Ballet: Dancing That Counts

"I could never follow the story of Raymonda,'" complained Prince Peter Lieven, after seeing the Marius Petipa-Alexander Glazunov ballet, which was premiered at St. Petersburg's Maryin-sky Theater in 1898.

Raymonda, as revised and presented last week by Leningrad's Kirov Ballet at Manhattan's Metropolitan Opera House, makes no more sense. There's still the wicked Saracen and the noble Hungarian knight named Jean de Brienne, a duel, an attempted abduction, a wed ding, Spanish and Moorish dances, and of course the maiden Raymonda herself.

But the absence of a plot is no disaster. Raymonda becomes...

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