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Casting, Reviews for Don Quixote


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Ballet Arizona has announced casting for "Don Quixote", which opens on 10 Feb with an early 7pm curtain and will be performed Friday and Saturday evenings at 8pm and Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2pm:



Kitri/Dulcinea: Paola Hartley (10E, 11E, 12E); Ginger Smith (12M, 13M)

Basilio: Astrit Zejnati (10E, 11E, 12E); Shea Johnson (12M, 13M)

Don Quixote: Daniel Baudendistel

Sancho Panza: Sergei Perkovskii

Dulcinea Vision: Amanda Eddleman

Lorenzo, Kitri’s Father: Donald Dadey

Gamache: Joseph Cavanaugh

Queen of the Dryads: Kenna Draxton (12M, 13M); Chelsea Early (10E, 11E); Tzu-Chia Huang (12E)

Cupid: Kendra Mitchell (10E, 11E, 12E) Jillian Barrell (12M, 13M)

This is a wonderful production, by Olga Evreinoff after Petipa, with both Kitris reprising their roles from the production premiere in 2008, Paola Hartley with Astrit Zejnati in the evenings and Ginger Smith with Shea Johnson in the matinees. If you have a chance to see it, do -- it would be a shame to miss this -- and we'd love to hear about what you think!

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This is kind of upsetting. Zejnati did not look so good in Midsummer's, and I don't care for Johnson's dancing. I'm sure Hartley will be good, she always is... Did Zavarov leave the company? He is not listed as anything. I think I will pass on this show and go see ABT when I visit NY.

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Zavarov is still on the company roster. He's been featured in many programs this year. I'm not surprised that with a limited number of performances that Andersen is giving other men a chance in this program.

Kitri is one of Hartley's greatest roles. If I could travel for this, I wouldn't miss her if her partner were a professional wrestler. Zejnati and she are greatly simpatico in this ballet.

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According to the review of the production in the "Arizona Republic", "There were several stand-out performances, and perhaps the most notable was Roman Zavarov as the gypsy in Act II. He seems to have as much swagger as Errol Flynn."

Andersen is spreading the parts around and featuring different dancers in each program, while still giving them rich opportunities when they aren't in lead roles.

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Helene, you crack me up! "I wouldn't miss [Paula Hartley] if her partner were a professional wrestler." Well, her performances did live up to your expectations. Don Q is a great vehicle for her sparkle and wit, not to mention her physicality, daring, and endurance. She and Astrit Zejnati continue to be an eminantly watchable pair. His sense of fun, flirtatiousness, and competitiveness come to the fore in this piece, as well. They have wonderful chemistry and timing, both comedic and physical.

This role does sometimes demonstrably tax Mr. Zejnati, however, whose endurance over a run or through a long ballet has never been his strong suit. He handled it better than usual,this time. His turns were crisp and controlled, his jumps strong and energetic. He modified the iconic series of overhead, one-handed lifts (which the partner enters with a kind of cartwheel; a heroic feat of timing and gymnastic athleticism) cleverly -- each time doing just two, rather than the customary three, with the second extended through the time of the usual third. The audience loved it!

This year the portions that are danced by a male ensemble hit me with new impact. There's something about all those men, in unison, in long lines, that is exciting. Even in a crowd of talent, Russell Clarke stands out, he's just so handsome and has great stage presence.

The charecter parts were very funny and a big favorite with the crowd, as with the previous performances. Comedy is such a strenghth for this company; it would be wonderful to see them perform in sophisticated contemporary works calling on their skills in this area. Roman Zavarov showed a flair for comedy that was somewhat surprising, joining others we are more accustomed to seeing in these roles. Donald Dadey, now director of the Scottsdale School of Ballet and a retired Ballet Arizona and Zurich Ballet dancer, was hilarious as Lorenzo, with stage presence and personality to burn. Daniel Baudendistal, former Joffrey dancer, reprising his role as the Don, brought just the right amount of pathos. Not quite of this world, he helps round out the ballet by providing a counterpoint to the more earthy charecters.

Unfortunately, I was not able to see the alternative cast, featuring Ginger Smith and Shea Johnson.

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