Congress has now officially designated American Ballet Theatre as America’s national ballet company, but it has held a place in the hearts of Music Center audiences since its first appearance there in 1969, reinforced by consistent visits almost every year since. ABT returns with the full-length Swan Lake, featuring additional choreography by ABT artistic director Kevin McKenzie to augment the Petipa/Ivanov original and Tchaikovsky’s lush score. The five performances boast an impressive lineup of ABT ballerinas in the dual role of enchanted white swan Odile and manipulative black swan Odette, partnered by an equally striking list of male stars as the bedazzled Prince Siegfried. Opening night belongs to young principal dancers Michele Wiles and David Hallberg. Russian elegance follows on Friday as Irina Dvorovenko and Maxim Beloserkovsky dance the leads. Expect pyrotechnic sparks as Gillian Murphy and José Carreño pair for the Saturday matinee, and Paloma Herrera and Ethan Stiefel star that evening. The Sunday matinee belongs to the dazzling Julie Kent, with Hallberg returning as Siegfried. Yes, this is the same production that aired on PBS’s Great Performances, but while video is great, nothing compares with the excitement, the immediacy of live performance. Gain additional perspective with the preperformance lecture one hour before each show. Music Center, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; Thurs.-Sat., March 27-29, 7:30 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., March 29-30, 2 p.m.; $25-$95. (213) 365-3500 or

Gene Schiavone

Flocking together: Michele Wiles and David Hallberg in Swan Lake

Click here to see video clips of ABT on Dance Channel TV.

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