Ballet Guide
Ballet Guide
Our editors scoured the globe for the best ballet productions this season. Here, our five must-see favorites…
Romeo and Juliet
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York
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.
Benjamin Millepied/​Maurice Béjart
Opéra Bastille, Paris
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.
The Bright Stream
Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow
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.
Royal Opera House, London
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.
Teatro alla Scala, Milan
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.