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Thursday, May 9

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Correlazione, Opus 19/the Dreamer, and Vienna Waltzes

A strong program. Correlazione is an early Diamond Project effort by Miriam Mahdaviani -- one of the more successful DP choreographers. The ballet showed of Mahdaviani's skill of showing off the classical vocabulary with a sly, quirky twist. It's danced to baraque music by Corelli and costumed (Holly Hynes) in desert colors with a pointalistic print. Janie Taylor was her usual aggressive self, hardly contained by Albert Evans' handling. Rachel Rutherford was beautiful and mysterious in the adagio with James Fayette. Carrie Lee Riggins and Lindy Mardradjieff showed off nice turns in the demi-solo roles. Teresa Reichlen stood out in the corps for her beautiful, long-legged line.

Woetzel and Whelan were excellent as usual in the Robbins' ballet. I'm affraid I don't have much more to say about the performance as I've seen this ballet with this cast many times recently.

Vienna Waltzes was a pleasure, espcially with Monique Meunier looking like a lovely pink rose in the first movement, Ringer and Hubbe in the second, Charles Askegart and Helena Alexopolous in the fourth and Kyra Nichols returning from maternity leave in the finale. The entire ballet looked in good form after being coached by Von Arlondingen, P Martins and (I think) Sarah Leland.

Meunier was light and lovely in the opening section, partnered well by Robert Lyon. She had a touching moment when, after all the ladies are rejoined by their men, she looks around, waiting for her late escort to arrive. When he comes to her side, she sneaked a look as if suddenly realizing how much she missed and loved him. Afterwards, the shyness and modesty of true emotion tinged Meunier's performance until she and her partner rushed off the stage.

Ringer's performance in the second movement (Furhlingstimmen) is fresh and delightful (with lilting rubato), reminding me of her dancing in the Spring section of the Four Seasons. Some have made the section where the soloist shields her face very dark and dramatic (overly dramatic was the critisism leveled at Heather Watts), but for Ringer, it was just a game of hide-and-seek during a picnic in the woods. Hubbe does not have the hops he used to, but the jumps were musically articulated and he matched Ringer well.

It is said that comedy in ballet is one of the hardest things to get off so it isn't a surprise that the third movement is sometimes hit or miss. When I was little and I first saw this ballet, I was totally amazed by this section. Could the same Balanchine of the first two movements be the author of the baudy bar maids and ridiculous fops in the the third? Maybe because I know the joke now, I'm less astounded. Kathleen Tracy and Kipling Houston were fine, as were the six corps memembers, but I think the timing needs to be tightened to really have the section catch fire, such as the last move when the men crawl up the women pretending to look up there dresses, the women shouldn't shoo them away until the very last moment.

Alexopoulos used to play the widow in the Gold and Silver Waltz as a total vamp but now, practically on the eve of her retirement she has the right balance between flirtaciousness and graciousness. And it was wonderful to have a real man back in the role in Askegard. Since Peter Martins withdrew from the part, not many of his replacements matched his manliness and presence (Soto definitely could, but he's been in the first movement).

To me, Nichols is a bit of a strange fit with the lead in the Der Rosenkavalier section. As Croce once wrote (I think), Farrell is wit personified while Nichols is reason inflammed. Well, Farrell was mystery personified in this ballet. Nichols makes it work because...well, she's Kyra Nichols, one of the great ballerinas. The role does need a true ballerina and, possibly, a mature one. Maturity was brought up to me during the section where the principals from five sections come together and dance in a circle. Rare now, all were adult. Not old, but mature artists in the sense that they know the difference between performing and just dancing. Not that I don't enjoy and look forward to young dancers getting a crack at the big parts, but for once we weren't seeing a "really good job by a dancer one (or two) years out of SAB."

A very wonderful evening ended with the dancers whirling in white satin and white tie and black tails and the lights blazing.

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