Jubilee of Dance35th Anniversary
Posted 03 December 2004 - 10:00 PM
After the first intermission was the first prelude from Stevenson’s Three Preludes. Rachmaninov is considered bad ballet music, but what Stevenson does here is lovely and IMO, one of his more interesting works. Bears and Carl Coomer were featured in this piece. Bears dances with a subtlety that conveys more emotion breadth than someone who tries to do “more.” Coomer is one of the more interesting corps men to watch, and he partnered Bears attentively. Béjart’s Songs of a Wayfarer was a really beautiful piece choreographed for two men (originally, Nureyev and- I’m guessing- Paolo Bortoluzzi), and there isn’t enough I can say of Konvalina to describe him here (sorry! I know there are people reading this who don’t like him, but he’s still an incredible dancer, in my mind). On the other hand, it became quite clear whom viewers would prefer to keep their eyes on. There’s such an uncommon fluidity and, pardon me for saying this but, effeminacy in his dancing. No emotions ever seem to register across Murphy, neither in his face nor his body.
The evening closed with Welch’s enjoyable new piece, a showcase for the entire company, Bolero. I liked the jazziness of it, and I finally got to take a look at all the new faces of Houston Ballet. There was a corps girl who stood out; I think it was Nao Kusuzaki, but I’m not sure. Who says petite dancers can’t make a presence? I wish I could be in Houston over Xmas break to see her Snow Queen. It’s a shame Simon Ball is injured (he was out for most of the gala and for the entire Nutcracker run), but he did show up in this ballet.
Posted 06 December 2004 - 01:18 PM
Since joining the company three years ago, Konvalina has starred most memorably in Manon and Apollo (if you don't count the horrific moment last year when he crawled off the stage, injured, in The Nutcracker). Songs, however — with a technically tough mix of gut-curling emotion and aerial lightness — is his best vehicle yet. A man with beautiful feet? Yes, and a lithe back, musicality, nobility and compelling intensity.
The world premiere of Welch's Bolero, set to Maurice Ravel's familiar orchestral work, was an ooh-la-la ending. It was a fun twist on a Paris Opéra Ballet défilé, a traditional annual onstage parade in which the legendary French company's dancers and academy students march from the rear wall downstage to greet their public. Thus, Bolero was more focused on space architecture than new steps. Welch wanted to create a piece that used all of his 54 dancers, and this was a good solution.
When the music finally climaxed, the whole company filled the stage with a magnificent geometry, dancing in alternating vertical, unisonal lines.
I agree on many points here. The patterns were definitely the most appealing thing in Bolero.
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