Repertoire to die for

Posted on: January 7, 2009

I live in Washington DC Metro area, which means that I am blessed to live close enough to the Kennedy Center to enjoy the wonderful performances performed there. This season the ballet repertoire at the Kennedy Center is so wonderful  that every ballet aficionado would die to see all the programs. Mariinsky Theatre, ABT, New York City Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet and Royal Ballet are all coming to town.

Now the hard reality is that I cannot go to see them all, so I have to pick one. Last year I went to see Mariinsky Theatre in La Bayadere and it was really beautiful. I practically cried during the Kingdom of Shades, it was so spellbinding, in spite of the corps de ballet arabesques being somewhat uneven. This year they are performing Don Quixote, a bravura ballet I’ve seen long time ago at a Sunday matinee performance at the National Theatre in Belgrade, then Yugoslavia, that I barely remember it. Actually, I do remember that the cast looked sleepy.

ABT is performing mixed repertoire and also a full length Swan Lake. That is another tough choice. Growing up I watched Russian stagings of ballets, so I am very partial to the Russian choreography of old classics. Just ask anyone who had to sit with me through Giselle which deviated from the Russian choreography. That means  I would have to “allow” ABT the artistic freedom to dance the Swan Lake their way.

Then NYC Ballet is another company I would really like to see; they are doing a mixed bag of Balanchine, Martins, Wheeldon, and perhaps someone else.

Bolshoi Ballet will perform Le Corsaire, a ballet I have not seen live so I am very tempted. And finally Royal Ballet which brings us MacMillan’s Manon. I would love to see Darcey Bussell, if she is still with Royal Ballet.

Now you understand the predicament I am in. The only thing which would make my torment worse would be if Paris Opera Ballet announced they are making a surprise visit to the Kennedy Center this spring performing Coppélia. That would push me over the edge and I would have to sell all my valuables, and go see all five of these wonderful ballet companies.


2 Responses to "Repertoire to die for"

Darcey Bussell’s web site ( states that she retired from ballet in June of 2007. I have seen her dance on video – Prince of the Pagodas – and she was definitely the dancer to watch.

Swan Lake is my favourate ballet, and I am willing to watch most productions – even the ‘mucked about’ (as per my mother-in-law) ones. BTW have you seen Matthew Bourne’s version? – it is available on DVD. So, I would definitely go see ABT’s version.

I would also see Le Corsaire. I have seen Nureyev, once again on DVD, and he was fantastic.

You are very lucky in Washington this year.

– PH

Thank you so much for your comments. You are my first commenter, and I am really excited.
Ah, so I missed my chance to see Darcey. That’s a pity. I have not seen the entire Swan Lake by Matthew Bourne, but I did see the pas de deux from Act II, and I was blown away by it. It was very beautiful. I love Swan Lake too; it was the first ballet I’ve seen in the theatre over twenty years ago, and Kirov was the company that did it. I have not been the same since. 😉
I am very much leaning toward Le Corsaire. I love the music for it. Whatever I go see, I will share the impressions on my blog.

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