Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.

CP: You so should have been there. I would have held the Kleenex box for you.

RN: You can only mean the House of Balanchine, aka Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater, the home of the New York City Ballet and my idea of the Happiest Place on Earth. I'm sick with envy that you were there last week, and I wasn't.

CP: Going to an all-Balanchine night at City Ballet without you is like visiting a fabled imperial palace without a tour guide. I may gawk, I may appreciate, but I can't understand.

RN: And it was a cue-the-waterworks program par excellence, with "Serenade," "Agon" and "Symphony in C." That's the ballet equivalent of the Super Bowl, the World Series and the Stanley Cup, combined. Only better, of course.

CP: If you insist. I dozed intermittently through opener "Serenade." Do NOT tell anyone.

RN: You cretin. It's only one of the 20th century's most watchable masterpieces. I can see it now: While several thousand balletomanes were sobbing at the sight of the Waltz Girl throwing herself on the floor in a pale blue cloud of Karinska-cut tulle, you were catching some Zs.

CP: I think I had to shut down, thanks to the woman next to me, who had drenched herself in cologne that seemed to combine Pine-Sol and a heavy-duty marine varnish.

RN: Ish. An evening at the ballet should stimulate the eyes and the ears, but never the nose. Unless John Waters is staging a scratch-and-sniff production that I don't know about.

CP: The evening's second number, "Agon," was nothing to snooze at.

RN: It never is. When I die, I want my ashes to be scattered on a cast of this Stravinsky-Balanchine masterpiece. I've seen it more times than I can recall, and I never grow tired of it.

CP: I had seen segments of it performed in the Twin Cities, but this was the magnificent unabridged version. I loved the music, the movement, the simple black-and-white practice clothes. Ahead of its time, bracing, brilliant.

RN: I know. It debuted on Dec. 1, 1957, and it looks as if it was made yesterday. If only Balanchine were still around, making ballets. Sigh.

CP: As soon as it ended I wanted to push "Replay." Or I might have just asked the woman near me for a peek, since she videotaped most of the show on her phone.

RN: We hate her. Put the phone down, people.

CP: Maria Kowroski and Amar Ramasar in the "Agon" pas de deux? OM to the G.

RN: Michigan native Ms. Kowroski is an American treasure. It helps that she also has legs for days, maybe the best in the business.

CP: Which brings us to the B&B part of the evening: Balanchine and Bizet in the 1940s "Symphony in C." There was a sturdy round of applause just for the new costumes, bejeweled by Swarovski.

RN: A sparkling ballet requires sparkling costumes. That just might be my epitaph.

E-mail: witheringglance@startribune.com

Twitter: @claudepeck and @RickNelsonStrib