JAN. 18–22

Though a few fanatics at balletalert.com grumbled that the Kirov Spectacular program is “behind the ball” because it includes Rubies (which was at the Kennedy Center in 2002) rather than Ballet Imperial (which the Kirov performed elsewhere last season), subsequent postings reveal that the schedule isn’t stopping those nitpickers from flying to D.C. and paying inauguration-week hotel prices to see their beloved company. That’s not surprising: The Kirov Ballet (pictured), once home to choreographer George Balanchine and dancers Anna Pavlova, Rudolph Nureyev, and Mikhail Baryshnikov, is not just a legendary institution; it is a thriving artistic unit that has long since rebounded from its struggles at the dissolution of the Soviet Union. As part of a 10-year residency at the Kennedy Center, the St. Petersburg–based Kirov Ballet and the similarly acclaimed and historic Kirov Opera and Orchestra are, together, presenting a sort of best-of sampler: the Kirov Spectacular, conducted by globe-trotting artistic director Valery Gergiev. This three-hour event will include musical excerpts from Russian opera patriarch Mikhail Glinka’s sorcery tale Ruslan and Lyudmila, Peter Tchaikovsky’s dark love story Queen of Spades, and “Flight of the Bumblebee” composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Tsar’s Bride. The dance program will include Balanchine’s “La Valse” and Michel Fokine’s The Dying Swan. Eager to demonstrate its wealth of talent, the Kirov is varying who will handle the arias, duets, solos, and pas de deux for each of the three performances. Expect grace, athleticism, and drama from all involved. Show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 18, and Wednesday, Jan. 19, and at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 22, in the Kennedy Center’s Opera House. $40–$250. (202) 467-4600. (Steve Kiviat)