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Program IV 2013

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My mother and I went to MCB's final program last night at the Kravis in West Palm (the program repeats in Ft. Lauderdale and Miami later this month). Overall, we enjoyed it. Very entertaining, but for me it was the weakest show of the season. I don't mean to be negative, because I enjoyed it and the dancers were great, but Dances at a Gathering, as lovely as it is, has a calm even-ness to it, and I personally think it lasts a bit too long. I'm sure others will disagree. Slaughter on 10th is fun but a bit silly.

Standouts for me were Jeanette Delgado (as always), Patricia Delgado (a sexy, jazzy stripper), Renan Cerdeiro (who gets better and better each time I see him), and Kleber Rebello (who is going to take Penteado's crown away soon)! Tricia Albertson and Kleber Rebello were both gorgeous in a duo during Dances showing off nice upper body work.

Like I said, a fun and enjoyable show but the weakest repertoire pieces of the season in my personal opinion.

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Birdsall, I missed Friday, but saw the same cast Saturday.

DANCES AT A GATHERING: I am one who thinks that Dances ... is a marvelous and very touching work, when properly done. I loved the dancing -- the best MCB has done with Robbins' choreography, in almost every role. But I missed the dramatic texture of the piece -- wistfulness, nostalgia, thoughtfulness, a strange mixture of joy and sadness -- that makes the conclusion so unforgettable. A few years ago, MCB (especially with its casting of the boy in brown) captured these qualities better.

Dances at a Gathering was set earlier this season by Susan Hendl Ben Huys came in just a week or so ago to add the finishing touches. Philip Neal and Lourdes Lopez, both of whom were coached by Robbins, also had input. At one of the pre-performance talks, Neal commented that "Robbins wouldn't cast dancers who didn't have a very strong sense of self and personality." Right now, a number of the younger performers at MCB haven't reached this point. It's marvelous, however, to see the progress that dancers like Kleber Rebello (Brick and Brown), Renan Cedeiro (Green), Nathalia Arja (Pink), Chase Swatosh (Blue) and Jovani Furlan (an elegant, lighter-than-air Green) have made in only a few seasons. Lopez is giving them lots of opportunities to grow.

Best performance of the weekend for me was Jeanette Delgado's Girl in Pink. She expressed joy without an overwhelming smile -- speed while executing every detail perfectly -- beautiful upper-body expression and (especially) hands. A few years ago this role would have been outside her comfort zone. No longer.

Yellow is one of my favorite roles, combining speed with periods of elegant introspection. Tricia Albertson gave life to both sides of this role. Sara Esty had a more jaunty, can-do take on the character. If Esty was excellent the new kid on the block, (full of energy and optimism) Albertson was the more experienced woman who can still do it all. (Albertson was also a fine Mauve in the second cast.)

Patricia Delgado, back after being out for several programs, was a gorgeous, expressive Mauve.

As for the men: Rebello and Penteado danced beautifully, but did not find the emotional weight that the Boy in Brown needs. The moment when the character kneels and touches his palm to the floor should have been heart-stopping, It was not. Jovani Furlan turned the Boy in Green into a model of elegance, fluidity, and gracious partnering.

A favorite solo of mine is the Girl in Green's, created for Violette Verdy. Robbins apparently wanted Verdy to suggest a great dancer -- a diva -- returning to the studio, or possibly the stage, and recalling her earlier days, often just by marking or suggesting the steps. As Philip Neal remembers it, "she thinks, This is where I did this step. And this is how I moved to the other side of the stage." Callie Manning's was gorgeous to watch. She combined a kind of over-elegance along with great simplicity, which made her later attempts to find a partner among the moody, wandering men deeply sad, though also comical. sometimes Green is played with a kind of jejeune goofiness. That can be amusing. But Manning's Green was actually touching -- especially that final gesture that seems to say --- "What's a girl to do? C'est la vie."

Robbins integrates lifts into his choreography with great ease. You shouldn't be reminded, "This is hard." There were partnering problems -- especially in some rough and awkward llifts -- among the second cast. These disrupted the flow of things. On the whole, the women in the first cast were better served by their partners.

SLAUGHTER ON TENTH AVENUE: -- It's always fun to see this. The last couple of times MCB did it, they had recorded music. The score is so much better with a live orchestra, as the company now has.

The first-cast leads were Kleber Rebello/ Patricia Delgado. Second cast leads: Renan Cedeiro/ Jeanette Delgado. Each had its strengths.

Patricia Delgado has the long legs and the ability to express yearning, passion, Romantic abandon. There are points in which the Hoofer does a sequence of (vaguely) tap steps, and the Striptease Girl follows him, but balletically. Same jazzy spirit; different artistic style. It's a key idea in the choreography, and Patricia captured it very well. At the finale she radiated joy, making it hard to look closely at anyone else on stage.

Jeanette Delgado may lack the long legs, but her Striptease Girl had a sexiness of her own: warmth, love of dancing, empathy with everyone on stage, heart.

Morrosine, the "Premieur Danseur Noble" who opens the ballet, is a parody of some of the more absurd affectations of "Russian" ballet dancers of that day. Didier Bramaz (elegant to a fault) and Reyneris Reyes (whose mirror tells him every day: you are a GOD! and IRRESISTIBLE TO WOMEN) were wonderful.

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Morrosine, the "Premieur Danseur Noble" who opens the ballet, is a parody of some of the more absurd affectations of "Russian" ballet dancers of that day...

Morrosine...Mo...sine...Ma...ssine...MASSINE! Given the time-(1936...), it looks like a role model to me...happy.png

Anyhow...thank you both bart and Birdsall for your reviews. I won't hide my apathy toward this program-(both ballets bore me), but I might go see it if my local Violetta is not engaging enough to exchange a night at the opera for one at the ballet.

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It is necessary that I write down my reassessment of Dances at a Gathering. I went to the ballet on Saturday night, and I "saw" it for the first time.

First, I must say that there are some ballets that ought to be watched up close, and this is one of them. I was seated in orchestra center, fourth row, next to the right isle, with no one around me, and so I could really get into the dancers glances at each other, their changing mood, the always evolving atmosphere. Because if there's an atmospheric blessed ballet, this is it. Much of what I got has to do with personal feelings over situations that somehow the wonderful dancers were able to convey on me. I couldn't help but cry a little to the powerful sense of loss that this group has when they gather together at the end. IT reminded me so much of things that have happened in my life. To me this is the ever present story of one's life, told in a wonderful sequence of Chopin melodies, from the happy, carefree times, where everything seems to be forever, and nothing gets in your way, to the moment where your life somehow changes, and at one point you find yourself revisiting that old playground, either in your memory or physically. The scene of the group glancing at the distance at something that obviously is passing probably forever was so touching...but then, the most beautiful moment happened when one of them respectfully and lovingly touches the floor, as if recognizing that here is where his heart was and always be. And then, as it should be, at the end there is acceptance, maturity and a human effort to get going, even if in a different, slower way.

If anything...Robbins told me that eventually there is a room for closure and calm continuity...


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Your description makes me want to see it again to re-evaluate it. I imagine they will do it again one day.

Birdsall, this time I approach the ballet from a different angle. Instead of trying to search for a specific moment or a particular climax, I just let myself relaxed and take it as if I was just enjoying a Chopin piano night in a concert hall with some beautiful dancing as a bonus. The music ceased to be programmatic and took, in my mind, the same level as the choreography.

Also,, I must say that for some reason, the ballet looked as if tailored made for Villella's dancers. Kleber Rebello was FANTASTIC as the boy in brown. His solo had such a beautiful feline quality. He has really mastered the art of legato, where he links all his movements without apparent transition, sometimes giving more time for an arabesque to come down slower to suddenly get into something else. I have rarely see a male dancer have this control over movement before. He reminded me of Sarabita many years ago. His landings are as soft as they can be, and mega precise. In general everybody was amazing. I spotted a happy Patricia Delgado seated by herself a couple of seats from me, enthusiastically clapping and cheering at her peers.

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I first really noticed him in a big way when he was in Romeo and Juliet. He was great and since then I feel like anything he does is amazing. As an added plus for me personally he seems to have more flowing, graceful arms than most male dancers. I think that helps to make his whole body and all his movements seem to be more flowing or legato.

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