Coppelia Wedding Celebration, a five-movement suite to some of Delibes's intoxicating piquant score heard in another dynamic performance, brings in a welcome change of mood. After an opening ensemble, the second number, "Waltz of the Hours," to the well-known excerpt, featured Maeva Esteban, in an enlivened setting of twenty-four girls, in lighter-than-air jumps. "Dawn" brought in a corps of seven more girls to set the scene for Eliza Kalcheva in some turns in attitude, with the working foot behind her seemingly drawing her around her axis. Slightly bent as it was, it looked just a little precarious at first but then I saw as it continued completely under control how it reflects a certain sweet and gentle insouciance we hear in music that evokes a time still free of the cares of the day. "Prayer", with its subdued corps of smaller girls, became a humble invocation led by Catarina Scarabottolo's quiet movements. (In an apparently different "dialect" from the other numbers, this one may have been largely the work of Patricia Blair, listed second as choreographer after Daniel Duell.) Concluding the engaging suite was another enemble, with another taste of Ms. Esteban's lovely featherlight jumps and some passages for her quick, clean feet too.
After intermission, quite other matters entirely; with a brief number, "Giggling Rapids" from Mr. Duell's Ellington Suite. I don't understand the title, but never mind, the music stays just on the classy side of strut and swagger, and Mr. Briscoe, Jake Laub, and Hamilton Nieh were confidently manly and moving large, in costumes by Kathy Niekrasz with bowlers and vests.*
There followed immediately Alice Gleaning, a new... ballet? "dance piece"? by Ted Seymour, to fragments by Mozart, Reich, Shankar, and a longer segment by Nikolas Lund, which was more than an occasion for Meava Esteban's fascinating and strongly continuous dancing through a variety of tempos and movement scales, although that alone was reason enough for me to see it, and then after another intermission, Balanchine's Rubies, the ballet that hooked me on ballet years ago, and which was just a little tame compared to the original-cast performances which did that hooking. Even so, it put to shame some I've seen since those days by Cincinnati Ballet and Pittsburgh Ballet, although not necessarily Miami City Ballet! I'm going to leave this here for now and head off to the remaining performance at 3:00 PM.
*Whoops! They wore black slacks and suspenders, blue-gray shirts, and back derbys. Nothing like posting before everyone to make you realize your mistake when you see the show again!
Edited by Jack Reed, 19 May 2009 - 02:23 PM.