In baseball, it’s referred to as a double header. That sounds a little unrefined for ballet.

But what else do you call it when two acclaimed visiting ballerinas are performing the identical role on the same day on the very same stage?

For die hard fans, a ballet double header — roughly six hours of SLEEPING BEAUTY — was well worth it last weekend, when AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE hosted both Alina Cojocaru, a magnificent dancer from THE ROYAL BALLET and Natalia Osipova, a Russian phenom and emerging star from THE BOLSHOI in Moscow.

Both were dancing the challenging role of Princess Aurora. It was Natalia Osipova’s very first crack at it. Alina Cojocaru was both delicate and extremely emotional, able to evoke not only cheers but real tears from the audience.

Ms. Osipova, who happily has embarked on a growing relationship with ABT this season, again displayed her remarkable physical abilities, particularly her stunning jump.

The day was only one highlight of a particularly rich season of ballet in New York, not just at ABT but also at NEW YORK CITY BALLET, across the plaza at Lincoln Center.

At NYCB, where the season ends Sunday, prolific choreographer Christopher Wheeldon entertained audiences with his latest work ESTANCIA, set on a ranch in Argentina.

The ballet, which evokes memories of AGNES DE MILLE and her RODEO, boasts a team of graceful dancing horses and a ravishing Tiler Peck, who can both act and dance up a storm and becomes more impressive every season.

ESTANCIA is just one of NYCB’S seven world premieres this season and part of the company’s ambitious ARCHITECTURE OF DANCE FESTIVAL, featuring sets designed by the architect Santiago Calatrava. Along with Christopher Wheeldon, the festival has included new ballets by Alexei Ratmansky, NYCB director Peter Martins and NYCB principal dancer Benjamin Millepied, among others.

Even more unusual has been a host of farewell performances this season at NYCB — four dancers are hanging up their ballet shoes, culminating on the final Sunday with Darci Kistler, Peter Martins’ wife and the last of a generation of NYCB ballerinas who trained with GEORGE BALANCHINE. The other retirees: Yvonne Borree, Philip Neal and Albert Evans, along with conductor Maurice Kaplow.

Farewells are always fun to watch and often deeply touching.

First, the dancer gets to choose his or her favourite roles to reprise…one last time. And then a procession of colleagues and friends fill the stage, bringing bear hugs and countless bouquets.

And sometimes more…

A sweet moment at the farewell for Yvonne Borree, a dancer of delicate physical beauty who spent two decades with the company, came when Damian Woeztel, the recently retired NYCB great, dropped his bouquet on the floor and instead presented her with a little red heart.

But the high point of the ballet season have been the appearances of Natalia Osipova, who is dancing three roles with ABT: Aurora, Kitri in DON QUIXOTE and in July, Juliet.

Most impressive so far was her Kitri. In ballet, there are passable jumpers, the good jumpers and the great jumpers. And then there’s Ms. Osipova, who doesn’t so much jump as launch herself into the air for an extended stay, with seeming total control over when (and whether) she might ever land.

And so when she hurled herself head first like a missile across the stage in her ABT debut as Kitri, one had to wonder what would have happened had her gallant partner Jose Manuel Carreno just stepped out of the way rather than catch her. Would she have continued flying, horizontally, into the wings?

A bit of an exaggeration, of course — Ms. Osipova is human, after all — but the audience at THE METROPOLITAN OPERA HOUSE justifiably gasped a number of times. This exciting ballerina, who also danced a smashing GISELLE last year at ABT, is clearly the star of the moment, with a future as boundless as that jump of hers.

If there was any flaw in her Kitri, it had nothing to do with her prodigious technique, which included not only those jumps but stunning fouette turns, whipped off with countless extra revolutions.

Rather, it was her acting that lacked just a bit, more specifically an emotional connection with her partner, the ever dashing Jose Manuel Carreno, who easily possesses the charm needed for Basilio…and can nail those pirouettes, too. The two would have seemed better matched if Ms. Osipova had looked at him more.

But such things come with time — witness the terrific chemistry between Angel Corella and Paloma Herrera.

These two veterans danced an earlier performance of DON QUIXOTE and the evening was filled with a happy sense of affection — between the dancers and with the audience. The effect on stage was absolutely lovely, a sense of two dancers enjoying each other and every bit of their evening together.

Angel Corella is only dancing two ballets at ABT this season and his fans surely want more – even if he is busy in Spain, where he is the artistic director of his own company Corella Ballet.

He may be slowly transitioning into a life of running a company, but judging from the cheers he got at ABT, the fans still want to see him dance.

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