Posted 19 November 2009 - 02:50 PM
Some thoughts -- very much delayed -- on the Saturday matinee performance of Open Barre.
This was a full, all-out performance, with each segment introduced by Edward Villella. A temporary proscenium separates the dancers (on the studio floor) from the audience (in chairs on risers). Lighting, costumes, etc., are as they would be a staged performance. But sitting in the first row, as we were, feels very much like watching a dress rehearsal in a real dance studio. It's difficult to capture the whole picture or the full effect. Instead, the thrill comes from being able to observe innumerable small details.
In the Night.
First couple: Tricia Albertson and Didier Bramaz. Lovely dancing, especially from Bramaz, though without much emotional contact. One of my favorite bits is a pause at which the two dancers stand apart, facing one another. Each performs a simple, deep inhalation of breath. It's a preparation for the more rapturous central portion of the pas de deux. As Bramaz took his breath, his chest rose, his body seemed to grow in height, he looked deeply in Albertson's eyes. It was an invitation for something more. Albertson did not respond to his invitation, so they carried on more or less as before.
Second couple: Jennifer Kronenberg and Carlos Guerra. This partnership has become, in the past couple of seasons, truly marvelous. I don't know whether Kronenberg has danced this before. (At the performances I saw in March, she did not.) But it's perfect for her. She has the grandeur, allure, and physical beauty to carry it off. Guerra, who struck me as a slightly tentative partner just a few years ago, has become confident, romantic, and a pleasure to watch all on his own.
Third couple: Jeanette Delgado, as the tumultuous, insecure, "I adore you/ don't touch me" woman was a revelation. I've never seen anyone dance this with as much abandon and intensity, especially in the scenes where her partner (Renato Penteado) lifts her and she beats her arms in the air in protest. She was a whirlwind -- literally furious. I'm not sure whether this worked or not. Penteado's character seemed unsure of how to handle her, as many cavaliers probably would. Delgado's over-the-top opening made the gesture of kneeling at his feet seem somewhat comic in contrast. Conclusion: wonderfully danced, but maybe needs a little rethinking?
Black Swan Pas de Deux. Mary Carmen Catoya and Rolando Sarabia. This is definitely a work in progress. Catoya has so much going for her in this part, but I don't see the characterization that several posters on other threads have described. There is, for example, a lack of consistency in facial expression. (When it's working, it's perfect.) I also noticed that she has increased the difficulty of the fouette sequence by including doubles at every-other turn, and by concluding with 450-degree turns. Right, now, this bravura comes at a price: significant travelling around the stage. Sarabia raises the phrase "attentive partner" to new heights. He's an elegant dancer -- much subtler and more classical than I thought when I first saw him. His variation was simply beautiful.
Four Temperaments. Callie Manning and Carlos Quenedit danced the First Theme with a serenity, seriousness, and flow that it made it appear almost sacramental.
In Sanguinic, Patricia Delgado was wonderful, capable of big moves and openness when required, and shifting easily to risk-taking and speed. This kind of Balanchine doesn't seem to come naturally to Sarabia. He has a roundedness, even a softness, that seemed to belong in another ballet. But somehow it worked, possibly because he is now investing himself so thoroughly in every movement. I enjoyed watching Sarabia in the final movement, where his slightly off-style approach actually made the male ensemble more interesting to me.
Choleric was Jennifer Kronenberg. Her movement is a bit plush for this role, but she has -- amazingly -- the speed and attack. I loved it.
At the end, when the ballerinas are lifted high above their partners' heads -- appearing to float in the air like dolphins leaping amidst the waves of corps dancers -- I was hooked (again!). 4 T's is currently my favorite ballet (again !). Tears came to my eyes (again!), as I confess they rarely do any longer in something like Swan Lake.