In today's busy world of travel, whether the purpose be for business or pleasure, consider topping off your trip by enjoying the performing art of dance. Probability is high for a chance to be moved in the city you're visiting, with either local or touring dance companies performing regularly. Dance is everywhere, but it wasn't always that way. Dance evolutionized — Photo courtesy of Alonzo King LINES Ballet
In the early 1900's, ballet, the mother of all formal dance, started to become widespread from its birthplace in Italy, with European dancers touring France, Great Britain and Russia. Making its way to North and South America, ballet grew in popularity, which precipitated the start-up of new schools and companies. Revolutionary ideas ensued, paving the way for modern companies to thrive. Today, almost every large city boasts its own performing arts center and resident dance company. Even in the face of challenging economic times, dance is still very much alive and a pulse of our society's rhythmic drive for culture.
Back stateside, a transplanted Russian and America's most prolific choreographer, George Balanchine, started the New York City Ballet, and it is from these roots that many other dance companies were born. See his timeless dances, including neo classical pieces such as Jewels, Concerto Barocco and many other works during their spring season, til June 8 at Lincoln Center in New York City. New York City Ballet stars — Photo courtesy of New York City Ballet
The first professional company in New England, and one of the top companies in the world, Boston Ballet attracts international artists and the most discerning balletomanes. Celebrating its 50th year this year, Boston Ballet premieres don't-miss American and world premiers. From classics such as Cinderella (in March) to the visually edgy repertory program "Pricked" (in May), Boston Ballet shows its diverse prowess. The company performs at the lavish Boston Opera House. Boston Opera House — Photo courtesy of Photos of Boston Opera House
Sunshine and beach bathing in your plans? Head to Miami, Florida, where a well-known offspring of New York City's company, Edward Vilella, started Miami City Ballet. Here you'll find famous Balanchine works, but also fresh new programming such as the up and coming West Side Story Suite, now showing through March at the Broward Center and Kravis Center. West Side Story Suite by Miami City Ballet — Photo courtesy of Miami City Ballet
On the opposite coast, a small gem (20 member) of a company - State Street Ballet - can be found in beautiful Santa Barbara, California. Innovative works can be seen here, such as the recent An American Tango and Taming of the Shrew, set in the 1950's. The passionate Carmen, choreographed by New York's William Soleau, is slated for early April.
Major Metros Across the USA
Have a little extra time on a business trip? Other front runner companies such as Atlanta Ballet, Houston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle all offer top drawer programming. Ballet West, in Salt Lake City is also celebrating its 50th anniversary. Regional companies such as Cincinnati Ballet, St. Louis Ballet, Kansas City Ballet and Oklahoma City Ballet also offer fine programming and a great cultural night off from work during your weekend away from home.
The Risk Takers
Interesting innovations and risk-taking can be seen in contemporary and modern companies such as Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Alonzo King's LINES company out of San Francisco, the increasingly popular Aspen Santa Fe Ballet (appearing in both cities) and of course, Mark Morris Dance Group, which tours 35 cities worldwide and is known for collaborating with live musicians such as Yo Yo Ma, in all its shows. The ballet Noir Blanc, using black light — Photo courtesy of Aspen Santa Fe Ballet
The Mark Morris Dance Group and many other wonderful new artists and collaborations (think ballet mixed with hip hop) can be seen in wonderful festivals around the country, such as the International Dance Festival in Vail, Colorado in late July/early August and the oldest summer festival in the country, Jacob's Pillow, nestled in the beautiful Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts. Catch the final farewell performances of the popular Trey McIntyre Project company, one of many performing here mid-June through late August. Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival — Photo courtesy of Jacob's Pillow Dance
Iconic Dance in Russia
Historic St. Petersburg, Russia, is the birthplace of the Maryinsky Theatre, where iconic gems like The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake were first premiered in the 1800's. Arguably the best dancers in the world, the Maryinsky Ballet can be seen performing many nights throughout the month, with both Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake on the program for February and March. Maryinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg — Photo courtesy of roger4336
The word for "big" in Russia is bolshoi, and the Bolshoi Ballet, based out of the capitol city of Moscow, Russia, lives up to its name, with 220 dancers in its famed company. Also known for performing large classics such as Don Quixote and Swan Lake, on the schedule for March of this year, they are also known now for branching out and welcoming new more modern ballets into their repertory. Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow — Photo courtesy of San Francisco Ballet
Take a moment from your hectic business agenda or busy play time to "see the music and hear the dance" as Balanchine once said, and in the words of famed modern dancer Martha Graham, see why "dance is the hidden language of the soul." Catch a performance on your next trip.