Continuing to affirm its rightful place as L.A.'s longed-for professional ballet company, Los Angeles Ballet opened its spring season at its home theaters in Glendale and the South Bay before heading this week to UCLA for Los Angeles Ballet: Celebration! Midway through its fifth season, artistic directors Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary have much to celebrate in this program, with two Balanchine masterworks and a premiere from Sonya Tayeh (So You Think You Can Dance). This is Tayeh's second round with LAB: Her debut piece last year garnered standing ovations when she showed what happens when her ferocious jazz style goes en pointe. It was ovation time again with the opening performances of her requiem-infused My Greatest Fear. The dancers demonstrated their gear-shifting abilities from Tayeh's shadowy fears to the company premieres of two very different Balanchine classics. Raymonda Variations pays homage to Russian classical ballet with a sequence of increasingly difficult variations, while Balanchine's affectionate nod to cowboy culture in Western Symphony allows the dancers and the audience to cut loose and have some fun.

Sat., March 19, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., March 20, 2 p.m., 2011

LA Weekly