Hansel and Gretel, Ballet Chicago’s first full-length ballet, premiering at this year’s Spring Festival of Dance, is everything a ballet should be: gorgeous, charming, magical. Choreographers Daniel Duell and Gordon Peirce Schmidt intelligently incorporate the moral and psychological underpinnings of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale , making a ballet as meaningful as it is beautiful. The music (based on Engelbert Humperdinck’s century-old opera of the same name, adapted for orchestra by Kimberly Schmidt) is lush and captivating. As Hansel and Gretel, Guoping Wang and Meridith Benson light up the stage with their energy. And the choreography, the perfect accompaniment to spring, lifts the spirits, leaving one in awe of the things that human beings can do. Thursday and next Friday, April 14 and 15, at 7:30; next Saturday, April 16, at 2 and 8; and next Sunday, April 17, at 2 and 7; performances continue through April 24. At Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted; $29.50-$35. Call 335-1650 for tickets and information.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Dan Rest.