Checkmate, one of the pillars of contemporary British ballet, was created in 1937 by choreographer Ninette de Valois (1898-2001) in response to an idea by composer Sir Arthur Bliss (1891-1975). It remained in the repertoire for more than four decades and still regularly revived.
The ballet portrays a game of love and death, played according to rules of chess. It is won by the Black Queen who first captures the Red Queen, then defeats the Red Knight, and finally delivers the Red King to her warriors.
The Rake's progress, which premiered in 1935, is one of the first classics of the native English school of ballet. The work's creator, Ninette de Valois, called the ballet her "Homage to Hogarth," a reference to the brilliant caricaturist whose paintings inspired her choreography.