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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Ballets: Top 10 Must See Live Ballets

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I have come to a point in my life where I thought it would be valuable to create a Ballet Bucket List. It has been quite some time since I have seen a live performance, but I am looking at setting a goal for myself and my wife to travel, as we are recently retired, and see many different beautiful pieces. I am very familiar with fairly mainstream pieces such as Giselle, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, La Sylphide etc. and enjoy the whimsical, fantastical plots, but am open to any.


I am looking for your help in creating a top 10 must see LIVE performance (And maybe what venue, as I know this can make a large difference)


Thank you fellow critics!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Although it is mainstream I would say La Bayadère definitely, especially if you could watch it with a company such as Mariinsky... the Shades act definitely is one to see live! :)

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  • 1 month later...

Although this is also a mainstream ballet, Romeo and Juliet is a must see. Many companies perform this piece; I am sure a company like ABT or the Royal Ballet would be spectacular to watch. There are classical and modern versions of this ballet as well. I'm pretty sure that Pacific Northwest Ballet out in Seattle is currently performing a more contemporary take on the story.

Last year the National Ballet of Canada presented the world premier of a new version of this ballet, choreographed by the incredible Alexei Ratmansky. It received rave reviews in Toronto and was very good. NBOC is performing this new version of Romeo and Juliet again this spring, from March 12 to 17, at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto. In addition, for the first time in many years, the company is touring to London, England. They will be performing their version of Romeo and Juliet at the Sadler's Wells Theatre from April 17-21, 2013.

Another ballet I recently saw was Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Christopher Wheeldon. It was quite unlike anything I'd seen before; there was a large chesire cat puppet, I guess I would call it, controlled by several dancers, huge projections, innovative sets, a modern musical score... If you are interested in seeing a "truly 21st century story ballet," this would be a good choice!

A George Balanchine ballet is a must. New York City Ballet is one of the best companies in the world and performs many of his ballets throughout their season at the Lincoln Center. If you plan a trip to New York City, see if you can get tickets to one of their mixed programs. :)

There are so many wonderful ballets, it is hard to pick just a few... :P Enjoy your travels!

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Atlanta Ballet does a wonderful job with Dracula, and they will be showing it this spring for Valentine's Day. :whistling:


I have seen it twice before and now think that my teen aged children are old enough to see it. It is not a children's ballet!

While watching it you get the feeling that you don't know how or when a lift is coming. Everything is choreographed so intricately with such thought to presentation--its just amazing. The hand holds, and the way they dance the violence of the story. I can't say enough about this ballet.

The ballet put up a youtube clip of the dance to promote the upcoming show. Take a look at it.



Also on my list though is a trip to NYC to see NYCB ABT and Alvin Ailey do anything...

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Personally my list would be one of ballet companies that I wanted to see. At least I'd know where to go by doing that. Once I had my list of companies, I could pick from what they are performing. Ideally, my list would be a world list and not just a US list.

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I' m with Garyecht. See the great companies, especially if you can see them doing great ballets. There is nothing like seeing Paris Opéra Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, the Bolshoi, Mariinsky, etc., live.

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Hmmm...Houston Ballet is doing La Bayadere soon. I'd love to take DD if we can fit it into her crazy schedule. DD will get to go to the ballet in NYC this summer. NYCB & ABT are definitely on the list. What else should they look into?

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NBoC- Alice in Wonderland, Jan. 18-27 @ Kennedy Center Wash., DC


Other than that, POB toured this past summer; Royal Ballet recently- no upcoming dates that I'm aware of.

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I agree with ballet.bunny and Clara 76. National Ballet of Canada's Alice in Wonderland is a great ballet to see. I recently saw it and was wowed. Obviously the dancing was incredible but I was super impressed with the costumes and stage design. I think they really captured the whimsical nature of the story. It is also a great ballet to take children to, although I did not take any children, there were pretty of children at the performance I went to.

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Putting aside the obvious - Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, Coppelia and Nutcracker and concentrating on full length ballets


Romeo and Juliet

Don Quixote

La Fille Mal Gardee

Le Corsaire

La Bayadere




Two Pigeons

Alice in Wonderland


If you can't see them in a live performance make do with a DVD, although sadly The Two Pigeons isn't on DVD and I would soooo love to see it again and how I would love to see Enigma Variations again............

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