It's hard to know where to begin with the banquet of delights afforded by New York City Ballet's return to Chicago after an absence of more than 25 years. Appropriately, two of the three programs are exclusively or partly devoted to George Balanchine, who formed what became NYCB in 1946 and directed it until 1982, the year before his death. Known for his muscular, inventive, highly musical abstract ballets, Balanchine groomed NYCB dancers to achieve the look he wanted: slender, tensile, strong, unaffected. These shows offer an opportunity, rare in the midwest, to see dancers in the company he created perform his choreography. "A Portrait of Balanchine" includes his Serenade, Concerto Barocco, Duo Concertante, and Symphony in C. "Masterworks" includes his Divertimento No. 15 and The Four Temperaments plus Jerome Robbins's In the Night. The "Gala" program, a benefit for the Harris Theater Presenting Fund, features works created since 1990: Ulysses Dove's Red Angels, Christopher Wheeldon's After the Rain, and current artistic director Peter Martins's Fearful Symmetries. a "Portrait of Balanchine" Tue 10/17, 7:30 PM, Thu 10/19, 1:30 PM, Fri 10/20, 7:30 PM (sold out). "Masterworks" Wed-Thu 10/18-10/19, 7:30 PM, Sat 10/21, 1:30 PM. "Gala" Sat 10/21, 7 PM. Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph, 312-334-7777, 312-345-0005 for info on the gala, $65-$112.