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Season Opener

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I enjoyed the WB performance today (Sat. afternoon): Balanchine's Serenade, Septime's Carmen, Twyla Tharp's Nine Sinatra Songs. It was a strong program to open the season, and got a good response from the audience.

My only reservation was Brianne Bland's Carmen. I would have thought she'd be perfect for the role (for one thing, she's a proven master of the batting eyelashes :( ); but this afternoon, for some reason, her Carmen turned brittle, more athlete than seductress. This Carmen really needs to release her Inner Vixen, imho.

The season opener was Wed. night; the program continues through Sun. (two performances, at 1pm and 5pm).

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Friday evening's performance of Nine Sinatra Songs got a wildly enthusiastic standing ovation. To our eyes, there was a big difference between the most of the pairs who "got it" and those few who seemed to be dancing in a foreign language. Maki Onuki, Jonathan Jordan, and Sona Kharatian are probably too young to have even heard of Sinatra but they definitely 'got it'.

Carmen with Michelle Jimenez also got a deservedly favourable response. Thanks to her well-rounded characterization, I found myself gripped by the plot even though I knew how it all turns out. The dancers were clearly having fun with the stool-thumping, ole-shouting scene in the bar.

In Serenade, the dancer in our group noted the lack of proper foot-pointing that was also mentioned in the WaPo review. I found myself admiring the saturated lighting, which I guess says something about the dancing.

But overall, an energetic and satisfying program.

From the stage. Septime Weber mentioned their recent tour in Dominican Republic, which he said was very successful and sold out. I don't know what they performed and haven't seen it written about.

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here's a 'cross-over review' from the Washington Post's restaurant critic's on-line chat today

" Washington, D.C.: If you were selecting a restaurant in the vicinity of the Kennedy Center before a performance, which one would you choose and why?

Tom Sietsema: Just blocks from the KC, Notti Bianche at 824 New Hampshire Ave. does a terrific job with its food and wine. I like being able to walk off a bit of my dinner before sitting down to a couple hours of "Carmen" (Wow, what a fabulous ballet performance! Bravo, Septime!) or whatever else you happen to be taking in."

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