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Mixed bill (NJPAC)

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MCB also gave a performance at NJPAC on Thursday. It was a mixed bill made up of Slaughter, Four Temperaments, and part of Villella's "Neighborhood Ballroom"--"The fox-trot: dancing in the dark". The house was only half-full, which is a shame.

If Villella's ballet was a little anemic and a times amateur, it was also harmless. However, I am not quite certain that the best way to attract the ever-elusive "new audiences" to ballet is to show them mediocre works.

Slaughter was given a dry and noncommittal performance by Jennifer Kronenberg and John Hall. He especially seemed to be phoning in from a distant land on bad connection (think Nilas Martins), botching the finale. The highlight--Villella played the Gangster himself (think Don Corleone), was very funny, and the audience delighted in seeing him up on stage. He is still a magnetic presence.

Four Temperaments was absolutely wonderful. The women in the core de ballet were magnificent throughout, and so were all the principals with the exception of Deanna Seay who was completely miscast in Sanguinic. Michelle Merrill was stunning in the Choleric section and it was her dancing (as well as the corps) that held the ballet together. She took the stage as if she were a tigress, Croce's angry goddess to be appeased by the entire cast.

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