In a second-floor studio in a non-descript building in Pacific Beach, dancers are spinning, soaring, dipping and sweating. A lot.

City Ballet’s performance of Celebrate Balanchine, which runs at Spreckels Theatre this weekend, is an exercise in diligence and precision. It’s a production originally choreographed by George Balanchine, whose world-renowned ballets may only be performed by ballet companies who’ve demonstrated the ability to perform the highly technical movements.

I went behind the scenes with City Ballet’s performers during a recent rehearsal and watched as the director, Elizabeth Wistrich, dissected every minute movement the dancers made.

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Sam Hodgson

Sam Hodgson is a freelance photojournalist and contributor to Voice of San Diego. You can contact him at

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