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Like Water for Chocolate


Royal Ballet / London / Stage

“There are no mothers-in-law in ballet,” George Balanchine once said. He meant that dance narratives shouldn’t get too intricate because certain relationships and plot points can’t be expressed in movement. Christopher Wheeldon, whose current Broadway show is MJ (a musical about Michael Jackson), is one of our go-to choreographers for full-length story ballets. But he has his work cut out for him in Like Water for Chocolate, a Royal Ballet and American Ballet Theatre co-production. Based on Laura Esquivel’s book of the same name, the story is set in 19th-century Mexico, has lots of characters, and is punctuated by magical-realist moments. To ease the book’s transition to the stage, Esquivel herself has worked with Wheeldon on the ballet’s scenario. The score is by Joby Talbot, and the designs by Bob Crowley. —L.J.

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