Tobias: Balanchine 100 Begins

“The trap in talking about Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream—with which the New York City Ballet has just opened the winter repertory season of its Balanchine 100 Centennial Celebration—is comparing it to Frederick Ashton’s The Dream. (Balanchine’s take on Shakespeare’s play and Mendelssohn’s music was created in 1962; Ashton’s, in 1964.) The discussion quickly becomes a contest of merits—and Ashton usually wins. His one-act ballet is not merely more succinct and cohesive, it also harbors more emotional resonance. But what if we considered the delights of the Balanchine—and they are many—on their own?”