For an all-too-brief period of one month, both American Ballet Theatre and New York City Ballet will perform at the Lincoln Center. Though the repertoire of each company differs greatly, their theaters are steps away from each other, and it's wonderful to walk by and see people streaming into the respective buildings for a night at the ballet.
ABT kicked off its season with Les Sylphides, choreographed by Michel Fokine, which the company first performed in 1940. ABT's Pillar of Fire and Fancy Free, which accompanied Les Sylphides in the opening program, show the dramatic and technical breadth of the company and demonstrate why it has made a name for itself as the classical company of note in the United States.
NYCB, on the other hand, just had its company premiere of La Sylphide, choreographed by August Bournonville and re-staged by Peter Martins. Though NYCB isn't currently celebrating an anniversary season the way ABT is, the company is nonetheless highlighting its own legacy by paying homage to Bournonville—who Balanchine greatly admired. The company is putting its own, distinctly American stamp on the quintessential Danish ballet.
This embarrassment of ballet riches is certainly one of the best parts of springtime in NYC.