The Boston Ballet’s Kaleidoscope Mesmerizes With Movement, Color And Stunning Visuals

Posted March 14, 2016 by Cheryl Fenton in Theater & Arts
Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude. Photo Credit: Gene Schiavone


Glimpse through a kaleidoscope and you’re delighted with a prism of spectacular movement. The fractals create star bursts, spirals and feathers of mesmerizing color and you just can’t stop staring. Every moment brings another ooh or aah.

Well, this Kaleidoscope ain’t your kid’s toy and it surely can’t be found at Magic Beans. Instead this colorful fusion of works by 20th century masters  elicits its own bursts of delight. And it can be found at the Boston Opera House.

Kaleidoscope is being performed by The Boston Ballet from March 17 through 26 and presents a stunningly visual juxtaposition of four distinct pieces. From classic ballet to the can-can, every one of these works brings one ooh after another.

As part of the ballet company’s 52nd season, Kaleidoscope is a vibrant array of works in one dynamic program. Beginning with George Balanchine’s insanely technical feat of Kammermusik No. 2, the show continues with the dazzling The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude by William Forsythe, and the graceful and romantic Pas de Quatre by choreographer Leonid Yakobson. Gaîté Parisienne by Léonide Massine’s concludes the program (yes, that’s the effervescent ballet channeling Moulin Rouge at the turn of last century that became a 1941 Warner Brothers film The Gay Parisian).

Waite Parisienne. Photo Credit: Gene Schiavone

Waite Parisienne. Photo Credit: Gene Schiavone

To begin, Kammermuik No. 2 (German for chamber music) ignites the evening straight away with its colorful expression of energetic choreography that clearly requires an intense amount of technical ability. A rarely-performed work and the first time the Boston Ballet will present such a performance, one couple and a corps of eight men work to exhaust their bodies (and your belief) as they bring to life the jagged score by composer Paul Hindemith.

Following that tour du force, comes the grace and sprightly movement of the Pas de Quatre, a poetic work set to the melodies of Norma, an opera by Vincenzo Bellini. With continuously linked arms and connected hands, this ballet translates to literally “step for four” as these dancers move as one within the boundaries of unique choreography by Leonid Yakobson.

Kaleidoscope’s third offering pairs the unrelenting final movement of Franz Schubert’s Symphony No. 9 with Forsythe’s The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude. You’ll hold your breath for this 11 minutes of pure intensity – a physically demanding work that amplifies classical ballet like you’ve never seen before, complete with extreme speed, precision and stamina.

The night’s overall performance commences with a moment in a Parisian café at the height of the romantic Belle Époque era. Massine’s one-act Gaîté Parisienne is a lighthearted and colorful comedy that literally translates to “Parisian gaiety.” With expressive costumes designed by renowned fashion designer Christian Lacroix, the characters come to life with exuberant polkas, waltzes, and a raucous can-can. Special treat alert – Lorca Massine, the son of  Léonide Massine, continues his father’s legacy by joining the Boston Ballet to stage the performance. Anna Krzyskow is also on board to assist him.

When these four works come together for Kaleidoscope and all its splendor, trust us. You just can’t stop staring.


Performances take place at the Boston Opera House (539 Washington Street) on March 17-19 and 24-26 at 7:30pm and on March 19-20 and 26 at 1pm. Tickets can be purchased at or by calling 617-695-6955.