The attack of the story ballets...



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Or perhaps a better expression, at least at New York City Ballet, is "Money matters!" The company, founded by George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein—who, among other things, wanted to stretch the art form beyond its story-ballet roots—will present a new full-length production of Romeo and Juliet on May 1. Still, it's described as being "the centerpiece of NYCB's spring season celebration of the centennial of Lincoln Kirstein's birth." But there's more! It will be choreographed by Peter Martins—a man who really has a grasp on romance (kidding—his hard-edged Swan Lake is about as romantic as an episode of Sex and the City). On the positive side, there are many contenders for Juliet—Jenifer Ringer is number one. The production will also include students from the School of American Ballet, which means there should be some opportunity to bask in the glory of little Austin Bachman (who, sadly, has stepped down from Nutcracker prince duties this season). Unfortunately, sets and costumes are by the Danish painter Per Kirkeby, who created the hideous sets and costumes for Martins's Swan Lake. Oh well. Jenifer Ringer would look pretty in a laundry sack. Maybe this time around, the look of the whole thing won't be sloppy graffiti.

There's less unexpected news at American Ballet Theatre, which is reviving Lar Lubovitch's full-evening Othello in May. Two guest artists will play the title role: Desmond Richardson (the part was created on him) and Rasta Thomas. They're both wonderful.

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