Now named for its famous home theater, Mariinsky Ballet and the Bolshoi are Russia’s two major ballet companies. Reflecting Soviet ambitions, the Moscow-based Bolshoi’s name means big and it is grandiose and boisterous. In contrast, the Mariinsky, based in St. Petersburg, dates back to when it was the Tsars’ personal ballet company and in different political climes underwent name changes from St. Petersburg Ballet to Leningrad Ballet and now Mariinsky. Rising above any identity crisis, the company has maintained its reputation as the repository of classical Russian ballet, though in recent decades it also has incorporated western choreography, particularly George Balanchine. The Mariinsky brings both during a two week visit.

For Orange County, temple dancers, rajahs and palace intrigue provide the setting for Marius Petipa’s classic full-length story ballet La Bayadere, October 16-20. The company moves to L.A. for George Balanchine’s only three-act abstract ballet, the masterwork Jewels.

Music Center, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Thu.-Sat., Oct. 24-26, 7:30 p.m., Sat.-Sun., Oct. 26-27, 2 p.m., $34-$138. musiccenter.org.

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