Manon

The American Ballet Theatre at the Metropolitan Opera House on Saturday, June 24.

I don't have much use for this sort of story: A beautiful, virginal young woman, seduced by an unscrupulous man, falls into disgrace and dies tragically — but beautifully, always beautifully — as penance for her sins of the flesh. It's so eye-rollingly Victorian and dull, truly dull, because the woman is inevitably a passive figure, and any story with a passive central figure is going to be dull.

But perhaps only dull from a literary or philosophic viewpoint. Manon taught me that, when it comes to choreography, a passive central figure can be just as beautiful as the Victorians would dream. I might have rolled my eyes at the dated histrionics of the story, but I held my breath at the loveliness of the dancing.