At the end of last month, Mikko Nissinen — artistic director of the Boston Ballet — ushered in the company’s 2014-15 season with his rendition of “Swan Lake”, which had its final curtain call this weekend.
No worries, devoted fans and dabblers in classical and contemporary ballet alike can find their stylistic niche in this season’s diverse program.
For those looking to be immersed in the holiday spirit, look no further than the Boston Opera House starting Nov. 28, when Nissinen’s “Nutcracker” will premiere. Whether this beloved classic generates memories of a past childhood production, it just does not feel like Christmas without that iconic Tchaikovsky score, or this is an elaborate form of procrastinating studying for finals, “The Nutcracker” is a holiday staple.
For the classical ballet fanatics, “Lady of the Camellias” opens Feb. 26 and runs through March 28. This lesser known ballet is based on the 19th century novel by Alexandre Dumas about a high-class lady of the night and her affair with a less wealthy man. The plot was loosely retold in director Baz Luhrmann’s “Moulin Rouge.”
The remainder of the company’s season is dedicated to a series of contemporary works entitled “Perception.” While this style of ballet usually does not follow a specific narrative, it is equally dramatic.
For those who have very little knowledge about contemporary ballet, if any, the first program in the series might be the best place to start. The initial ballet in “Shapes of Sound is Chroma” by Wayne McGregor, resident choreographer of The Royal Ballet in London. The award-winning choreography is set to music that includes orchestrations of songs by the White Stripes. The night is rounded out by “Episodes” by George Balanchine, who some credit as being the pioneer of contemporary ballet, and Hans van Manen’s “Black Cake,” called “deliciously comic” in a press release by the Boston Ballet. “Shapes of Sound’s” ten-day run starts March 19.
If you are filled to the brim with Boston pride, then April 30 – May 10 is the time to be at the ballet. All three pieces in “Edge of Vision” have some connection to Beantown, starting with the unveiling of a brand new work by Boston Ballet’s resident choreographer Jorma Elo. Moreover, choreographer Helen Pickett’s “Eventide” was set on Boston Ballet dancers when it premiered, and former dancer Lila York’s “Celts” is based on Irish music.
In the concluding production of the season, the company will present “Thrill of Contact” from May 14 – 24. The finale integrates works by revered choreographers with the inaugural work of Principal Dancer Jeffrey Cirio. This juxtaposition might allow the audience to see how contemporary has evolved since its inception less than one hundred years ago. For anyone looking to get a taste of some prominent names in dance, this show’s program boasts a pretty good sampler.
The Boston Ballet is showing off its versatility this season, and when student rush tickets are available for only twenty dollars at select performances, it would be a shame to miss out on some of the city’s great culture just a short MBTA ride away.