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Ballet Pacifica


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#1 Giannina

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Posted 07 October 2001 - 01:07 PM

I've been hitting the jackpot at ballets lately, at times expecting ho-hum and getting terrific instead. Saturday was such a day at Ballet Pacifica; they've never looked better. I think it's because this was a program that suits their talents best.

Lighting by Liz Stillwell; costumes by Rhonda Earick, Linda Davisson and Molly Lynch.

The mixed bill opened with "Different Trains" choreographed by Molly Lynch with music by Steve Reich. 12 dancers in wonderful 1940's costumes, dancing very basic, solid, classical choreography and dancing it extremely well. (I wrote my notes with my eyes on the ballet and now I can't read them!) The ballet ended with all 12 dancing the same steps but at slightly different times. It's been done many times but this was especially effective, giving the look of a babbling-brook type of motion. The ballet was very short, no more than 10 minutes; I wanted more.

Next was a world premier of "Liaisons", choreographed by Robert Sund. The music was played on a harpsichord and cello on stage. The story is Valmont/Dancerous Liaisons. Nice story-telling choreography, but what made it work was Hitomi Yamada as Mademoiselle (the innocent victim) and Tom Barber as Le Vicomte. She was so pure, so naive, so loving, so astonished at what was happening to her; her acting enhanced her dancing. He was baaaad! They were wonderful together and made the story/dancing vibrant.

After the intermission we were given "Sunflowers" by Antony Tudor, the reason I went to the ballet. I hate to admit this but it left me cold. Nice choreography, nice enough dancing, but it didn't come alive. I guess I don't understand Tudor. It was staged by Airi Hynninen who stages many of his ballets so I'm assuming it was true to his choreography.

Finally we had the world premier of "Aquilarco" by Susan Hadley who has worked with Mark Morris; music by Giovanni Sollima. I was expecting Morris-ish dance but was pleasantly surprised by a happoy-go-lucky piece of ballet (on pointe). Everyone in unitards. It opened with a woman doing various types of pirouettes from stage back to stage front. Pretty. Eventually a series with women leaping wildly into men's arms which made me extremely nervous! Those men were working hard. Lots of passes across stage, some more effective than others. The 2nd part was slow, beginning with a man's solo. Then all 9 dancers slowly moved around the stage in a tight group with small walking steps that were very nice, but sensational on Erin Holmes (blond girl in red....told her name after the show) who has terrific feet and made those steps sing. I could have watched her all night. It ended with a joyful section of dancers weaving in and out as they formed patterns within their group of 9; classical and relaxed.

The theater was practically empty. Sept. 11th? If ever there was a spirits-raiser this performance was it. Thanks for a wonderful afternoon, Ballet Pacifica.

Pray for peace.
Giannina

[ 10-07-2001: Message edited by: Giannina Mooney ]

#2 2 Left Feet

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Posted 07 October 2001 - 08:55 PM

I saw the show last night as well. I thought it was my unfortunate placement in the balcony that made me so unreceptive to "Sunflowers." I just wasn't able to get into it like the others. But I did enjoy the other three pieces immensely.

I stayed in OC and went to a class at the Ballet Pacifica Academy this morning. Fun class. Long barre with a short, foot intense center. Nice change of pace.

#3 Giannina

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Posted 07 October 2001 - 11:48 PM

I was in the balcony too (matinee), plus one other paying customer and 2 disgruntled patrons from the orchestra section.

Giannina

[ 10-08-2001: Message edited by: Giannina Mooney ]


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