What struck me more than ever on Tuesday is how many kinds of musicality Balanchine deploys to lead his audience into his stage worlds. He has no formula. In “Episodes,” the Five Pieces (Op. 10) section begins with a man and woman’s advancing tentatively toward each other on a single diagonal through the dark, as if walking a perilous tightrope. Before and after that, by contrast, the Symphony (Op. 20) and Concerto (Op. 24) are executed in white light and employ formally academic ballet language — but ballet at its most densely modernist, including still-arresting devices like flexed feet, thrusting pelvises, leg extensions above head height, off-balance tips and overtly strenuous, tense partnerwork.
What distinguishes these works from one another also exposes them as kin. They may approach the task in their own way but, modernist to the core, they all rework the ballet idiom. They are obsessed by form and materials.
When ballet is reinventing itself, the steps need a thrumming vibrancy to compensate us for our disorientation. On Tuesday the dancing was largely flat – lacklustre and tentative.
While the skill and grace of the lead dancers, the lovely Leila Drake and a solid Jack Stewart, are undeniable, the rest of the production is flawed and forgettable. Direction and choreography by William Soleau feel tight and unimaginative, but the chief problem is the story itself, which was written by Veloz and Yolanda's son, Guy Veloz. Veloz inserts a narrator (valiantly played by Joseph Fuqua) to guide the action, but his clunky dialogue does little more than interrupt the few dance sequences.
“An American Tango” is not merely about the Veloz family. It also tells the story of music in 20th century America by crossing through different time periods in the scenes and in the accompanying music, which ranges from popular jazz of the 1920s to rock ‘n’ roll conquering the airwaves in the 1960s.
Alexei Ratmansky has created something spectacular here. His choreography combines grace and agility with a sense of longing, and even mixes in some wonderful physical comedy. A stellar chorus supports the central performers and the music provided by Sergei Prokofiev is theatrical dynamite. Rachel Burke’s lighting design toys with the backdrops and creates the illusion of dreams, the heartbreak of the past and the bright promise of things to come.
Kim Pauley, Charleston Ballet artistic director, said the show will allow the audience to explore a ballet dancer’s training and have discussions with directors, choreographers, guest artists and dancers. The program showcases a ballet’s journey from classroom to performance.
A review of Houston Ballet in "The Merry Widow" by Adam Castaneda for Houston Press.
But really, a first-timer to The Merry Widow doesn't have to keep tabs on the financial and political backdrop that reunites Hanna and Danilo to enjoy this spread of earthly delights. Much of Widow's appeal comes from Hynd's piquant, joyous choreography and Lehár's whimsical, fancy-free music. In the pivotal scenes, the central figures are enveloped by a whirling ensemble that is so grand, and so enjoyable to watch, it might as well be a character in itself.
A preview of Verb Ballets' fall season by Zachary Lewis in The Plain Dealer.
Then things get really interesting. In October, on the 11th and 12th, the company makes its debut at Dobama Theatre in Cleveland Heights with a work by Christian Dollwet, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force.
Georgian Festival Overture, the 2-d Suite from Ballet Othello, Monologue of Gertrude from Opera Hamlet, suite from Ballet The Taming of the Shrew, as well as the suite from Georgian ballet Pirosmani, vocalized Letter of Nestan and the finale from the ballet The Knight in Panther’s Skin were also performed for the audience.
Pita is faithful to many of Kafka’s details, but presents them with an extravagant theatricality that’s the mirror opposite of the original’s restraint. It’s overkill, and it’s reductive. Watson’s commitment to the role is deeply affecting, but the depiction of Gregor’s insect misery is so relentless and extreme that becomes a thing in itself rather than a means to tell a story. It holds the eye rather than the imagination: first you marvel at Watson’s astonishing physicality; ten minutes later you’re wondering what all that guck is (it’s molasses) and how the hell the stage crew is going to get it cleaned up before the next show.
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