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Swan Lake 

When: Oct. 10-13, 8 p.m. and Oct. 13-14, 3 p.m. 2012
Price: $30-$90

The jewel of the czars, the pride of the Soviets (who called it the Kirov), and the training ground of Pavlova, Nureyev, and Baryishnikov, the Mariinsky Ballet still reigns as the pinnacle of classical ballet. Founded in the mid-1700s, the company has been performing Swan Lake since 1895; Wednesday through Sunday, Oct. 10-14, the current production graces Zellerbach Hall (Bancroft Way and Dana St., Berkeley). The premise is decidedly Romantic: Lovely young Odette is cursed to live as a swan ... can handsome Prince Siegfried save her? Yet when danced by superb artists like those of the Mariinsky Ballet, it becomes an artwork of tenderness, despair, and beauty -- it's no surprise that many of the passages are intact after two hundred years. Tchaikovsky's magnificent score is as legendary as the choreography, and at Zellerbach the Mariinsky Orchestra performs live. Wed.-Fri. 8 p.m.; Sat. 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Sun. 3 p.m. 510-642-9988 or CalPerformances.org

— Claudia Bauer

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