I got to see the June 11 performance. I loved Maninyas. I have not seen work by Stanton Welch previously. I especially enjoyed his use of the curtain/scrim (proper term?) at the back of the stage-dancers would slowly or quickly emerge from beneath it as they walked forward. I liked how the ladies, in second position grand plie, slapped the floor with their skirts, making a nice slapping sound. Maria Phegan danced Mireille Hassenboehler's place that night and did a terrific job. She had nice energy and personality in her dancing; I loved how she shook her head while jumping forward while in echappe second. Randy Herrera's jumps and tricks were great. The individual pas de deux work of each couple was very intimate, real, and enjoyable. I was so glad each time a new movement started (after a break in the music) and I knew that the piece wasn't over yet!
Giselle was lovely as well. Leticia Oliveira (Giselle) had incredible bourres at the beginning of act II. The wilis were in good formations 98% of the time. Myrtha was fantastic with her solid, 180 degree, smooth leaps. She was not quite cold or evil enough, though. She felt like a good person instead of the evil one she is meant to be. The dogs in act I were a nice touch, and perfectly well behaved, too.
This was my first chance to see Houston Ballet. I am impressed with them and hope to see more of Mr. Welch's work in the future.
Giselle and Maninyas
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