The Ballet That Changed Everything

September 3, 2010
The Wall Street Journal
Toni Bentley



Ballet companies around the country are performing their share of works by George Balanchine—notably "Jewels" at the Houston Ballet (Sept. 23 to Oct. 3,—but the choreographic offerings are also vast and varied.

At the Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle, artistic director Peter Boal is having his say with a "Director's Choice" program (Sept. 24 to Oct. 3) that includes the propulsive "Glass Pieces" by Jerome Robbins, plus work by Jiri Kylian and Nacho Duato (

In Chicago, the Joffrey Ballet's "All Stars" program (Oct. 13 to 24) includes Christopher Wheeldon's "After the Rain," a soulful, hushed duet that is fast becoming a modern classic ( The Carolina Ballet in Raleigh, N.C., is presenting its "Firebird" (Sept. 16 to Oct. 3), created by artistic director Robert Weiss (

The Kennedy Center in Washington hosts the Suzanne Farrell Ballet, a company founded by the famed dancer and Balanchine protege. This season's programs (Nov. 17 to 21) trace a bit of Ms. Farrell's history. "Sonate No. 5" is a work by Maurice Bejart, for whom Ms. Farrell danced after she left New York City Ballet. Her dramatic departure came after her marriage to dancer Paul Mejia, whose work "Eight by Adler" was created for her. Also on the program is "In Memory Of..." by Jerome Robbins, which was premiered by Ms. Farrell in 1985 (

In modern dance, the Mark Morris Dance Group, based in Brooklyn, N.Y., will travel coast to coast: from the University of California, Berkeley (Sept 30 to Oct. 3) to Boston's Cutler Majestic Theater (Oct. 14-17) ( The work of German choreographer Pina Bausch, who died in 2009, will come to New York's Brooklyn Academy of Music (Sept. 29 to Oct. 9). Germany's Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch will perform "Vollmond (Full Moon)," (pictured, above) a dramatic, yet athletic work that incorporates water onstage (

—Pia Catton