Reviews of Houston Ballet in "Aladdin."
The Houston Chronicle
Bintley also stirs in plenty of dancing in a classical style; giving Aladdin and the Djinn, especially, an abundance of go-for-broke bravura material full of space-eating jetés, swift chaînés and fouettés But nuanced it is not. How could it be, given Carl Davis' brash and shallow score, which sounds at times like it wants to be the theme from "Star Wars"? (At one point, I couldn't tell if the Houston Ballet Orchestra was stumbling over some notes in a minor key or if the score was just that oddly written.)
Leading last night's magical performance was Joseph Walsh as Aladdin and Karina Gonzalez as Princess Badr al-Budur. As Aladdin, Joseph Walsh charms and beguiles the audience with his youthful spirit and energy, which is perfectly showcased in his athletic agility and sweeping movements. He leaps, tucks, rolls, and dances with the ease, confidence, and resilience of the young. Opposite him, Karina Gonzalez's Princess is danced with grace, undeniable beauty, and precision....... In the second and third acts, the delicate beauty of her dances move us and we look forward to each impressive lyrical moment, whether it is stunning pointe work or polished and refined romantic movements.
Bintley's Aladdin is fun and fast-paced, and a beautiful piece of craftsmanship in regards to set design and costumes. I assumed, and worried, that there would be special effects galore, but the wizardry was kept to a minimum in favor of strong dance moments by the lead players and the corps. And speaking of lead players, Aladdin marks another triumph for Joseph Walsh who creates a spunky underdog of a protagonist worth rooting for.