In 1959 the Bolshoi Ballet, renowned then as it is now, came to New York and performed Leonid Lavrovsky’s version of Romeo and Juliet, created in 1940. Set to the Prokofiev score, Lavrovsky’s choreography underwhelmed critic Edwin Denby, who compared the ballet’s pace to “that of an army’s indoctrination lecture.” Part of the problem was oodles of mime–as Lavrovsky said of the ballet, “The depths of passion and ideas, and the intensity of feeling conveyed by Shakespeare’s tragedy, demand the fusion of dance with mime….Every phrase of mime must correspond with the spoken language.” But Denby praised the performances, remarking on “that amplitude of strength, that full support from the waist, traditional among Russians, but which the Bolshoi has excellently trained.” He also had a little fun at ballerina Galina Ulanova’s expense, suggesting that his reader try her “fling and rush” across the stage at home to get some sense of its difficulty: “Standing in the middle of the room, fling an arm across your chest, and at the same time raise the breastbone as high as it will go….Push the neck forward as hard as you can, and lift your head until you feel ‘desperately resolved.’ (It may make you cough.) And now, keeping the stance you are in unchanged, rush about the room with an incredible lightness and rapidity. If your family is watching, they will pick you off the floor, and urge you to try harder.” You can form your own opinion of Lavrovsky’s Romeo and Juliet in the Bolshoi’s performances here, their first since 1990; they’ll also present artistic director Alexi Fadeetchev’s Don Quixote, set to the Ludwig Minkus score. Romeo and Juliet will be performed Tuesday through Thursday, June 8, at 7:30, and Don Quixote next Friday, June 9, at 8 and next Saturday, June 10, at 2 and 8. Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress, Chicago; $22-$100. Call 312-902-1500 for tickets, 312-922-2110, ext. 4, for rates on groups of ten or more. (For information on the Auditorium Theatre Council gala Thursday before the show, call 312-751-5527.) –Laura Molzahn