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Houston Ballet YT Clips

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Hi Jayne. Saw several performances this weekend and yes, it was clean...the demis were wonderful yesterday in the corps variation without the principals; all four ended their final double pirouettes to the knee RIGHT on the beat. they looked quite pleased.

This was an interesting program, with a new ballet to a new commissioned score, and the Morris 'Drink To Me Only' as curtain-raiser. I like the Morris better every time I see it: funny, playful, ironic, parodic, occasionally tender, and with remarkable role reversals like the men doing the adagio extensions rather than the women...Dreadful, tone-free, leaden 'piano playing' but the final adagio was beautifully danced in spite of it. Sara Webb was hilarious in the 'dance lesson' with the echappes and passes--the perfect insipid smirk on her face at the start of this was all by itself worth the ticket price. Joseph Walsh, one of the company's superb young principals, was picture-perfect in the tango (originally made on Baryshnikov).

'Seek', the Nicolo Fonte premiere, grew on me, though the derivative and lamentably predictable score by Anna Clyne did not. (And the horrible lighting--wandering and swinging spotlights which more than once were aimed straight into the audience; glaring harsh dirty white light which would make work lights look good by comparison, and which made the dancers' hard-won contortions and body shapes very difficult to see exactly--was actionable...) Choreography was inventive, though. highly acrobatic, crotch-sprung, stretchy, fast, sharp. Melissa Hough, excellent in everything as usual (she danced every leading role, the only woman to do so), has as one of her specialties this sort of quick, edgy 'modern ballet', and she was great in the pas de deux, partnered by the also excellent Connor Walsh. Jessica Collado was very fine in the pas de trois. the 14 dancers, whom Fonte picked mostly from the corps and soloist ranks, had enviable unison in the difficult passages, particularly the ones with all the men. Kelly Myernick, in one of the two smaller pas de deux couples, was her usual briliant, athletic, soaring self.

'Theme', a horrendously difficult ballet in so many ways, came off well. Saw three sets of principals; Connor Walsh's ballon in the jumps was remarkable. Melissa Hough, a dazzling virtuosa, looked most at home in the terrifying first variation; all three of the ballerinas whom I saw did the gargouillades added in 1970 for Gelsey Kirkland, but only Hough's were clear and clean. (Danielle Rowe and Katharine Precourt are both taller, so one admired them for trying...) Rowe and Precourt, both dark, long, and svelte, were both lovely in the pas de deux; Rowe's entrechat voles in the lifts were ethereal. Precourt, who is a young soloist with the company, had a radiant smile during her most difficult passages, looked truly joyous to be dancing the role, and distinguished herself in every way in her first attempt. Rowe looked tense (and who would blame her) at the beginning, but was gorgeous in the English horn chorale partnered by the women, and had the most beautiful bows (really reverences...) I have seen in many years--sweeping, gracious, grand in every way. to see a ballerina bow that exquisitely is an experience in itself.

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