Shades of Sound: Spring Awakening on Stage. Date Night at the Boston Ballet.

For our March date night Vit and I were privileged to “awaken our senses”  and celebrate the (calendar) beginning of spring  with the Boston Ballet’s  Shades of Sound. (Thank you, Boston Ballet, for the tickets, and thank you, mom and dad for babysitting).

Shades of Sound (runs March 19-29 at the Boston Opera House) is a program of three distinct pieces from three different generations of choreographers.

The pre-curtain talk with several dancers was very informative, but no talk could prepare us for what we were about to see and hear.  So without spoiling your own experience with the program, let me share some highlights of the evening:

Our absolute favorite of the three ballets was “ultra modern” Chroma (created by internationally acclaimed British choreographer Wayne McGregor in 2006).

[Boston Ballet dancers performing in Wayne McGregor's “Chroma”, ©RosalieO'Connor]
Boston Ballet dancers performing in Wayne McGregor’s “Chroma”
Set on a white stage with ten dancers dressed in costumes made to match their skin tones, Chroma absolutely mesmerized us with its “geometrical” explosions brilliantly assembled into an endlessly organic composition.  The musical score (by Joby Talbot and Jack White) is so powerful that it requires one of the largest groups of Boston Ballet Orchestra musicians ever – with six percussionists playing in the opera boxes.  It was like nothing we have ever seen before and you will not be disappointed.  The second it was over, we were ready to see it again.

The second ballet of the evening, “Episodes”, (premiered in 1959) is a choreographic tribute to late George Balanchine (1904-1983) and his passion for music of Anton Webern.

Boston Ballet’s production of George Balanchine's “Episodes”, ©The George Balanchine Trust
Boston Ballet’s production of George Balanchine’s “Episodes”, ©The George Balanchine Trust

Russian-born Balanchine  was considered the foremost contemporary choreographer of his time, but this  “black and white” ballet is definitely the most “classical” of the three pieces, and requires a little bit more of ballet knowledge than we possess to be truly appreciated.  Ballet connoisseurs will certainly be delighted with the precision of this staging and quality of dancing.

The final comic Black Cake (originally created in 1989 by Dutch choreographer Hans van Manen) is set to a mix of classical gems that include Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky.

Boston Ballet performing Hans van Manen's “BlackCake” ©RosalieO'Connor
Boston Ballet performing Hans van Manen’s “BlackCake” ©RosalieO’Connor

It is a high-heeled (and a bit tipsy) party of dancers engaged in ballroom variations and playful interactions with each other. It is brilliantly danced and funny; and is an appropriate ending to a spectacular night of music and dancing.

Shades of Sound kicks off this spring’s Perception series which will continue with Edge of Vision (April 30- May 10) and Thrill of Contact (May 1-14).

Remaining Shades of Sound Performances:

Thursday, March 26, 7:30pm (Post-Show Talk with Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen)

Friday, March 27, at 7:30pm

Saturday, March 28, at 1pm and 7:30pm

Sunday March 29, at 7:30pm

Tickets start at $29. For more information, visit or call 617-695-6955



5 thoughts on “Shades of Sound: Spring Awakening on Stage. Date Night at the Boston Ballet.”

  1. Victoria Burdman

    We loved loved Chroma! and pre-curtain was quite lively with mediator giving musical and historical contexts and engaging the dancers. we are often too tired for post-show talks, and felt the pre-curtain was a perfect “tune in” for the show!

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