Boston Ballet takes us to Paris: new program Kaleidoscope is on stage March 17-26

By Victoria@celebratetheweekend
In Arts, Dance and Theater
Mar 20th, 2016

No travel plans for this spring? Don’t despair!   This week Boston Ballet takes us to Paris in its new program  Kaleidoscope, a colorful springy fusion of four pieces of modern choreography (at the Boston Opera House, March 17-26).

Going to Boston Ballet performances is a family affair in our house.  While my husband prefers modern pieces (especially the programs performed at the BB@home intimate studio on Clarendon Street), my son has traditionally joined me over the years for the dramatic ballets (“Romeo and Juliet”, “Don Quixote”, and a recent “Onegin”) and my 6-year daughter Vi and I take delight in the fairy-tales on stage (“Sleeping Beauty”, “Swan Lake”, and the “Nutcracker”).

This year, Vi surprised me by asking to see Kaleidoscope, a program of four mini-ballets by 20th century masters.  She knew that it was not a fairy-tale but was inspired by the colorful costumes from one of the pieces- Gaîté Parisienne that she saw on the Boston Ballet postcard.  She could sense a joyful celebration and she was not disappointed!


Kaleidoscope Boston Ballet in Léonide Massine's Gaîté Parisienne; photo by Rosalie O'Connor, courtesy of Boston Ballet

Kaleidoscope. Boston Ballet in Léonide Massine’s Gaîté Parisienne; photo by Rosalie O’Connor, courtesy of Boston Ballet

But Gaîté Parisienne was actually the closing piece.

First, on stage was George Balanchine’s Kammermusik No. 2 (premiered in 1978  by New York City Ballet).  Set to the  “disjointed” score of German composer Paul Hindemith, complex and eccentric movements of the dancers mimic the music to showcase Balanchine’s neoclassical style.  The work was precise and energetic, but out of the four ballets in the program this one left us the least engaged.


Boston Ballet's Kaleidoscope

Kaleidoscope. Boston Ballet in George Balanchine’s Kammermusik No. 2 ©The George Balanchine Trust; photo by Rosalie O’Connor, courtesy of Boston Ballet


We both were really taken by the next piece – Pas de Quatre by a much lesser known Russian choreographer Leonid Yakobson (premiered in 1971 by his theater of Choreographic Miniatures in St. Petersburg, Russia).  Poetic and dreamlike, it is a four-ballerina ballet, comprised of intertwining patterns and long lines and set to the beautiful music of Bellini’s opera Norma.  It is supposed to promote sisterly love among equally talented ballerinas (at the time of balletic rivalries) and while technically challenging (imagine linking four sets of hands in a dance) is easy to follow and adore.


Boston Ballet's Kaleidoscope

Kaleidoscope. Boston Ballet in Leonid Yakobson’s Pas de Quatre; photo by Rosalie O’Connor, courtesy of Boston Ballet


Next, the most contemporary-created of the four – The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude by William Forsythe (premiered by Ballet Frankfurt in 1996) is actually a heavily classical piece, except reinvented and amplified.  We both loved the 11-minute ballet set to the striking final movements of Schubert’s Symphony No. 9 and requiring extreme speed and “exactitude” from the dancers.

Kaleidoscope Program by Boston Ballet

Kaleidoscope.  Seo Hye Han, Paulo Arrais, and Ji Young Chae in William Forsythe’s The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, costumes by Stephen Galloway; photo by Rosalie O’Connor, courtesy of Boston Ballet


As the closing program of the evening, Gaîté Parisienne (choreography by Russian-born Léonide Massine, premiered in 1938 by Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo) put the exclamation point to the evening!


Kaleidoscope. Anaïs Chalendard and Paul Craig in Léonide Massine’s Gaîté Parisienne; photo by Rosalie O’Connor, courtesy of Boston Ballet

My daughter could not read the French name Gaîté Parisienne on the curtain, but she could immediately tell that we were transported to Paris (I will not reveal all the set design details).  Vi is not old enough of course to know what “saucy” means yet she related to the comedy, “crazy” costumes (designed by French designer Christian Lacroix), exuberant music of the German composer Offenbach, and vivacious multi-dancer can-cans.  She was swaying to the music and showing off the new moves at home. I doubt there was anyone in the audience who was not moved by the light-hearted energy of the piece.

The performance time is two hours, twenty minutes with two intermissions. You can read more of the stories behind these four distinct works and their remarkable choreographers at Boston Ballet’s website.  (Tickets start at $35 online or call  617-695-6955). For discounted tickets try

Remaining Kaleidoscope Performances:

Thursday, March 24 at 7:30 PM

Friday, March 25 at 7:3 PM

Saturday, March 26 at 1:00 PM

Saturday March 26 at 7:30 PM

We thank Boston Ballet for offering us complimentary media tickets to facilitate this review.

Boston Ballet Kaleidoscope

Vi during the intermission



2 Comments to “Boston Ballet takes us to Paris: new program Kaleidoscope is on stage March 17-26”

  1. samiya selim says:

    Looks like it was a lovely show, my 8 year old daughter would have loved it! As would I 🙂 thanks for linking up with #TheWeeklyPostcard

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