It’s been 37 years since The Royal Ballet performed in Chicago. But the company returns to the Midwest city June 18-21 performing  “Don Quixote.” It’s one of the cool things to do in Chicago this weekend and part of a month-long, 3-city US tour that heads next to New York City’s David H. Koch Theater, where performances begin June 23.

Bonding Over Ballet

Things to do in Chicago: See The Royal Ballet perform Don Quixote

Photo courtesy of The Royal Ballet, 2013, Credit : Johan Persson

Ballet is a bonding experience in my family. One of my earliest memories is going to the ballet with my mom. Every Christmas included a visit to see “The Nutcracker” on stage. We got dressed up and made a day of it, including a fancy dinner in the Loop and the glorious ballet at night’s end. Actually, the ballet was the end of my night. I’m sure my mom’s ended with me asleep in the back of the car while she drove us home.

I don’t remember ever seeing The Royal Ballet with my mom, although I did see it on my own once during a work visit to London that I extended for a few days of self-indulgent theater-going.

Seeing the majesty of The Royal Ballet on stage in Chicago is likely to be a bittersweet thing. It will feel odd seeing the ballet without my mom, who has been gone nearly 10 years now. But I hope to salve the wound a bit by taking my daughter. I’m not sure why I never continued the tradition of taking her to the ballet the way my mom always took me. Perhaps this visit will be the first of many.

Royal Ballet at the Auditorium Theatre

This is The Royal Ballet’s debut at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, one of Chicago’s world class theater facilities. It’s the conclusion of the theater’s 125th Anniversary International Dance Series. Auditorium Theatre Executive Director Brett Batterson said in a press release: “The Royal Ballet will bring the finest dancers in the world to Chicago and we are honored to be one of three venues throughout the entire country presenting this esteemed company on their North-American tour.”

I have never seen “Don Quixote” as a ballet. This performance was created by Royal Ballet Principal Guest Artist Carlos Acosta especially for The Royal Ballet in 2013. The familiar story follows the adventures of bumbling Don Quixote, accompanied by his faithful squire Sancho Panza, as he embarks on a quest for his ideal woman. Along the way, Don Quixote stumbles upon lovers, Kitri and Basilio, who are prevented from marrying by Kitri’s father, Lorenzo, who wants her to marry the wealthy Gamache. A journey ensues as the lovers try to escape their planned lives while Don Quixote tries to right the wrongs of the world.

Tickets to the Chicago performances of “Don Quixote” by The Royal Ballet ($32 – $137) are available online at AuditoriumTheatre.org, by calling (800) 982-ARTS (2787) or in-person at Auditorium Theatre’s Box Office at 50 E. Congress Parkway, Chicago.