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Which performance to attend?

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I'm planning a very short visit to NYC on June 28, and I'm trying to decide if I should go see NYCB's Midsummer Night's Dream or ABT's Swan Lake. I will be taking 3 people that aren't really ballet fans, but both ballets seem fairly novice-friendly. From posters here, McKenzie's Swan Lake sounds extremely problematic! But it is going to be Nina Ananiashvili and Julio Bocca dancing that night... I haven't seen either of them live before, and would really like to. I'm interested to see Balanchine's Midsummer Night's Dream too though, since I've only seen Ashton's before. Which performance would anyone recommend?

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Taking into account my biases, I'd lean towards NYCB. I happen to be very fond of the Balanchine version of Midsummer and it is indeed novice-friendly. I do find the ABT production of Swan Lake problematic, but hey, so's NBoC's, right? If money is an issue, inexpensive tickets at the State Theatre are of better quality than at the Met (although with the Met dropping their prices for the Balcony to $28, they're again competitive). There are usually ways of getting 4th ring tickets at the State for as low as $15, though.

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This is really a tough call. I know that many posters on the board don't care for ABT's "Swan Lake" but, to the less experienced ballet goer, the costumes are great and the story line is very clear, however it is a long story ballet. On the other hand, NYCB's "Midsummer Night's Dream" is fun and light and not as - what some might call - cumbersome. I like them both. As Leigh points out, though, the cost of tickets at the Metropolitan Opera house are quite high.

Go with your "gut" on this one and I'm sure you won't be disappointed. :)

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I second Leigh's suggestion. There are so many delightful moments in Balanchine's "Dream," and while so much that City Ballet has done in recent years has fallen below the standard I expect from them, Dream continues to be fresh and gorgeous. I usually find myself fading out halfway through Act III of ABT's Swan.

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I also saw both ballets when they were performed last spring and I really enjoyed them both. For a non dancer I would probably suggest NYCB's Midsummer Night's Dream just because it is very light and enchanting. I think it is also not quite as long as Swan Lake. They are both really great though, you definitly can't go wrong. I saw Nina Ananiashvili perform in Swan Lake last year and it was amazing!!! Hopefully I be be able to see them both again...gotta love student tickets!!!! :-)

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If I know anything about your taste, and I think I do, from our happily long association here at Ballet Talk, I think you would enjoy "Dream" more.

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A ticket order for Midsummer Night's Dream has been placed! Thanks everyone for helping me choose.

I also think it's a better choice for non-dancers, because Swan Lake has become such a cliche outside the dance world.

Thanks again, I'm looking forward to the performance!

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