The New York City Ballet on Thursday, February 7.

It never fails: When I choose to see a ballet repertory program mainly for one or two works on the bill, those works are never my favorites, and often, the work in which I had no particular interest is the one I most enjoy. Sometimes I wonder whether I should just start picking programs at random.

In the case of the City Ballet’s Inspirations program, I was curious about “The Chairman Dances,” set by Peter Martins to music cut from John Adams’ minimalist opera Nixon in China, and I was eager to see “Rococo Variations,” Christopher Wheeldon’s final work for the company as its resident choreographer. I rolled my eyes at the inclusion of “Stars and Stripes,” George Balanchine’s John Philip Sousa extravaganza, but inevitably, that latter work delighted me in spite of myself, and the former two disappointed. Someday this will stop surprising me.