POLL: Which Book Would Make The Perfect Ballet?


In honor of yesterday’s International Literacy Day, we want to hear from you: which novel would you love to see become a ballet?


Sarah Van Patten and Gennadi Nedvigin in Cranko's 'Onegin', based on the verse novel by Alexander Pushkin

Sarah Van Patten and Tiit Helimets in Cranko’s Onegin, based on the verse novel by Alexander Pushkin


Leave a comment here today telling us your dream adaptation! Tell us:

1. The novel and author

2. The choreographer you’ve love to see tackle the material

3. The dancers (from any era) that you envision in the lead roles


If we receive enough responses, we’ll showcase our favorites. Go!



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  1. Posted September 9, 2013 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    1. Pride And Prejudice by Jane Austen.
    2. Sir Kenneth MacMillan.
    3. Tamara Rojo and Mikhail Baryshnikov.

  2. avatar Marianne
    Posted September 9, 2013 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    I’m new to enjoying ballet, so I don’t really know dancers or choreographers by name – but I’d love to see The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood.

  3. avatar Lauralynn York
    Posted September 9, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    I think Doc. Zhivago. It’s been a book, a movie, musical, a TV mini-series. I think it would make a beautiful ballet.

  4. avatar Allison
    Posted September 9, 2013 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    I have more than one suggestion! Hope this is fine. Top pick is Little Women – but other ideas have been on my mind for some time! Thanks for asking SF Ballet! Really would love to see Christopher Weeldon’s mind at work on any of these stories! His movement is incredible. Can’t wait!

    Little Women – by Louisa May Alcott
    Choregrapher – Christopher Wheeldon
    A few of my favorite Ballerinas for the four daughers- Gillian Murphy, Yuan Yuan Tan, Sara Mearns, Alassandra Ferri.

    The Prince and the Pauper By Mark Twain
    Choregrapher – Christopher Weeldon
    Dancers TBD

    Hanlet – by William Shakespeare
    Choreagrapher – Christopher Weeldon
    Dancer- Hamlet – Barishnakov

    The Secret Garden- by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
    Choreagrapher – Christopher Weeldon
    Dancer/Ballerina for the lead – Yuan Yuan Tan or Gillian Murphy.

  5. avatar Ekaterina Belle
    Posted September 9, 2013 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    It would be interesting to see the interpretation of Thrist For Love by Yukio Mishima :) by Mikuni Yanaihara and the current SF ballet primas – Yuan Yuan Tan, Maria Kochetkova…
    Maurice Béjart experience would probably be ideal in this venture, also.

  6. avatar Asha
    Posted September 9, 2013 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    My studio used instrumental music from the film to do a small production of The Wizard of Oz, which was a book first. I’d love to see an adaptation of the Kite Runner. The characters are mostly male, but like I say, an adaptation would be touching. Les Miserables would be good, as well as What Maisie Knew (family/child/divorce drama)

  7. avatar Tessa
    Posted September 9, 2013 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    1. Wildwood Dancing, by Marianne Miller

    2. Christopher Wheeldon

    3. Evgenia Obratzsova, Maria Kochetkova, Nina Ananiashvili and Jurgita Dronina for the main character Jena, Maria Chapman as Tatiana…I have others in mind but the list is so great!

  8. avatar Constantine Tung
    Posted September 9, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    For ballet:
    1) THE THREE NUSKETEERS, by Alexander Dumas

    2) One from SF Ballet

    3) I vision this ballet would be more demanding for man dancers.

  9. Posted September 9, 2013 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes.

    Not sure about choreographer.

    Any of the current dancers.

  10. avatar Laís
    Posted September 9, 2013 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    I would love to see a contemporary piece done over the A Song of Ice and Fire novels. I think the war and love theme would go well. I don’t think it should have a particular coreography style and the beautiful celt music should dictate the plot. I don’t think it should be an absolute copy of the story (or else it would have to be a 6 hour long ballet hahaha) but something inspired. Lucia Lacarra and Vladimir Malakhov would be perfect for a role.

  11. Posted September 9, 2013 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    The Time Travelers’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, has big themes of love and absence and miscommunication and sadness and hope that would be neat to see as a ballet. It’s big and dramatic and kinda epic like a classical ballet.

  12. avatar Elayne Cherry
    Posted September 9, 2013 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    The Love of Seven Dolls. Paul Gallico. Was an amazing movie many years ago, with Leslie Carron, “Lilli”. This has been a great passion of mine, I think Graham Murphy, Matts Eks, Alexei Ratmansky. Music could be re adapted from Burgmueller’s La Peri,: Josef Bayer Puppenfee: Sir Arthur Sullivan Ballet Music, Or Verdi Ballet music. Based on the book it will be magnificent, particularly with the technical theatre today. Good luck, I wish to be in the front when this happens.

  13. avatar kristine bonner
    Posted September 9, 2013 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    great question! my vote: Carlos Luis Zafon, Shadow of the Wind
    choreographer and dancers – oh what a dream, whoever was enchanted with the book and characters!

  14. avatar Virginia Ho
    Posted September 9, 2013 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    Pride and prejudice will be my first choice. Little women with be good too. Gone with the wind won’t be a bad choice. Love to see them all if possible.

  15. avatar Jack Tipple III
    Posted September 9, 2013 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
    Yuri Possokhov
    Sarah Van Patten & Damien Smith – They are both good actors as well as wonderful dancers.

  16. avatar Brynne Rechenmacher
    Posted September 9, 2013 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    1. The Painted Veil
    2. ???
    3. Any of your amazing dancers.

  17. Posted September 9, 2013 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    I would really love to see The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje made into a ballet!

    Novel: The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
    Choreographer: Christopher Wheeldon
    Dancers: David Hallberg and Gillian Murphy

  18. avatar Monique
    Posted September 9, 2013 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    Hansel and Gretel
    Ella Enchanted

  19. avatar Mari
    Posted September 9, 2013 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

    Where The Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak.

  20. avatar Roza
    Posted September 9, 2013 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    I would love to see “Snow Falling on Cedars” immortalized as a ballet. It is a beautiful, lyrical novel.

  21. avatar Carmen Silva
    Posted September 9, 2013 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    Wharton’s “Age of Innocence” made on (at the appropriate ages) Carla Fracci as Ellen Olenska, Antony Dowell as Newland Archer and Lynn Seymour as May Wellend. Choreographer: Kenneth Macmillan.

  22. avatar Julie
    Posted September 10, 2013 at 12:31 am | Permalink

    1. A Game of Thrones
    2. sibi larbi cherkaoui
    3. Yuan Yuan Tan (because they can do anything)

    1. Fledging by Octavia Butler (or any other of her books)
    not sure who to recommend for the other 2 categories here

  23. avatar Velvetparis
    Posted September 10, 2013 at 1:00 am | Permalink

    – Anna karenina
    – war and peace
    – dr zhivago
    – pride and prejudice

    By John neumeier, i cant see Anyone else for these novels

  24. avatar Lauren
    Posted September 10, 2013 at 1:29 am | Permalink

    Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. A haunting romance amidst a time and place that seems more magical than real, this epic is perfectly suited for the stage.

  25. avatar elizabeth
    Posted September 10, 2013 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Jane Eyre. Rebecca. New takes on myths, for example, a “backstory” to Giselle, based on how Lilith recruits Myrtha. Only problem is, I always wanted Muriel M to dance the lead. She is the first Wronged Woman, and she is an Archetype Jung feared too much to discuss.

  26. avatar Matt
    Posted September 10, 2013 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    “The Postman Always Rings Twice” by James M. Cain. Was made into a great 1946 film with Lana Turner and John Garfield. Has everything a ballet needs…love, lust, murder and retribution.
    Choreographer: Yuri Possokhov–he does noir drama very well
    Dancers: Lorena Feijoo or Sofiane Sylve as the femme fatale Cora
    Davit Karapetyan or Vitor Luiz as her lover Frank
    Val Caniparoli or Ricardo Bustamente as the doomed husband Nick

  27. avatar TFB
    Posted September 10, 2013 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    In Watermelon Sugar… by Richard Brautigan
    choreographed by Jessica Lang

  28. Posted September 12, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, 2.Mikhail Baryshnikov, 3. Maria Tallchief and Mikhail Baryshnikov.

  29. avatar Ross Dillon
    Posted September 14, 2013 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    Ballet needs simple plots that lifts the spirits. So I nominate Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

    Choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky.

    Sergei Polunin and Alina Somova should do nicely as principals.

  30. avatar christine kimball
    Posted December 8, 2013 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    I would love to see Lady Chatterly’s Lover by DH Lawrence as a ballet.

    I don’t know who I would like to choreograph but it is such an incredible love story that a truly artistic and open minded perspective could make it a masterpiece.

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