Our editors scoured the globe for the best ballet productions this season. Here, our five must-see
George Balanchine’s New York City Ballet takes on Shakespeare’s greatest romance. Get swept up in
this tale of star-crossed lovers and — no real spoiler here — the powerfully emotional ending, with
the original music by Sergei Prokofiev. The ballet showcases “the agility and versatility dancers
have to acquire to be a part of this field,” says
ballerina Alysia Johnson
who names it one of her top recs.
Catch two ballets by super choreographers Benjamin Millepied and Maurice Béjart, both united by a
common theme: love and seduction. Millepied’s Daphnis and Chloé includes costumes and a set design
by legendary artist Daniel Buren while Béjart’s virtuoso Boléro has its own hook for the art crowd:
Marina Abramović did her own take on the work, also with the Paris Opera Ballet, a few years back.
If you’re drawn to the taboo, then go see The Bright Stream by Dmitri Shostakovich — it was banned
shortly after its debut in 1935. The plot follows a big city dance troupe as it visits a collective
farm for the harvest festival… which sounds like a harmless enough narrative but not for the
then-new socialist realism movement. At the time, the ballet’s farce-like style and depiction of
farm life was seen as more mocking than playful.
A classical great, Giselle is a must for any ballet lover. The story delves, in equal measure, into
innocence, love, jealousy, betrayal, madness and the supernatural. You’ll never forget the first
time you see the principal ballerina descend into insanity at the close of the first act — the pure
artistry of the choreography will take your breath away.
Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations is a classical-music masterpiece, and one of the great
studies of variation form with 30 different variations on a single aria. Now picture that complexity
reinterpreted in dance, in solos, pas de deux and ensemble scenes. The result is dazzling — rigorous
and precise maneuvers that are completely effortless and graceful, too.