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Name 5 ballets.

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A lot of my early ballet viewing was on VHS tapes but the first ballet I saw ABT do live was Romeo and Juliet.  So I will start there.


1.  Romeo and Juliet - Marianna Tcherkassky and John Gardner

2.  Giselle - Alessandra Ferri

3.  Don Quixote - VHS with Cynthia Harvey and Mikhail Baryshnikov

4.  Le Jeune Homme et la Morte - Mikhail Baryshnikov in the opening scene of White Nights.  The music got into my soul...

5.  Triad - VHS with Amanda McKerrow, Robert La Fosse, and Johan Renvall


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I started studying ballet before I actually saw a ballet. Living in NYC I was lucky in that I could see (be taken to) NYCB, ABT and visiting companies. 5 ballets that I remember opening my eyes:


Theme and Variations

Apollo (The opening music had such an impact)

Intermezzo (Feld ballet done by ABT. Wonder if anyone else remembers it. I don't know if I'd like it now, but back then it swept me away)

Lilac Garden (Tudor. The moment of pause took my breath away)

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l suppose that I have to begin with the very first ballets that I saw for the simple reason it was a mixed programme danced by Ballet Rambert which made me want to find out more about the art form and expand my knowledge of  what ballet was and what it was capable of being. Looking back I count myself extremely lucky that my aunt decided to take me to see a performance given by Ballet Rambert as a birthday present  because had the second ballet I saw been my first encounter with the art form I think that I might have been put off ballet for life. My recollection is that the Rambert mixed bill included both Glen Tetley's "Pierrot Lunaire" with Christopher Bruce as Pierrot and Antony Tudor's "The Judgement of Paris." They will therefore have to be the first two ballets on my list.

if you want to know what my second encounter with ballet was it was seeing "The Stone Flower" at the Kirov and it was not Prokofiev's s core which i found so off putting. I had come to ballet with innocent ears and had no preconceptions about what a ballet score should sound like by which I mean that I did not think that if the score  was not  by Tchaikovsky or Minkus it was "difficult" and not really suited to ballet. I suppose it might have helped if I had seen a full length ballet before I saw "The Stone Flower " but I am not convinced that it would have helped that much. I don't think that it was my lack of knowledge of the conventions of full length ballets which was the problem. It seems to me that it was the extremely earnest nature of the narrative and the structure of the ballet itself which were the problems. Far too much of the score was allocated to setting the scene and in establishing the characters  the most important part seemingly being the need to establish the extraordinarily virtuous nature of the hero and the unbelievable wickedness of the baddies. What with that and the time taken up by the virtuous hero toiling away in the mine the denouement felt particularly rushed. Even at that age my limited knowledge of the rudiments of theatrical structure led me to think that perhaps you should not find yourself squeezing half the narrative into a quarter of the score. The experience was not enough to put me off ballet going but if it had been my initial encounter with ballet, and if I had had less experience of theatre going, it might have been the first and last time that I attended a ballet performance.

 I know that I was extremely lucky because not long after that I went to live in a town which the Royal Ballet Touring Company visited on a regular basis. The company danced a wide range of the company's pre-war repertory and although it was disbanded early on in MacMaillan's directorship I had the opportunity to see many works which were not part of the regular repertory at Covent Garden. The core repertory of the Touring Company included ballets by de Valois, Ashton, MacMillan and Cranko. The older Ashton ballets which it danced included Facade, Les Rendezvous and Les Patineurs. I think that it is Les Patineurs which fired my interest not only in Ashton's ballets but in Massine's as well. It has to be my third ballet .The fourth and fifth ballets which were significant in fuelling my ballet going habit were  some of the first ballets that I saw at Covent Garden a matinee performance of Sleeping Beauty with a cast led by Sibley and Dowell and a performance of Serenade danced by a cast headed by Beriosova and MacLeary.

The five ballets which made me a balletgoer are: 

1. Pierrot Lunaire.

2. The Judgement of Paris.

3. The Sleeping Beauty.

4. Serenade.

5. Les Patineurs.




and to see eady knew that I

Edited by Ashton Fan
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This is a fun topic and I’m glad it was revived! My love of ballet began in the summer of 1980 when my future husband took me on two dates to see NYCB at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. I was 24 years old and hadn’t experienced much ballet at all up until then. How I wish I had kept my programs! The first date included Scotch Symphony and I do believe Suzanne Farrell danced the lead role. I was enchanted, I tell you! The second performance we saw that summer was Midsummer Night’s Dream and Patricia McBride danced Titania. Talk about being enchanted! And gobsmacked!  I’d never in my young ladyship seen anything like it.  Well, I was hooked and thus began my ballet education and long devotion to and love for the New York City Ballet. Over the next few summers I was to experience many of Balanchine’s, and Robbins’, essential works. 

So the five critical ballets in my life were: 

Scotch Symphony 


Apollo (the old version, I think, before Mr. B changed the choreography to eliminate the staircase and other elements)

Concerto Barocco

and the Balanchine ballet closest to my heart, Symphony in C. I will never forget the first time I saw it. It was so thrilling and it was danced so perfectly, I nearly wept. 

I must also add a sixth, Mr. B’s one-act Swan Lake. Such a distilled beauty. 

For many years, the only company I saw was NYCB at SPAC in the summer, and, except for taking some adult ballet classes and reading a ballet history or two, that was my dance education.  I was going to college, working, and other life experiences took center stage. I felt blessed knowing that this great company was in my proverbial backyard each summer, and, at that time, that was enough. 

Fast forward to the 2000’s and I had 1. the opportunity to see more ballet, 2. the time and maturing interest to broaden my dance education through acquiring books not available in the library, and 3. the ability to learn ALOT through the internet, most importantly and critically, on YouTube, especially Russian and Soviet ballet. And I began to acquire a video and book ballet library, which gives me great pleasure. 

So I think of my ballet education and enthusiasm in two distinct parts. As such, I must add five more ballets that were critical in making me the ballet-lover I am today. 

Swan Lake (full-length - Russian performances on video, American stagings [NYCB, ABT] live).

The Nutcracker 

The Sleeping Beauty (Royal Ballet and Russians on video, NYCB live).


The Firebird - NYCB’s. 

Giselle (ABT’s live, especially Xiomara Reyes and Sarah Lane; Ballet Nacional de Cuba live; Royal Ballet and Dutch National Ballet on DVD, and all sorts of video clips on YouTube, especially Maximova and Vasiliev). 













Edited by KarenAG
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1. Carmen Suite (by Alberto Alonso) because it made me fall in love with Alicia Alonso and ballet in general. 

2. Concerto Barocco danced by Dance Theater of Harlem (my second ballet) with the glorious Lydia Abarca and the lovely Virginia Johnson and sent me scissoring and centime soutenuing down the streets of NYC and grand jetteing right into a subway car.  The week after it danced by NYCB and the ethereal Suzanne Farrell. I was hooked on ballet.         

3. Don Quixote. Because I knew then that in my next life I would have to become a ballet dancer, because it was better than even John Curry's  long program,. After seeing Maya Plitseskaya, I knew I could no longer be totally faithful to Alicia. I had not been aware for my apparent predilection for older star ballerinas, limited though it was to the stage. 

4. Giselle Because to this day, I replay it in my head instead of counting sheep if I cannot go to sleep. 

4. Symphony in C. Because on the day that Balanchine passed, I was in the audience at the performance danced hypnotically by a great cast lead by Farrell. Since, it has been my joy to learn all I could about this unparalleled dance genius.  


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