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Boston Ballet to Present KALEIDOSCOPE, 3/17

March 4, 2016 (BOSTON, MA)-Boston Ballet's 52nd season continues with Kaleidoscope, a vibrant fusion of works by the most influential choreographic voices of the 20th century. The first of four works presented in this dynamic program is George Balanchine's Kammermusik No. 2, a "fascinating" and "unremitting" ballet, followed by the dazzling and technically demanding The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude by William Forsythe that returns to Boston Ballet after a critically acclaimed Company premiere last season (Brian Seibert, The New York Times). Adding to the evening's exceptional program is the graceful Pas de Quatre by unsung choreographer Leonid Yakobson, a classically romantic work noted for its "distinctive movement sensibility" (Roslyn Sulcas,The New York Times). Concluding the program is Léonide Massine's colorful Gaîté Parisienne, an effervescent ballet that evokes Moulin Rouge and Paris in the early 1900s, and ends with an unforgettable can-can. Kaleidoscope will run March 17-26, 2016 at the Boston Opera House.

"From the technical precision of Forsythe's The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude to the comic exuberance of Massine's Gaîté Parisienne, Kaleidoscope is a remarkably diverse program," explains Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen. "There is something for everybody in this program and it truly exhibits the range of talent of this Company."

Kammermusik No. 2

Considered "Balanchine of another dimension," Kammermusik No. 2 is a colorful expression of energetic choreography requiring a relentless level of technical ability (Laura Bleiberg, Los Angeles Times). Balanchine's Kammermusik No.2 (which is German for chamber music) premiered in 1978 at The New York City Ballet and features two couples and a corps of eight men. This is the first time Boston Ballet will present this rarely-performed work, adding to the Company's extensive Balanchine repertoire. Set to modernist composer Paul Hindemith's jagged score, Balanchine's work adeptly reflects the complexity of Hindemith's music with repetitive cycles of dynamic movement in a display of eccentric pas de deux. Kammermusik No. 2 has been hailed by leading Balanchine biographer Bernard Taper as "one of the most ingenious and technically accomplished ballets Balanchine had made" (Bernard Taper, Balanchine, A Biography).

George Balanchine (1904 - 1983) is one of the 20th century's most prolific choreographers. He created more than 400 works throughout his career and is widely celebrated for his signature "neoclassical style" that has since transformed the ballet world. Born in St. Petersburg in 1904, Balanchine came to the United States in late-1933 and went on to establish the School of American Ballet and ultimately, the New York City Ballet where he became the Ballet Master and Principal Choreographer.

Pas de Quatre

A lyrical expression of grace and sprightly movement, Pas de Quatre is a poetic work set to the romantic melodies of Vincenzo Bellini's opera Norma. This season, Boston Ballet has featured works by Yakobson to honor the legendary choreographer's transformative influence and 40th anniversary of his death; Pas de Quatre, which premiered in 1971, reflects Yakobson's unique musicality and his skillful mastery of romantic classicism. The work is a blissful tribute to romanticism and dedication to the late 19th-century choreographer Jules Perrot. Articulating elegance and beauty through intricate movement, Pas de Quatre features four ballerinas that "move through an ingenious series of winding and unfolding circles" (Roslyn Sulcas, The New York Times). The celebrated ballet, which was created during a time of deep competition amongst ballerinas, creates an air of sisterhood and showcases the absolute coordination necessary to pull off the intricacies of dancing together with continuously linked arms and connected hands.

Born in St. Petersburg in 1904, Leonid Yakobson has been deemed a revolutionary choreographic voice of the 20th century. He trained at the Kirov Academy and was associated with the Kirov Company between 1926 and 1975. He choreographed for the Bolshoi Ballet until his death in 1975. Yakobson collaborated on the premiere of Shostakovich's The Golden Age (1930) and later was the first choreographer to set Khatchaturian's Spartacus (1956). Known for an explosive and experimental style, he introduced Soviet audiences to a groundbreaking aesthetic they had never witnessed before. By employing techniques that required unprecedented levels of athleticism, Yakobson's work was often censored by Soviet authority for challenging classical ballet. In his lifetime, he created 178 ballets-including dozens for individual dancers and for his own company, Choreographic Miniatures, which he formed in 1970. Due to imposed restrictions, limited resources, and suppression, many of these works were named "miniatures" and produced on a small scale. Moreover, he often suffered the impact of state-sanctioned anti-Semitism. Yakobson also inspired a generation of dancers from Russia including Galina Ulanova, Maya Plisetskaya, Alla Osipenko, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Natalia Makarova, among others. While Yakobson's work is rarely performed today, his influence is still regarded as an important symbol of political resistance in the 20th century. It is acknowledged that Yakobson's reputation may have evolved differently had he left the USSR, like Balanchine did in late 1933.

These performances of Pas de Quatre have been made possible by a generous gift from Melinda and James Rabb.

The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude

A "buzzing" and "vertiginously kinetic" spectacle of classical technique, William Forsythe's The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude premiered at Ballet Frankfurt in 1996 and had its Boston Ballet premiere last season (Jeffrey Gantz, The Boston Globe). Returning to the Boston Opera House stage with 11 minutes of pure virtuosic intensity, this physically demanding work is a reinvention and amplification of classical ballet. The work references classical technique with a varied compositional structure that is described as "a deliberate look backward at the history and traditions of classical dance" and "throws witty nods" to dance legends "Petipa, Bournonville and Balanchine" (Roslyn Sulcas, The New York Times). Paired with the unrelenting final movement of Franz Schubert'sSymphony No. 9, The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude demands nothing less than extreme speed, precision and stamina; the dancers' powerful performance is a visible triumph as they seek exactitude as artists.

Noted for his innovative choreographic vision, William Forsythe's work has been performed by virtually every major ballet company in the world, including The Kirov Ballet, New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada, The Royal Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, and Boston Ballet. In 1984, he began a 20-year tenure as director of the Ballet Frankfurt and later served as the director of the Forsythe Company, an independent ensemble with an extensive international touring schedule. Forysthe's work continues to be commissioned by some of the world's most prestigious companies.

Gaîté Parisienne

Set in a Parisian café at the height of the romantic belle époque era, Léonide Massine's one-act Gaîté Parisienne finishes the program with lighthearted comedy and a colorful array of spirited characters. Premiered in 1938 by Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, Gaîté Parisienne is set to a joyous score by Jacques Offenbach and is based on his 1866 operetta La vie parisienne. Gaîté Parisienne was one of Massine's most admired works throughout the 1940s and 50s; it became so popular that Warner Brothers made it into a film in 1942. With expressive costumes designed by renowned fashion designer Christian Lacroix, the ballet's characters come to life in one "exuberant number after another," featuring a series of vivacious polkas, waltzes, and a raucous can-can (Apollinaire Scherr, The Financial Times). Léonide Massine's son, Lorca Massine-assisted by Anna Krzyskow-joins Boston Ballet to stage the ballet and continue his father's legacy.

Léonide Massine (1896 - 1979) was one of Europe's leading dancers and choreographers of the early 20th century. Born in Russia at the turn of the century, Massine studied at the Imperial School in Moscow and later served as choreographer for Ballet Russes and Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo where he created his first symphonic ballet, Les Présages. While others had previously choreographed works set to a symphonic score, Massine's choreographic structure more completely paralleled the music. The uniqueness of his symphonic ballets started a choreographic revolution in the dance world. Renowned for his inventiveness and diversity of style, Massine often drew inspiration from and collaborated with artists, including surrealist painter Salvador Dalí who helped design three major experimental ballets. Massine also choreographed and danced in films such as The Red Shoes (1948) and Tales of Hoffmann (1951).

All performances of Kaleidoscope take place at the Boston Opera House (539 Washington St, Boston, MA 02111):

Thursday, March 17, 2016 at 7:30 pm

Friday, March 18, 2016 at 7:30 pm

Saturday, March 19, 2016 at 1:00 pm

Saturday, March 19, 2016 at 7:30 pm

Sunday, March 20, 2016 at 1:00 pm

Thursday, March 24, 2016 at 7:30 pm

Friday, March 25, 2016 at 7:30 pm

Saturday, March 26, 2016 at 1:00 pm

Saturday, March 26, 2016 at 7:30 pm

Tickets start at $35. For more information, visit or call 617-695-6955.

Kaleidoscope performance length is approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes with two intermissions.

About Boston Ballet

Since 1963, Boston Ballet's internationally acclaimed performances of classical, neo-classical, and contemporary ballets, combined with a dedication to world class dance education and community initiative programs, have made the institution a leader in its field, with a 52-year history of promoting excellence and access to dance.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen and Executive Director Max Hodges, the Company maintains a diverse repertoire, ranging from full-length ballets to new works by some of today's finest choreographers. Boston Ballet's second company, Boston Ballet II, is comprised of dancers who gain experience by performing with the Company and independently, presenting special programs to audiences throughout the Northeast.

Programming for Boston Ballet's 2015-2016 season includes Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler: A Ballet by John Neumeier, making Boston Ballet the first North American Company to perform the work; captivating classical works such as John Cranko's Onegin and Mikko Nissinen's Swan Lake; masterpieces by world-renowned choreographers such as George Balanchine and 20th century masters Leonid Yakobson and Léonide Massine; and two highly anticipated world premieres by Karole Armitage and Yury Yanowsky.

Boston Ballet School, the official school of Boston Ballet, has a long-standing dedication to excellence and access. Led by Director Margaret Tracey, the School reaches more than 5,000 students (toddler to adult) each year through Boston Ballet School classes, the Summer Dance Workshop, Pre-professional Summer Dance Program and the Pre-Professional Training held at three studio locations in Boston, Newton, and Marblehead.

Boston Ballet's nationally-acclaimed education programs include Citydance, Adaptive Dance, and ECI On Location. The programs are offered in partnership with the Boston Public Schools and in communities throughout the city and region.

For more information, please visit

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