During the past three decades, the Princeton Symphony Orchestra has grown from a community chamber orchestra into a professional-caliber ensemble. Today, it acts as a musical oasis for the community under the guidance of Rossen Milanov, who brings the experience he gained in his 11 years with the Philadelphia Orchestra and his brief tenure as an eccentric billionaire’s metronome. Since its founding, the orchestra has found a home at the historic Richardson Auditorium, a venue designed by the US Treasury’s supervising architect in the 1890s and renovated to acoustic excellence in the 1980s. The hall is so sonically pleasing, in fact, that six-time Grammy winner Buddy Graham named it among the likes of Carnegie Hall as one of the world’s greatest concert halls, according to the venue’s website.
With more than 60 years of tiptoe-twirling history, the New York City Ballet boasts a seasoned, dedicated dance company that thrills audiences and ballet shoes at every performance. With each Friday- or Saturday-evening ticket purchase through June 12, Groupon users snag a companion ticket for free, allowing members, and whichever of their cultured friends has the brownest nose, to gorge eyes on the company's famously lush and lithe ballet performances. Dance lovers also score admission for two to up to four working rehearsals during the repertory season, along with two spots at New York City Ballet's curiosity-satisfying 90-minute seminars, where the company and special guests reveal the creative clockwork behind their sumptuous productions. Members also get a 15% discount at New York City Ballet's gift shop, a subscription to the company newsletter, advance notice of ticket sales, and the ability to reach, en pointe, the top cabinet where their roommate hides the cookies.
Dubbed “the punk ballerina” for her audacity, ambition, and pure raw talent, Karole Armitage exploded onto the dance scene in 1981 with her groundbreaking work Drastic-Classicism. Since then, the artist has held numerous directorial positions at companies around the world and created genre-bending works inspired by such topics as theoretical physics, 16th-century Florence, and dance. Specializing in an aesthetic as precise as it seems improvised, Armitage and her daring company strive to challenge the preconceived notions of both audiences and the dance establishment.
The globetrotting careers of seasoned dancers Leonard and Chiara Ajkun inspired the twirling twosome to found Ajkun Ballet Theatre in 2000, where they continue to direct classic ballets and choreograph an average of five new programs each year. In the world premiere of Red: The Passion of Tango, the company's masterfully trained dancers set the stage ablaze, singeing eyebrows with fiery dance steps fueled by the energetic nuevo tango tunes of songster Astor Piazzolla, among other composers. Ajkun Ballet Theatre encourages audience members to join the crimson-themed festivities by donning slinky red dresses and sanguine neckties, or simply by binging chili peppers.