To honor the 100th birthday of George Balanchine, the master choreographer who fused Russian ballet technique with more modern sensibilities, and largely created modern ballet as we know it, companies worldwide are devoting concerts--some, entire seasons--to his work.
There's no shortage of material. Balanchine choreographed at least 200 ballets. And 23 musicals. And ten plays. And 59 operas. And since Robert Weiss danced for Mr. B for 16 years with the New York City Ballet, there was no chance that his Carolina Ballet would miss commemorating the centennial of his birth.
The company presents two different programs by Balanchine through the month of February at the Fletcher Opera House at BTI Center in Raleigh. This weekend's concert focuses on his early work before the founding of the New York City Ballet.
Apollo is Balanchine's earliest surviving ballet, created when he was 24. It also marks the first of his many collaborations with composer Igor Stravinsky. Iconoclasm came early for the choreographer; the humor with which gods and muses comport themselves marked a break from earlier classical depictions.
Prodigal Son , from the book of Luke--and the last season of the Ballets Russes--so infuriated composer Prokofiev that he refused to pay the choreographer his royalties.
The Four Temperaments proved another milestone. This inaugural work for what would become the New York City Ballet was based on the belief that physical imbalances (in blood, phlegm and black and yellow bile) led to melancholic, sanguine, phlegmatic or choleric dispositions. Intriguingly, those physical imbalances provided the lead for physical imbalances on stage, when dancers off-center explore sharp angles and unconventional moves and poses.
Tickets are $5-$59, and can be reserved at 719-0900 or www.ticketmaster.com.