PORTLAND — Portland Ballet was at its best Saturday evening in a “By Request” performance of audience favorites from past years, in celebration of the company’s 30th anniversary.

The program ranged from some of the earliest extant ballet choreography through classical variations and contemporary ballet, to the avant-garde “Bolero.”

With such diversity, it was striking that the program felt so smooth. It was all just indefinably right, and deeply satisfying.

The evening began with the exquisite historical piece “Pas de Quatre,” which premiered in 1845, starring the era’s most famous ballerinas, including Marie Taglioni, a pioneer of pointe dancing and shortened skirts for ballet.

“Pas de Quatre” is traditionally performed by four dancers in character of the original ballerinas, including their charming smiles and old-fashioned arm positions. It was staged for Portland Ballet by the great ballerina and coach Eleanor D’Antuono.

Principal dancer Rachel Willis, among those who were taught the piece personally by D’Antuono, was joined by Megan Buckley, Andrea Lucas and Morgan Sanborn for this performance. All four impressed with neat pointe work and beats and precision in formations.

Willis captured the historical style perfectly and charmingly, and her outstanding strength was demonstrated by a melting quality that pervaded even her jumps.

Classical variations included solos from “Raymonda,” “Sleeping Beauty” (Aurora), “Don Quixote” (Kitri) and “Giselle,” each with its historic choreography, and a taste of the personality of its parent ballet.

Buckley’s rendition of Aurora’s wedding scene solo was near perfect, with gorgeous balances and delicate footwork.

Jennifer Jones was cool and dreamy in Raymonda’s enigmatic third-act variation, and Deborah Zelie flew through Kitri’s first solo.

Willis performed Giselle with an irresistible girlish quality, infectious delight and superb strength throughout the balances and hops on pointe.

Contemporary works included three each by Vanessa Beyland and Nell Shipman, each with costumes by the choreographer. Beyland’s “Do Not Go Gentle” was athletic and dramatic. Joseph Jefferies and Tyler Sperry, in red T-shirts and jeans, showed anguish and struggle beautifully, in movement, gesture and expression.

Beyland’s “Triste” was a lighthearted trio for Sperry, Willis and Caroline Shelton, opening with Sperry’s entrance with a boom box and a sign reading “Singles Salsa Mixer” and proceeding with Willis and Shelton showing up for the dance in unfortunately similar dresses.

Full of mishaps and competition, the piece combined modern, jazz and salsa with a humorous story line of romantic desperation and confusion, ending with an audible mutual sigh from the three dancers.

“Dancin’ Dan,” also by Beyland, was in the Fosse style of both choreography and costuming (black pants or tights, white shirts and bowler hats), and performed by Sperry with five women.

Sperry and Anastasia Taylor displayed the Fosse style beautifully, with its ballet quality and restrained but powerful sexiness.

Shipman’s “PushMePullYou” was silky and absorbing, performed in yellow tunics that showed statue-like drapery folds in the stage lights and featuring beautiful leaps and patterns among the six dancers. Jefferies and Zelie, as the central pair, were stunning.

In her “Not As Planned,” Jones and four women demonstrated strength and a quality of stillness in choreography that included deeply creative and original shapes and patterns.

“Somebody” epitomized Shipman’s talent for blending abstract expression (music made visible) with the specifics of a story.

Jefferies and Jones performed a dance of missed connections, often dancing the same steps as they searched fruitlessly for someone to love, then finally bumped into one another (literally) and performed joyous lifts.

The program ended with “Bolero,” choreographed for the company in 1993 by Andrei Bossov.

This piece is somehow both odd and perfect: unique for its disparate but tightly woven and kaleidoscopic dancing for the eight women, with some downright strange recurrent movements, but mostly appearing to be exactly what must have been in Ravel’s mind while composing.

In the whispered opening, dancers enter one by one, each with her own movement theme, just as the melody is passed with variations from flute to clarinet to bassoon and onward through the orchestra.

As the music builds, so does the dancing, which finally climaxes in unison floor work and wild leaps.

Jennifer Brewer is a freelance writer, teacher, musician and dancer who lives in Saco.