prove to be a revelation and a rationalization for the hurt they have experienced while observing and/or being a party to the relationship. It should help everyone better understand and cope with equivalent situations that may exist in their own homes.

PATER OLYMPIAN is the story of men. It is experienced by men. It is the triumph of man who has reached for and attained greatness in the eyes of his fellowman. It is the weakness of man who feels he must continue to retain his measure of greatness when surely there is nothing left for him to prove. It is the admission by man of one of his greatest flaws - his narcissistic view of self, and all in the open for the world to see.

The story stands on its own and cannot be changed too much, since it represents a truth as written, and one should not tamper with the truth. The story has been inseparably linked to an historical time and event - one of the earliest formally recorded Olympian Games of ancient Greece. The rationale underlying the selection of the Olympian Games of ancient Greece as an appropriate historical time and event for the story is described in what is known as the “Blue Book,” a blue binder in which the entire scenario is fully described.

I would like to comment concerning the music selected for the ballet. For almost an entire year, from May 1985 until March 1986, I became convinced through a continuous process of listening, mental picturing and analysis, that this ballet could be linked with what so many feel is one of the greatest compositions in the history of classical music - BEETHOVEN SYMPHONY NO. 5 in C MINOR. Yes, Beethoven Symphony No. 5 to ballet. For the first few years, I was told of substantial doubt in the minds of several as to my intention to link the Symphony. However, from the early 1990’s on, I have not again heard such negative opinions. On the contrary, I have repeatedly received expressions of support in regard to the linking of this great Symphony from those who have read and understood the heroic, monumental and tragic story and scenario, and this support has continued to the present day. The reasoning process underlying the selection of the music, the appropriateness thereof and its dance-ability are also presented in the Blue Book.

Based on the libretto as conceived in the Blue Book in 1986 (prior to adding the character Athena in 1991 and prior to the expanded choreographic interpretation created in 2002 by choreographer and artistic director Madame Phyllis Latin), the performance of the ballet has a stage duration of 35 to 40 minutes. The ballet begins with a prelude. Following the prelude, the ballet is divided into three parts. The first part encompasses the Symphony’s first movement, the second part the second movement. The ballet’s final part encompasses the Symphony’s third and fourth movements (with the bridge between them) running together. The prelude begins by using a shortened stage, but at a certain point in the prelude, the entire stage is used. The three parts that follow require only one stage setting, except for reflecting a dynamic variation in the closing portion of the performance. Prior to Athena, there were three principal dancers - Pater Olympian (Diagoras of Rhodes), his wife (Callipateira) and their son (Dorieus). A character player, a Judge (Zeus), has a poignant role in the prelude and appears again in the closing portion of the performance.

The expanded choreographic interpretation includes one additional principal dancer (the central and powerful role of Athena) and a corps de ballet of as many as 32 dancers.

Diagoras had been the first pentathlon champion of the Olympian Games - the eighteenth Olympian Games of 708 B.C. The Olympian Games of 708 B.C. included the five event pentathlon for the first time, having expanded in small stages from a single short foot race in the earliest recorded Olympian Games in 776 B.C. Diagoras repeated as pentathlon champion at the nineteenth and twentieth Olympian Games of 704 B.C. and 700 B.C., respectively, and at age thirty was recognized as the world’s greatest athlete. To be a pentathlon champion was one of the greatest glories that could be attained by a Greek.

In 680 B.C., twenty years after Diagoras’s final victory, at the twenty-fifth Olympian Games, his son, Dorieus, at age twenty became an Olympian champion.

The ballet takes place in the hours following the completion of the Olympian Games of 680 B.C., in which Diagoras’s son became an Olympian champion. During those hours, psychological momentum swings back and forth, building until beyond the breaking point, leading ultimately to the catastrophic tragedy of Diagoras’s “final victory.”

The Blue Book describes the story of the ballet and provides a choreographic outline of the ballet - the latter describing the scene, events, and actions (the scenario) of the dancers taking place on stage during the performance of the ballet, synchronized to the music.

PATER OLYMPIAN, in my view, is a ballet that together with its compelling subject matter, combines sensitive beauty with supreme athletic ability and physical strength. It may well require a degree of physical conditioning and stamina amongst the highest ever demanded from a male ballet dancer in a performance on stage. I would hope that the meaningful and highly emotional subject matter of the ballet will enhance the motivation of the dancers to extend beyond themselves in each and every performance rendered. I feel sure it will - performance after performance, season after season, year after year.

The process involved in developing this piece of work has provided me with a great sense of accomplishment. Nevertheless, my purpose is to make a significant contribution to the performing art of ballet, with something truly different, yet real and important and meaningful - that by its universal touch will bring about a better understanding of personal values throughout the world.

It is important that this work would be staged. From the beginning, I believed Russia was the country that would embrace this work. Over the years, this became reinforced by viewing the videotape of Spartacus (Grigorovich) performed at the Bolshoi in Moscow. This was reconfirmed by attending the performance of The Sleeping Beauty by the Kirov at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City, and by attending the performances of La Bayadere at the Bolshoi and Don Quixote at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg.

I visited Russia many times beginning in October 2000 to investigate the possibilities of staging Pater Olympian in Russia. These visits resulted in staging the world premiere of Pater Olympian as the featured part of an unusual dance production that took place at the Russian State Academic Youth Theater in Moscow in December 2002.

In recent years there have been ongoing clamors from the principal dancers and from my Pater Olympian artistic staff in Moscow as well as from others, encouraging me in my long-standing intention to write the story sequel to Pater Olympian…thus bringing the ballet from one-act status to becoming a full-evening-length performance in the theatre.

I suggest you refer to the link “PATER OLYMPIAN II” if you wish to learn more about the status of the sequel to Pater Olympian, the story and scenario of which would be housed in what shall be known as the “Green Book”…the sequel to the “Blue Book.”

Sincerely yours,


Robert G. Hoffman
Managing Member