Bolshoi Ballet and Orchestra | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Bolshoi Ballet and Orchestra 

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If you're the typical local balletomane--according to a recent study by the Chicago Community Trust, a white middle-aged female who took dance classes as a child and prefers beauty to an intellectual challenge--you're probably relieved that the Bolshoi isn't doing its controversial new Romeo and Juliet, which dispenses with toe shoes for the ladies and puts Mercutio in drag at the Capulet ball, where he seduces Tybalt. Instead the 228-year-old company and its 67-piece orchestra are performing two 19th-century pieces by Marius Petipa, Don Quixote and Raymonda, the latter a ballet rarely presented in the West in its entirety--perhaps because the story is generally acknowledged to be slight to the point of silliness. The title French princess is promised to a French crusader, but while he's off at the wars she's abducted by a Saracen knight; after being rescued, she's married to our hero with great fanfare and pageantry. The ballet is known for its integration of classical dancing and character dance, and the brief excerpt I watched on tape showed the vigorous result of translating Hungarian and Polish folk dances into the ballet vernacular. And for those who love traditional beauty, there are flocks of girls on pointe in tutus performing with the Bolshoi's trademark clockwork precision. Don Quixote Thu 11/11, 7:30 PM; Raymonda through 11/14: Fri 7:30 PM, Sat 1 and 7:30 PM, Sun 2 PM, Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress, 312-902-1500 or 312-922-2110, ext. 4 for group sales, $22-$100.

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