Ballet in California

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Nearly a century ago, the Hippodrome opened as a combination movie palace and vaudeville theater, spending more than 70 years hosting big names such as Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra. Following a double-decade period of slow business and bad hairstyles, the Hippodrome closed down in 1990. Now, however, after an exhaustive restoration project that reanimated the theater’s chandelier-lit arches, the mural above the proscenium stage, and the grand-theater boxes that hearken back to opera’s heyday, the Hippodrome reopens to the delight of Baltimore’s cultural landscape.

3790 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles,
CA
US

Even when a ballet imposes technical challenges and its reputation raises expectations to near-impossible levels, California Ballet's dancers and artists don't shy away. Much of the company's repertoire reads like a 19th-century Top-10 list?Midsummer Night's Dream, Coppelia, Swan Lake?yet it makes each staging uniquely its own, either by revamping the choreography, casting The Nutcracker with upwards of 200 students from its dance school, or creating sets and costumes that would dazzle an "Ooooh" out of a royal guardsman.

1100 3rd Ave.
San Diego,
CA
US

Ballet San Jose, led by Broadway performer and choreographer Dennis Nahat, showcases a diverse group of shows performed by a diverse group of people. Giselle, which is danced by the theater's talented company to the tunes of a live symphony orchestra and the steps concocted by Nahat, tells the tale of a peasant girl who falls in love with a nobleman in disguise. When she dies after learning his true identity and swimming only 15 minutes after eating, the nobleman searches for Giselle's grave, where he's tormented by female spirits. In order to escape the dance-grasp, he must beg forgiveness from Giselle's ghost.

255 South Almaden Boulevard
San Jose,
CA
US

Smuin has been twirling and leaping about the Bay Area for the past 15 years, though the company also tours nationally and internationally. Its spring program consists of three short contemporary ballets: Petite Mort, French Twist, and Songs of Mahler. Petite Mort was created by Czech choreographer Jirí Kylián and premiered originally at the Salzburg Festival in 1991, the second centenary of Mozart's death. The performance is set to two slow sections of Mozart's piano concertos. It features six men, six women, and six foils; and they tell a symbolic story of aggression, energy, and vulnerability. French Twist is a different affair: a comedic ballet by choreographer Ma Cong, inspired by Tom and Jerry cartoons and set to the music of French composer Hugues Le Bars. Michael Smuin's Songs of Mahler is a dramatic and classical ballet choreographed by the troupe's founder.

700 Howard Street
San Francisco,
CA
US

What do dancers at the Monte Carlo Ballet, the Royal Danish Ballet, and the Joffrey Ballet have in common? Besides the supernatural ability to walk on their toes, they got their start with The Ventura County Ballet Company. The school rigorously trains its students in Russian-style ballet, then shares the results with the community with full-scale, professional performances of classic works such as?The Nutcracker.

800 Hobson Way
Oxnard,
CA
US

What do dancers at the Monte Carlo Ballet, the Royal Danish Ballet, and the Joffrey Ballet have in common? Besides the supernatural ability to walk on their toes, they got their start with The Ventura County Ballet Company. The school rigorously trains its students in Russian-style ballet, then shares the results with the community with full-scale, professional performances of classic works such as?The Nutcracker.

505 Poli St
Ventura,
CA
US