Long before Congress designated it “America’s national ballet company,” American Ballet Theater established its place in the hearts of local ballet fans with a long tradition of annual tours to Southern California. After an opening-night mixed bill, ABT devotes this weekend to the full-length Othello before moving south next week to the Orange County Performing Arts Center. The Music Center performances mark the local premiere of Othello, with choreography from Lar Lubovitch, a score from Academy Award–winning composer Elliot Goldenthal, and two sets of ABT stars. Both evening performances pair the elegant Julie Kent as Desdemona with powerful Marcelo Gomes as Othello. Both matinees feature the pyrotechnic Gillian Murphy as Desdemona and the fast-rising David Hallberg (a blond as Othello?). Starting Tuesday, ABT’s Orange County performances offer the first look at a new production of the full-length classic Sleeping Beauty, staged by artistic director Kevin McKenzie, former ABT star Gelsey Kirkland and Michael Chernov with more than a nod to the original Marius Petipa choreography. Music Center, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; Fri., July 13, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., July 14, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., July 15, 2 p.m.; $25-$115. (213) 365-3500 or www.ticketmaster.com. Also at Orange County Performing Arts Center, 600 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa; Tues.-Fri., July 17-20, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., July 21, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., July 22, 2 p.m.; $25-$95. (714) 556-2787 or www.ocpac.org.

—Ann Haskins

LA Weekly