The challenge: Go to the ballet approximately once per week while simultaneously never missing a ballet class (no Tuesdays or Thursdays) and working around travel plans. As a quick explanation for those of you in Paris who haven’t bought ballet tickets in New York, the process is slightly different. Here, instead of tickets coming out a few weeks before each production, every ticket for the entire season goes on sale at the same time. This results in poverty for about a month and internal battles about exactly how much ballet I can see.
What follows is a transcription of me fighting with myself over which tickets to buy. For reading purposes, the irrational side of my brain will be abbreviated to IB, and the (slightly) more reasonable side will be RB. I hope you’re entertained by my burgeoning schizophrenia.
The scene: Sitting at my work computer, currently with a single brain. The calendar for the NYCB season opens and my brain is immediately torn in half. The ballet battle begins.
Irrational Brain: Serenade and Firebird on the same night?! Buy every single ticket! NOW!
Rational Brain: Um, yes, that would be lovely, but don’t you want to see, you know, other things too? Also, I know you tend to get carried away here, but please remember you have to pay rent and buy food at some point.
IB: (sigh) Fine… two of them? Please? One includes Kammermusik No. 2 and the other has DGV: Danse a Grande Vitesse, neither of which you’ve seen so it’s totally justifiable, right?
RB: Done and done.
IB: Wait a second… by other things you don’t mean that I should go to the new Martins and Millepied night out of sheer obligation to the idea of “newness” do you?
RB: It would be a learning experience, and you need to push yourself more! Come on, what have those two choreographers ever done to make you actively avoid them?
IB: Ocean’s Kingdom and Black Swan respectively. Absolutely not. Veto declared. You can’t make me!
RB: Fine, be that way. What about Symphony in C? You’ve always wanted to see that, and June 1 has Concerto Barocco, Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux plus Fancy Free.
IB: Deal… What about A Midsummer Night’s Dream?
RB: Yes, but only one. You still have ABT and Paris Opera Ballet to buy.
IB: (sulks for a bit while looking up the ABT schedule and then…) Mother of everything sacred, David Hallberg is doing Apollo!
RB and IB simultaneously: Forget food, buy that ticket immediately!
RB: Hmm that night Osipova is doing Ratmansky’s new Firebird… that could be interesting. It would make a nice contrast to Balanchine’s. Let’s see… what else?
IB: Bayadere? That one’s beautiful!
RB: Correction, Nureyev’s is beautiful in Paris. You literally fell asleep last time you saw it at ABT. Also do you really want to see ABT’s corps de ballet as the Shades?
IB: Fine, but you don’t get to bring up the corps every time.
RB: If they could stand in a straight line I wouldn’t have to. Onegin?
IB: YES! With Julie Kent? Oh… she’s partnering Bolle.
RB: Hmm you know, that could be good. A man with this photo as his Twitter profile could probably pull off “pompous jerk” really well. Also, Kent makes everything magical, and you’ve never seen it.
IB: Done. Let’s see…obviously Steifel’s retirement in Corsaire. That’s just a given. What about Romeo and Juliet? Oh! Hallberg’s dancing… Why can’t he partner someone other than Osipova? Just for a change.
RB: Not everyone will partner Julie Kent. Get over it. Also, you thought Osipova was charming in Coppelia and actively wondered if she could pull off a young, dramatic role like Juliet; she could be fantastic! And you get to see Hallberg again, so stop complaining.
IB: Angel Corella is retiring! He’s dancing Swan Lake with Herrera… is that worth it?
RB: Yes, yes, it is. I wonder what ABT is going to do about its lack of male dancers? Oh, look! They’re giving Simkin a Swan Lake, and Hammoudi has one too! Too bad they’re on Wednesdays at 2:00. That could have been interesting.
IB: Ugh, can’t I just skip work those days? I want to see!
RB: No. Moving on. Paris Opera, what to see?
IB: Um, all of them, obviously. Is that seriously even a question?
RB: Yeah, that’s not really up for debate, is it? I think we’re done here!
IB: I think so! Alright, so it looks like we have:
May 2nd: NYCB Serenade, Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, Kammermusik No. 2, Firebird
May 4th: NYCB Serenade, DGV: Danse a Grande Vitesse, Firebird
June 1: NYCB Concerto Barocco, Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, Fancy Free, Symphony in C
June 6: NYCB A Midsummer Night’s Dream
June 8: ABT Onegin (Kent, Bolle)
June 11: ABT Apollo, Firebird, Thirteen Diversions (Hallberg, Osipova, Company)
June 18: ABT Romeo and Juliet (Hallberg, Osipova)
June 28: ABT Swan Lake (Corella, Hererra)
July 7: ABT Le Corsaire (Steifel, Murphy)
July 11: POB French Masters (Company)
July 18: POB Giselle (Gilbert, Hoffalt)
July 20: POB Orpheus and Eurydice (Gillot, Bullion)
Are we good? Does that cover it? Should I buy more? I feel like I should probably buy more.
RB: Did…did you just trick me into spending the rent and food money again? How do you do this EVERY season?!
IB: It’s a God-given talent. Or crippling financial addiction. Take your pick.
Cleopold, being the wonderful person/editor that he is, suggested that it would benefit this little article to add links to the three ballet calendars I referenced (which I did). However, in adding said calendars, it was necessary to actually look at them, which led to the following….
RB: OK, just looking for the link, just going to highlight the link and put it in the article. Don’t even think about looking-
IB: There is a Cojocaru/Kobborg Romeo and Juliet on a non-ballet class day that you didn’t even consider last time! What is wrong with you?! That’s mandatory viewing, especially after Cleopold and Fenella loved it so much! How could you not want to see Cojocaru die smiling?
RB: No. You already spent all your ballet money! Don’t you click that link, don’t you dare-
IB: But look, Hallberg is doing Swan Lake! You know you have to see that!
RB: Yeah, with Semionova! Do you even remember how bored you were last year? You saw her running off stage after she killed herself!
IB: Don’t care! Hallberg. As. Siegfried.
RB: No no no no no no
IB: (buys tickets)
RB: …You do realize that now you’re not allowed to buy wine for the next two weeks.
IB: Worth it.