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Cincinnati Ballet's "Director's Choice" will take place Sept. 16-17 at the Aronoff Center. PICTURED: James Gilmer and Maizyalet Velázquez of Cincinnati Ballet // IMAGE: Aaron M. Conway

See How The Ballet Is Ringing In Its Incredible New Season

Get hyped, ballet lovers. This is the beginning of the 2016-17 Cincinnati Ballet season, a beginning filled with auteur pieces, swan songs, and star-studded programs.

Director’s Cut, which takes the stage Friday, September 16 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, September 17 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. at the Aronoff, includes six short works ranging in style from classical to contemporary:

Patrotic Pas: The world premiere of a lively, patriotic duet from Cincinnati Ballet Artistic Director and CEO Victoria Morgan.

Capricious Maneuvers: A ballet courtesy of world-famous New York City Ballet dancer and choreographer Justin Peck.

Raymonda: A farewell performance from retiring dancers Sarah Hairston and Zack Grubbs, with students from the Otto M. Budig Academy.

Ma Cong: A world premiere from esteemed choreographer Ma Cong set to the music of Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds, a detail I certainly wouldn’t have included had the composer’s name not been Ólafur Arnalds.

Fusion: Special guests from San Francisco Ballet Sarah Van Patten and Luke Ingham dance excerpts from Yuri Possokhov’s Fusion.

Prohibition Condition: Soloist James Cunningham presents his first work choreographed for the main stage.

But the season’s biggest attraction might not be on the stage.

(Ahem.) In her 20 years as Cincinnati Ballet Artistic Director and CEO, Victoria Morgan has put on some gorgeous performances, cultivated outreach and educational programs, and grown the ballet’s operating budget enormously.

It’s evident Morgan is one of the bright stars in Cincinnati’s constellation of artistic leaders.

What might be less evident to us Cincinnatians is her importance to ballet nationally. In a truly surprising, “say what?!” kind of anomaly, Morgan is one of only five female artistic directors leading U.S. ballet companies with an annual operating budget of $5 million or more.

Just five. In a craft that, well, many of us probably assumed was dominated by women. Nope. False.

Still, with its strong leadership and outstanding productions, Morgan’s tenure offers an example of success for ballet companies around the country. And she hopes this year’s ballets continue that example forward.

With Director’s Cut, she’s off to a fast start.

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To learn more about the 2016-17 Cincinnati Ballet season, check out the Cincinnati Ballet website.