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CCBM Program I: Don Quijote

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After a lot of inspired writing and just before posting my LOOOOOOOOOOONG review on this performances...I clicked the back arrow by mistake. :) I'm sure that this has happened to some of you at some point, so you'll understand my frustration. So after almost giving up here it goes again. I just finished some of it, and will post the rest later.

CCBM: Don Quixote.

After all the turmoil that has been going on at the CCBM due to former AD/founder Miss Magaly Suarez' departure, it is sort of a miracle that this much wounded company has survived and been able to go on with this two performances of Don Quixote. The damage was even bigger in the sense that along with Suarez, all her school students and former dancers are also gone from the roster-(just as it has been noted by a poster in another thread). Thing is, Suarez students made the bulk of the Corps, and it is a real pity that we are now deprived of this great person who was a pillar and major force in the development , career continuity and showcase of many Cuban exile dancers. So I want to make public the feeling of many of us who are very grateful for all her hard work in the past, and who also hope for her and her school to come back again as part of the CCBM project. We truly miss you Mamicha!

Now, about the performances. Current AD Pedro Pablo Pena came out with a smart idea to make up for budget and dancers shortage. For this season he has joined forces with Cia. Brasileira de ballet-(Brasil)-which supplied everything needed, from props and costumes to Corps dancers, being the result quite satisfactory.

The production was beautiful. The sets and costumes were very colorful, even if they were more like a "Spanish fantasy/fiesta" in the eyes of a XIX Century designer rather than a too serious rendition of the real thing. I liked it...even more than that of Villella's.

Lorena Feijoo danced Quiteria the two days. Miss Feijoo is a very strong ballerina, who has had a long, productive career and who doesn't show any sign of tiredness. Her entrance was super stormy and festive, her feet showing steel pointes, her multiple pirouettes completely centered and in total control and her sissonnes/cambres jumps just amazing. Miss Feijoo is much more an earthy ballerina, no so much the ethereal type like her sister Lorna. Her body is compact and muscular, and she has a special gift for dramatic roles. Her mime sequences were very well done, and where the comical accent was needed, she supplied it effortless. During the wedding PDD coda, she did her beautiful fouettes with little travel, putting on some doubles in between and finishing on pointe-(just as it is usually done in Cuba)-instead of in 4th position, like we get to see many times nowadays. For her final Act I's diagonal with the toreadores she chose a very fast tempo-(kind of like the Bolshoi style).

...to be continued.

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Don Quixote.(II)

On the first performance we had Rolando Sarabia as Basilio, and I'm happy to report that we could get glimpses of his own old self...the pirouettes wizard, the dancer who certainly enjoys to be a star and is not shy at all about stealing a show, something in which he was certainly limited while in Villella's company. Still, there were some problems on his tryouts of the Bolshoi-style one hand overhead lifts, but then the same happened with Vitor Luiz next day. If anything, Sarabita's dancing at this point of his career definitely looks as if it needs a permanent home. Luiz' dancing difered somehow from Sarabita...his interpretation was more calculated, carefully designed, his movements more structured and meassured. Whereas Sarabita's performance was more about his solos, Luiz did a better job on showing and lifting Feijoo, and I was under the impression-(could be wrong)-that she felt more confortable dancing with Luiz. Prove of this, on the second performance, as I commented in another thread, Luiz did the daring throwing of Feijoo to the air at the end of the Adagio, which Sarabita didn't. Whereas Sarabita showed us the best turner, Luiz was THE jumper. Both Basilios were a real pleasure to watch, and danced up to my expectations.

Now..what a mess the Dream Scene was...! Usually all this visions, dreams, or whatever oniric sequences are quite complicated for the non trained eye, and if not carefully done they can be quite confusing, which is what happened here. My previous experience with Alonso's production talks about the Don falling unconscious and dreaming with his beloved Dulcinea who takes the form of Kitri, with guest appearances by the dryads, their queen and Amor. Good. The Don's dream nemesis is usually seen in his dream just as he is whan he falls unconscious, in full armor suit regalia so we know that this is himself in his own dream.

Well, in this production we had a young dancer doing the part, wearing a complete different costume. Then he's supposed to dance with his Dulcinea, diguised as Kitri in his confused head, so the role should be danced by the same ballerina doing Quiteria. That was here problem # 2. They introduced another ballerina who danced with the Don, whom I guess was playing Dulcinea-(I say I guess because she wasn't even listed in the program's sequence section). The thing got even more weird when afterward Feijoo showed up to dance her Dulcinea solo...in a totally different costume than that of the other Dulcinea!-(a weird black tutu). At the end, I guess many people were left wondering who this dancing couple in the beggining of the scene was...very confusing indeed. Dulcinea was a forgettable Lara Lioi. Amor was cute...danced by Melissa Oliveira.

The Dryad Queen-(who was just in for her well executed variation with some very nice italian fouettes)-was Luiza Bertho. She never showed up before or after her variation...also kind of confusing to realize who her character was, as her costume was just the same as the rest of the dryads...only a tiny tiara would differentiate her from her court.

(to be continued...)

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