I <3 New York City Ballet

It’s spring! It’s spring! It’s finally, finally spring!

Actually, it’s 40 degrees and rainy here in NYC (womp). But the spring signifier that REALLY matters to me and my fellow bunheads is the kickoff of ballet season—and that happened last night, aka opening night at New York City Ballet.

Over the next couple of months, both NYCB and American Ballet Theatre will be performing at Lincoln Center. (For a few weeks they’ll even be there simultaneously, right across the plaza from each other. Eee!) But every year the NYCBers get the ballet party started first—and do they ever know how to start a party.

NYCB’s big glittery spring gala, the event that brings out A-list celebrities in their A-game finery, isn’t until next Thursday. (This year’s gala also includes a premiere by the wonderful Justin Peck—check back here next week for more on that.) And yet the theater last night was filled not only with amazing dancing, but also with some pretty amazing celebs.

Why, you ask? First of all, because ballet is the coolest. But also because last night’s program included the premiere of French artist JR‘s first-ever dance work, which starred none other than jookin’ sensation Lil Buck.

Lil Buck—no Photoshop required. (Photo via J R's Instagram)

Lil Buck—no Photoshop required. (Photo via JR’s Instagram)

Titled Les Bosquets, the piece brought together fantastic costumes (including a pretty amazing paper tutu), music by French music phenom Woodkid, and choreography—dreamed up by JR with an assist from NYCB artistic director Peter Martins—that had Lil Buck and NYCB soloist Lauren Lovette swimming in a surging sea of corps dancers. (The whole thing was inspired by JR’s experiences during the 2005 Paris riots.)

Bows after the premiere of "Les Bosquiets." THEY'RE WATCHING YOU! (photo via J R's Instagram)

Bows after the premiere of “Les Bosquets.” THEY’RE WATCHING YOU! (photo via JR’s Instagram)

The dance featured some fascinating moments, including the opening sequence, which had men carrying women as if they were guns. And in the audience cheering on the project were both the fabulous Janelle Monáe and—wait for it—Madonna. Madonna!

After recovering from starstruck shock, I realized that Lil Buck has danced for both divas. How great is it that they came out to support their friend? And both stayed for, and seemed to enjoy, the rest of the program, which included Alexei Ratmansky’s incredible Namouna: A Grand Divertissement. Have Lil Buck and JR made ballet converts of them? Here’s hoping.

Speaking of Lil Buck being awesome, did you see him over on Vogue.com yesterday? I’ll leave you with their haunting video of him doing what he does best. And ballet peoples, if you’re in or around New York, get yourself to Lincoln Center, STAT!

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