Posted 17 October 2003 - 09:33 PM
I just got back from seeing their repertory program tonight , and I loved them. I really enjoyed their performance - once I got used to the different look of the corps in Act 2 of Swan Lake. I'm not talking about their muscularity, I liked that, but compared to what I'm used to they didn't seem to "breathe" through the movement. I like a very fluid, flowing style and to my eye a lot of their movements seemed to end abruptly rather than linger. I don't really know the technical terms, but I've read some posts here that discussed dancing on the beat vs dancing through the music. I think that they danced on the beat and that was what I didn't like about their style. I also think I prefer positions to be stretched, rather than held (if that makes any sense). Anyway, after the first few minutes I think I just accepted the differences as simply being a style of dancing I wasn't familiar with and my eye adjusted.
Odette and Sigfried were danced by Viengsay Valdes and Joel Carreno, and while both were good, she was outstanding. Carreno's dancing was very elegant and understated, but his role is a supporting one here. The entire evening was danced to recorded music, and the adagio was very,very slow. Some people don't like that, but I do. Valdes' dancing had a beautiful quality to it, a kind of pliability and expressiveness without being wimpy. Her balances where wonderful and she came out of them with great control and fluidity. The shapes that she carved out with her upper body were really beautiful. One of the things I liked most about everything I saw from the Cubans tonight was that technique was very much in the service of artistry. Valdes reallly communicated the pathos of Odette's dilema through every movement.
Drew mentioned in a post about the performance he saw that they appeared to be very well coached and that each dancer had a sense of what they were doing at every moment. I really felt that too, and really admired it. I think that's so important.
Next, Barbara Garcia and Romel Frometa danced the Black Swan pas de deux. Again, I really loved the ballerina. She is tiny but what a steely portrayal of Odile, and she was quite a turner. When this pas de deux is danced as an excerpt the context is often lost. Not here. Von Rothbart presented Odile, and although it was not danced as a pas de trois he was present throughout to guide Odile through her seduction of Siegfried, just as he would have been in a full length production.
I wasn't crazy about Canto Vital, but it was interesting. It's a modern, athletic piece for 4 male dancers. The dancers I saw were Miguelangel Blanco, Joan Reyes, Eller Bourzac and Daniel Sarabia. They were all excellent, it just wasn't my cup of tea.
The evening ended with "Blood Wedding", which I would describe as a dance-drama. The book is after a play by Federico Garcia Lorca and the music is by Emilio de Diego. The music has a very strong spanish guitar, flamenco feel to it, and the dance also makes use of flamenco style dancing. It's very much a psychological drama, and at some points it almost reminded me of Tudor, the way he used dance to express inner turmoil. I liked the way it mixed traditional style spanish dancing with more balletic type of movement to tell a story. Again, every dancer on the stage was completely in character from the first moment to the last.
I had a great time and am looking forward to seeing Don Q tomorrow night.