Critic's Notebook: It's Tennessee Williams time at the ballet

The Atlanta Ballet prepares 'Camino Real'

For the Atlanta Ballet, December means Christmas and The Nutcracker. February brings Valentine's Day and Roméo et Juliette. And this year, March will mean ... Tennessee Williams?

That's right. Things will be busy over at the ballet this month because in late March, the company will perform an all-new world premiere adaptation of Tennessee Williams' Camino Real created by the company's new choreographer-in-residence Helen Pickett. The work represents a number of significant firsts: the first ballet ever based on Camino Real, the first time the Atlanta Ballet has approached performing the work of Tennessee Williams, and it's Pickett's first full-length ballet (no pressure or anything).

And the choice of Camino Real is an intriguing one to say the least. Though the lyrical, existential drama has had its defenders over the years, it was a notorious flop when it first opened on Broadway in 1953. The production is being built from the ground up, not just the dance, but the sets, costumes, lighting, and all of the design elements will be new. The company is releasing a series of videos previewing the production. Here's one about the set, which is being designed to evoke the strange and singular world of Williams' Camino Real:

Camino Real runs at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, March 20-22. For more info, visit the Atlanta Ballet.