Boston Ballet: So Much More than Nutcracker

It’s been a long time since I’ve been to the ballet.  Not because I don’t love it, but I was spoiled by my “hometown” ballets in Canada and New York.  After moving here, my first Boston Ballet performance was a huge disappointment.  In the 90’s Boston Ballet was perhaps a little lost on the ballet scene.  They were a decade away from being Les Ballet Jazz de Montreal and didn’t have the perfected classics, corps de ballet and prima ballerinas of the National Ballet of Canada or New York City Ballet.  But, that was then and this is now!

The fall program, Rooster, “Awake Only” and The Second Detail has everything that used to be missing.  Jorma Elo, Christopher Bruce and William Forsythe’s choreography was up to date without straying too far from being ballet and the corps de ballet was perfectly together most of the time.  The beautiful lighting, modern clean-lined costumes, and stage set with only the simplest of props was refreshing as well.  This allowed the music and movement to speak for themselves evoking emotion purely and simply.

Photo credit: Rosalie O’Connor

Rooster was smooth and sleek opening the show with a cool vintage vibe that set the tone for the eclectic evening.  Ruby Tuesday was one of the highlights, a virtual solo with a Martha Graham-esque red dress, perfectly pointed ballet feet and little Ruby hair twirl.  The flow from solos, duets, trios, corps de ballet and back again wonderfully highlighted the strengths of the company all while telling the songs’ stories.

Awake began with Liam Lurker, a tiny little body on the vast stage opening your eyes to this new piece about to be performed.  Liam is a Boston Ballet School student dressed in pajamas, who quietly commands your attention.  The dance brings back moments in my life from early dawn mornings with an awake toddler, to sunrises on a honeymoon.  There’s deep but subtle joy evoked from the lighting, the music, and the movement intertwined.  “Mom, I think that last one was a little bit about love.” whispers my daughter who is taking in the performance way past her bedtime kept engaged by the perfect combination of music and movement.

The final piece, The Second Detail, was originally performed by the National Ballet of Canada over two decades ago, but has aged exceptionally well.  I did not see the original so I can’t compare the two performances, but what I loved about this piece were the moments when the cacophony of Thom Willem’s music and of William Forsythe’s movement would periodically settle in and become synchronized giving your eyes and ears a moment to relax before being challenged again by the discord on stage.  The piece becomes a perfectly modern ballet.

The Nutcracker is always a family classic and this year is the début of Boston Ballet’s new Nutcracker, costumes, and set, but don’t stop at the Nutcracker.  This Fall Program with music from The Rolling Stones and Johan Sebastian Bach along with the playful movement and stories is a perfect show to bring your little dancer to!  Everyone will enjoy the performance.

Both then and now my tickets were complimentary.  In the 90’s my tickets were “comped” through the hotel where the non-profit I worked for was hosting a conference.  This past performance was thanks to Boston Brunchers and Boston Ballet.  The brunchers include ballerina Rachel Cossar aka Foodista on Pointe.

I did pay for tickets for last year’s Nutcracker and I am definitely looking forward to the rest of the season, and plan to take family and friends especially to see Coppélia, which I performed as a child, and the Spring Program.  But, as I’m always on a budget, I definitely take advantage of Boston Ballet’s group sales (get a group of friends together), Rush tickets for the children and grandparents ($20 cash only ages 7-17 and 65+), and the Curtain Pass.  If you’re good with last minute plans then there is also one of my favorite ways to get discounted tickets to all kinds of events and performances through

Whether its a stretch to buy tickets to any performance or not, I always try to make ends meet to go to a show because for me the arts are an experience that is always uplifting and rejuvenating; it is good for the mind, heart and soul.  I also think there’s nothing like a live performance and its an important thing to introduce your children to the arts and support the arts any way possible.

So whether you’ve got orchestra seats, rush tickets, or can almost touch the ornate ceiling from your seats the experience of a night at the ballet is hard to match!

7 Comments Add yours

  1. This is such a great recap. thank you!! It brought back memories of my mom taking us to our first ballet in Tampa….Coppelia 🙂


  2. Beautiful recap:) Thank you so much for coming! Hope to see you again at the ballet:)


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