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Stars and Stripes


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Guest bbwatcher

Opening night (Oct. 23) of this program was excellent. I was especially

impressed with Ethan Stiefel of the ABT. He was fabulous. The Grey

Area was very interesting, simular to some of the works company dancers

have done at the Boston Center for the Arts.

Edited by bbwatcher
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I went to the Sunday matinee.

The pieces performed were Mozartiana, The Gray Area, and Stars and Stripes.

Both Adriana Suarez (Mozartiana) and Pollyana Ribiero (Liberty Bell in S&S) looked tired or off or something, although I still enjoyed their performances very much. I couldn't help wondering if BB's new scheduling has run them a bit ragged.

The corps was amazing in both Balanchine pieces.

The costumes in The Gray Area for the ladies were awful and distracting IMO. The men wore pale blue (gray?) lycra pants and white mesh-y tops. The ladies wore trunks in the same blue or gray, no tights (that was actually kind of cool--tights obscure some of the amazing muscle definition some of these dancers have!) and white mesh-y tops with nothing underneath, which was IMO gratuitous. Yuck.

The dancing was cool though--very abstract.

The main floor looked pretty full to me, which I thought was a good sign. It is true that BB is only doing this show for one weekend, but still I thought a relatively full house was a good sign.

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I saw both Sunday performances....

Adriana Suarez was lovely in both Preghieras of Mozartiana, especially....she has a beautiful line, a luscious scooping out of the space around her and imbuing it with a richness which is almost palpable. Her footwork was crisp, legato sections fully realized--- she seemed to have spent time studying the piece and the music, not just the steps and I would very much like to see her dance it again. With a different partner.

The men were vastly less successsful. Room must, of course, be given for individual interpretation, but the Gigue as done by Nelson Madrigal was more in the line of a hurdy-gurdy jig. No elegance, no wit, nothing crisp or quick or delineated. He missed the point, or I missed his.

Miao Zong is technically adept. I saw very little else. This is a very complex piece, and the dancer must bring a little more depth to it than just capering about, no matter how proficiently.

He did have a lovely black vest, a welcome change from the New Orleans bordello look of the magenta/navy one commonly seen.

The Minuet women were beautiful--they looked as if they had been rehearsed and some thought given to their individual presentations of a fully realized whole.

I heard that other casts were quite good, and I hope that the powers that program in Boston will keep this in the active repertory.

Gray Area was fascinating, choreographically. The creator is young, danced recently with Dutch National Ballet (on whom it was recently made) and yet it does not look as self-consciously convoluted or, on the other hand, disarmingly ingenuous as often is the case with young choreographers. It was very linear, the shapes made by the dancers constantly shifting and I kept wanting to freeze-frame the images. Quite, quite lovely. Quite, quite disturbing as well.

I think there were something like 49 lighting changes in this piece (I am not making this up) but it was so effective--lights echoing and delineating movement, counterpointing the music, sooooo interesting.

Costumes were not disturbing to me, although the detail in their construction was not apparent to the audience....interesting to the dancer and the designer, rather anonymous, floaty grey cloudy to those watching.

The significant thing which marred my absorbtion in and of this work was the exceedingly loud volume of the music. The Wang is a large theatre, but I must say that the sound men must have significant hearing loss if it was deemd that the sound levels were correct. I sat in two different places and audience members around me were covering their ears. Pity. It was a riveting performance, but not, perhaps, in the way the choreographer would have wished.

Stars and Stripes--Romi Beppu absolutely nailed the first cadets soloist, with a shimmy of the shoulders and a flick of that baton. The corps work was really, really good at both performances......some of the men perhaps a little more cautious than I am used to seeing (but that was probably a difference in coaching and approach). Pollyanna Ribiero was quite sassy in Liberty Bell, reducing Nelson Madrigal to a cipher (a spunky cipher, but a cipher nonetheless.)

Sarah Lamb and Ethan Stiefel were the evening cast and although they looked like the Apple Pie twins, they danced with fireworks to spare! It was FABULOUS :D Stiefel has grown on me over the years--admittedly his gifts are prodigious---but he is now an interesting dancer as well. If one is going to put any more flourish to this part, it must be done perfectly,or it just appears hackneyed. Well, he pulled out every firecracker in the arsenal and they all went off right on cue. Quite spirited and a rousing end to a very well received program.

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