After an electric opening last weekend in the South Bay, the Los Angeles Ballet moves to West L.A. tonight for the second of ten SoCal stops in its three-month Balanchine Festival. Arguably the most important and influential choreographer of the 20th century, George Balanchine was trained in Russia, established his choreographic talent in Europe and then moved to New York, where he established what became the New York City Ballet. The company seldom tours and only its major counterparts, including the Los Angeles Ballet, have the resources or permission to present Balanchine's ballets. Los Angeles Ballet co-artistic directors Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary both danced in the New York City Ballet, and Balanchine personally selected Neary to stage his ballets. She continued to do so after his death for her own and other companies, along with the Bolshoi, Paris Opera Ballet and American Ballet Theater. This year, on the 30th anniversary of Balanchine's death, Los Angeles Ballet devotes its spring and summer seasons to seven of Balanchine's greatest ballets, divided into two programs (Gold and Red) presented at each of the company's five home theaters. The opening Gold program tonight includes La Sonnambula
, a one-act story ballet of love, jealousy, murder and a mysterious sleepwalker; Concerto Barocco
, one of Balanchine's signature works, set to Bach's Concerto in D-minor for Two Violins; Tchaikovsky's Pas de Deux
, a bravura duet set to the original music for the Black Swan Pas de deux; and Four Temperaments
, with music Paul Hindemith composed at Balanchine's request. Don't miss L.A. Times
dance critic Lewis Segal hosting this week's 6 p.m. pre-performance Balanchine Talks, focused on Balanchine's Hollywood years and featuring screenings of Balanchine's film choreography. At UCLA Royce Hall, Wstwd.; Sat., March 23, 7:30 p.m.; $24-$95. (310) 937-6607. www.losangelesballet.org.
Sat., March 23, 7:30 p.m., 2013