Ask people – dance aficionados or not – to name a classical ballet, and the first title that is likely to spring from their lips is “Swan Lake.” It has long been the most popular such work, and the hit 2010 film “Black Swan” helped make sure the masterpiece remains in the public imagination.
Marius Petipa and his assistant, Lev Ivanov, created the now-celebrated version of this ballet, which has influenced virtually every subsequent staging. It debuted in 1895 at the Maryinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Famed contemporary choreographer Christopher Wheeldon re-imagined Petipa and Ivanov’s choreography, shifting the ballet’s setting to the studios of the Paris Opera when Edgar Degas and the other Impressionists were the talk of the City of Light.
Joffrey Ballet presented the Chicago premiere of this new take in 2014, and the company will bring back this much-heralded work, with 10 performances Oct. 17-28 in the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress.
Here’s a look at five other noteworthy dance events this fall:
— Sept. 27, 29 and 30, Season 41 Fall Series, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph (hubbardstreetdance.com). Cutting-edge music and dance premieres built around the theme of sustainability fill out this season-opening program by one of Chicago’s most distinguished companies. Featured will a new work by Emma Portner, who performed and created choreography for Justin Bieber’s “Life Is Worth Living” video, and a collaboration between Jon Boogz and Lil Buck, an exponent of a Memphis brand of street dance known as jookin and a social-media sensation.
—Nov. 2-3, “Relations,” Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, 220 E. Chicago (mcachicago.org). Three much-honored leaders in black experimental dance – Ishmael Houston-Jones, Ralph Lemon and Bebe Miller – will come together for the first time as a trio. Instead of a pre-determined program, the three will improvise for about 90 minutes in this unusual, in-the-moment presentation, drawing on their own distinctive styles and responding to each other.
— Nov. 8-9, Miami City Ballet, Harris Theater (harristheaterchicago.org). Edward Villella, a former New York City Ballet great, co-founded Miami City Ballet in 1985 and built it into of the most respected companies in the United States. Lourdes Lopez took over in 2012 as artistic director and has maintained its strong standards. The ballet classics of George Balanchine have long been central to the troupe’s repertory, and this program will include the celebrated choreographer’s “Concerto Barocco” (1941).
— Nov. 8-10, Red Clay Dance Company, Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, 1306 S. Michigan (dance.colum.edu). To launch its 10th-anniversary season, Red Clay will unveil the world premiere of “EKILI MUNDA/What Lies Within.” Choreographed by the Chicago-based company’s founder and artistic director, Vershawn Sanders-Ward, and Jonas Byaruhanga, who leads the Keiga Dance Company in Uganda, the work culminates a yearlong cultural exchange between the two groups.
— Nov. 10-11, Ballet Folklórico de México de Amalia Hernandez, Auditorium Theatre (auditoriumtheatre.org). This colorful folk company, which first appeared in the Auditorium Theatre in 1989, returns for its sixth set of performances. This year’s program includes a work based on Aztec dance and indigenous music and another that highlights the charreria, the traditional Mexican rodeo.
Kyle MacMillan is a local freelance writer.