American Ballet Theatre's 'Giselle'

March 23, 2012 10:12:47 AM PDT
Two artistic American legends reunite as The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University welcomes American Ballet Theatre back to Chicago after 17 years.

"Giselle" is one of the most popular continuously performed ballets, having had its world premiere on June 28, 1841 at the Theatre de l'Academie Royale de Musique in Paris, with choreography by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot, danced by Carlotta Grisi as Giselle and Lucien Petipa as Albrecht. Since then, the ballet, beloved for its magical story and bravura dancing, has entered the repertoire of almost all of the major ballet companies in the world.

The performance schedule for American Ballet Theatre in "Giselle" is as follows:

Friday, March 23 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 24 at 2 and 8 p.m.
Sunday, March 25 at 2 p.m.

Tickets, which range in price from $32 to $127, are currently on sale and can be purchased online at, by calling (800) 982-2787 or in-person at the box office.

About American Ballet Theatre (release)

American Ballet Theatre is recognized as one of the great dance companies in the world. Few ballet companies equal ABT for its combination of size, scope and outreach. Recognized as a living national treasure since its founding in 1940, ABT annually tours the United States, performing for more than 600,000 people, and is the only major cultural institution to do so. It has also made more than 15 international tours to 42 countries as perhaps the most representative American ballet company, and has been sponsored by the State Department of the United States on many of these engagements.

When ABT was launched in 1939, the aim was to develop a repertoire of the best ballets from the past and to encourage the creation of new works by gifted young choreographers, wherever they might be found. Under the direction of Lucia Chase and Oliver Smith from 1940 to 1980, the Company more than fulfilled that aim. The repertoire, perhaps unmatched in the history of ballet, includes all of the great full-length ballets of the nineteenth century, such as "Swan Lake," "The Sleeping Beauty" and "Giselle," the finest works from the early part of this century, such as "Apollo," "Les Sylphides," "Jardin aux Lilas" and "Rodeo," and acclaimed contemporary masterpieces such as "Airs," "Push Comes to Shove" and "Duets". In acquiring such an extraordinary repertoire, ABT has commissioned works by all of the great choreographic geniuses of the 20th century: George Balanchine, Antony Tudor, Jerome Robbins, Agnes de Mille and Twyla Tharp, among others.

In 1980, Mikhail Baryshnikov became Artistic Director of American Ballet Theatre, succeeding Lucia Chase and Oliver Smith. Under his leadership, numerous classical ballets were staged, restaged and refurbished, and the Company experienced a strengthening and refining of the classical tradition. In 1990, Jane Hermann and Oliver Smith succeeded Mr. Baryshnikov and immediately established an agenda that was dedicated to maintaining the great traditions of the past while aggressively pursuing a vital and innovative future.

In October 1992, former American Ballet Theatre Principal Dancer Kevin McKenzie was appointed Artistic Director. Mr. McKenzie, steadfast in his vision of ABT as "American," is committed to maintaining the company's vast repertoire, and to bringing the art of dance theater to the great stages of the world.

American Ballet Theatre has appeared in a total of 132 cities in 42 countries, as well as in all fifty states of the United States. ABT has recently enjoyed triumphant successes with engagements in Tokyo, London, Moscow, Beijing and Seoul. In November 2010, American Ballet Theatre appeared at the Havana International Festival celebrating Alicia Alonso's 90th birthday. This was the Company's first visit to Cuba since 1965.

On April 27, 2006, by an act of Congress, American Ballet Theatre became America's National Ballet Company.