NEW YORK (AP) _ Choreographer Jerome Robbins' 55-year association with the New York City Ballet was honored as the company danced an all-Robbins program at its spring gala.

A highlight of the Wednesday evening performance was the New York City Ballet dancing Robbins' ``Les Noces'' for the first time. He choreographed it in 1965 for American Ballet Theater to Stravinsky's ``Dance Cantata.''

The music uses Russian peasant folk and wedding songs. The ballet was inspired by the rituals surrounding a Russian peasant wedding. Robbins did not reproduce the actual rituals.

Robbins manages to create both a mood of authenticity and a genuine ballet in ``Les Noces.'' The backdrop represents two icons, as designed originally by Oliver Smith. The main difference from the American Ballet Theater production is the use of a recording, at Robbins' request. It is sung in Russian by folk singers the Dmitri Pokrovsky Ensemble. At the premiere in 1965, the American Concert Choir sang in French and Leonard Bernstein conducted the orchestra.

The evening at the New York State Theater began with ``Circus Polka'' from 1972, which always seems to delight audiences. Sixteen baby ballerinas enter and dance, then 16 more, still smaller, then a final 16, smaller yet. Two of the smallest gave Robbins bouquets when he took a bow after ``Les Noces.''

The program also included ``2 and 3 Part Inventions'' from 1995, in which four couples, with grace and serenity, seem to become part of the Bach music. It ended with 1983's ``Glass Pieces,'' in which a big cast fills the stage with modern movements.