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Splurge: American Ballet Theatre, world premiere of "The Firebird," Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. March 29-April 1. Tickets $16-$115 (on sale Feb 19). (714) 556-2787 or http://www.scfta.org
Here's a must for any dance lover: A promise to take them to see American Ballet Theatre's highly anticipated world premiere of "The Firebird" by Alexei Ratmansky (at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts). Ratmansky, ABT Artist in Residence, is using Igor Stravinsky's complete score for his remake of this Russian folk tale. Russian star Natalia Osipova has been cast as the mythical creature, and so have two ABT soloists who are increasingly being tapped for leading roles, Isabella Boylston and Misty Copeland (the Spotlight Award-winner who grew up in San Pedro). The uncommon program features two other treats, Christopher Wheeldon's new "Three Diversions" and the late Merce Cunningham's "Duets." The best seats in the house will be $115.
Bargain: Gert Weigelt calls his work "physical photography" and as you look at his 2012 Dance Calendar (teNeues Publishing) you feel the muscles contracting and stretching in your body. Weigelt is a former member of Nederlands Dans Theater, Royal Swedish Ballet and Cullberg Ballet, and like other former dancers-turned-photographers, he has an unerring eye for that moment of astonishing athleticism. But he also captures the unusual spatial angle, such as in November's overhead shot from "Swan Lake." This calendar mixes recent and older photographs of companies not often seen here, including the late Pina Bausch's Tanztheater Wuppertal, Cloud Gate Dance Theatre and Ballett det Staatsoper Berlin.
-- Laura Bleiberg