Stanton is a much more accomplished tapper than Orza and Pacitti, so he can make the rhythmic life of his character more complex. This isn't really a problem for the other two until the very last part of the ballet, during the escalating repeats for the hoofer -- as the tension mounts it would be great to see more density in the actual dancing. Orza and Pacitti substitute big energy, which makes sense, but isn't quite as thrilling as the other option.
Josh Spell and Jordan Pacitti were the guest dancers at today's post-performance Q&A. They were asked when they started to tap. Spell explained that he started with tap when he was 10, then started ballet later, and he dropped tap after he became serious about ballet. Pacitti replied, "not until three weeks ago"
, and he thanked a list of dancers, including Spell, Stanton, Gaines, and at least two other people whose names went by so fast I can't remember them, for helping him to learn the tap needed for the role. When this is revived, I suspect he'll have more practice and more vocabulary.
Stanton was Hoofer today, to Lesley Rausch's Striptease Girl (and Pacitti's gangster). His characterization is complete and detailed, and it's one of the finest, if not the finest, role in which I've seen him. It was hard to take my eyes off him, he was so invested in every move and nuance, so ardent, and so in keeping with the style of the piece. Rausch is a more detached dancer in general -- in the single performance the lead in "Nutcracker" in which I've seen her, she was the only Clara who didn't need the Prince during the storm in the boat ride -- and it was an uphill battle to match or contrast Stanton's intense focus. Her legs, though, were another story: they were a character of their own in this ballet.
My one disappointment is that Josh Spell wasn't cast in one of the performances as Hoofer, but for one section of "Take Five...More or Less" he might as well have been: his pas de deux with Laura Gilbreath was a home run, and although he wasn't literally tapping, he showed all of the moves and style that were appropriate to both roles. Gilbreath was a natural as the woman in Purple: she had a dose of Ann Miller's charm and charisma. Later, in "West Side Story Suite" she was an adorable, good-natured Rosalia, Anita's foil in "America", and she magically made herself look small in the role.
In "Carousel (A Dance)" Jodie Thomas and James Moore danced the leads. Moore had more Billy Bigelow to him, the selfish controlling part, and Thomas' attraction and distress were believably caused by him. (On Thursday, Tisserand seemed to be trying to console Foster for someone else's hurtful behavior.) Thomas gave a complex and rich characterization.
Sarah Ricard Orza gave another splendid performance as one of the demis. In "Emeralds" earlier in the winter, she gave a breakout performance in Mimi Paul's role, dancing with sweep and great musicality. Add a sunny temperament and charm, appropriate to her role in "Carousel", and it was hard to watch anyone else.
I think apart from the lead's, the women's costumes were problematic; the dresses by Holly Hynes looked like any number of dresses for Mark Morris' work. When Kylee Kitchens and Rachel Foster look borderline thick in them, I think it's safe to say they were unflattering, unlike Hynes' costumes for "Slaughter".
Today Jeff Stanton danced Riff and Batkhurel Bold, Bernardo. Stanton had less of a pack awareness than Orza, but despite a lighter touch, much like Tamblyn, he was formidable. Bold's Bernardo, I would not like to meet in a dark alley: he was one scary dude. Postlewaite was a touching Tony, although it's hard to be as gripping in the role when, as sandik pointed out, Tony doesn't die in the end. (I had wondered at first viewing whether everyone was supposed to be dead and in heaven in "Somewhere Ballet", but then thought better of it.)
In the post-performance Q&A, Boal said that Korbes, who had been the guest in last night's Q&A, said that when she was at NYCB being cast for the corps, she was told to be a Jet. She replied that she had "Shark in her blood", but whoever cast her said, "You're a blond -- you're a Jet". Silly person: Korbes was again a knockout as Anita, and it's hard to imagine her in any other role.
but I do recognize the Jet flying on speed (was that A-rab, whose mother was a junkie?) -- Barry Kerollis does a great job with that manic energy.
Kerollis was terrific in all three ballets in which he danced: Policeman in "Slaughter", corps in "Carousel", and Jet in "West Side Story Suite". He modulated his energy appropriately for each ballet, but he was vivid in all of them.
Because it's the Second Stage fundraiser program -- the dancers donated opening night salaries to the fund, and Laura Gilbreath did the front-of-curtain speech on behalf of it -- Spell and Pacitti were asked about the program. I had never realized that the fund was for more than tuition: it's for many next career options. Each dancer has the same potential allocation from the time they join the company. Spell told how he used his for two years in the joint PNB-Seattle University program, and the balance to attend school in Interior Design after his hip surgery a few years ago. Pacitti used his as seed money to start his own fragrance line, Jordan Samuel
, which was featured in the PNB gift shop last year, after he broke his foot.
It was great to see that the ticket sales line was fifty deep 30 minutes before the performance, and that after I bought my ticket, one of the few left on the Main Floor, the line was just as long.