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New York City Ballet

We almost lost them. On the other hand, we haven’t actually saved them yet, either. The New York City Ballet will return in 2005, but their continued residency at Saratoga Performing Arts Center beyond next year depends on fund-raising and—more importantly—attendance this season. So, if you want to save the ballet, going to the first or second performance on Tuesday or Wednesday would be an excellent place to start.

This summer’s NYCB season is dedicated to company founders Lincoln Kirstein and George Balanchine, as part of the company’s yearlong event, Balanchine 100: The Centennial Celebration. We could go on about the grace, athleticism and general excellence of the company, or the equal stature of the ballet’s orchestra, but will refrain. Instead, we’ll simply suggest that you see them for yourself.

The New York City Ballet at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (Saratoga Springs) begins Tuesday (July 6) at 8:15 PM with a Russian Tribute featuring Circus Polka, Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto, Apollo and Cortège Hongrois. NYCB master-in-chief Peter Martins will speak on the Balanchine centennial in a pre-performance talk in the Hall of Springs at 7 PM. Attendance is limited to 80, and the $5 tickets are available only to ticketholders for that evening’s performance. The next night (Wednesday, July 7) at 8:15 PM there will be an all-Balanchine program featuring Mozartiana, Agon and Tchaikovsky’s Suite No. 3. Tickets are $57.50 to $15. For more information, call 584-9330.

Tiger Mountain

Featuring former members of Girltoucher, Murphy’s Law and Nada Surf, New York City’s Tiger Mountain have almost as many “feeder” bands as the press say they have influences: From classics of the British Invasion (the Rolling Stones, the Kinks, the Who), to groovy, good-time American acts (Steve Miller Band), to trashy garage gurus (the Flamin’ Groovies) to self-destructive flameout faves (the New York Dolls, the Replacements), from the gritty revolution of MC5 to the chilly melodicsim of the Cars, from Mark Arm to Richard Butler—you name it, Tiger Mountain are said to have it. (In fact, the one reference we most expected based on the band’s moniker—Brian Eno—may be the only act of the last half-century not namedropped by adoring critics.)

Disorienting as that critical stew may be, you’ve still got to be heartened by the near-unanimity of the critics on Tiger Mountain’s live chops. If two critics—one who digs Steve Miller and one who digs Mudhoney—can both agree that Tiger Mountain held their own with stagemates such as Cobra Verde, J Mascis and Dave Davies, something good has got to be going on.

Tiger Mountain will play Valentine’s (17 New Scotland Ave., Albany) on Friday (July 2). Also on the bill are Jackinany and Chris Blackwell. Tickets for the 9 PM show are $5. For more information, call 432-6572.

Fiddler on the Roof

One of the best deals in (more or less) free musical theater returns for another summer this Tuesday, with the opening of Fiddler on the Roof at the Park Playhouse in Albany’s Washington Park. The beloved ’60s musical, based on the stories of Sholom Aleichem, is about . . . aw, heck, you know what it’s about. Jewish village life in old Russia. A people enduring. Tradition. A man trying to marry off his daughters. His daughters trying to marry men they actually want. And, of course, a lot of singing: “If I were a rich man/Doobie-doobie-doobie-doobie . . .”

Take the whole family—even the young ones. They’ll love it: A coworker’s 3-year-old daughter spent the better part of what seemed like (to him) forever, watching a tape of the movie version of Fiddler over and over.

Fiddler on the Roof opens Tuesday (July 6) at 8 PM at the Washington Park Lakehouse (Albany). Admission is free, though they’ll hit you up—reasonably—for donations. You can also pay $16 to $12 for the better seats. The production continues through Aug. 15. For more information, call 434-2035.

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