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NBoC spring mixed

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I went to the performance on May 5 ( evening). Just some thoughts:

SEPTET ( Stravinsky, Alleyne)

I saw Septet on it's premiere in 1999. I found it repetitive back then, but the 2nd time around it was much more interesting for me. It's a beautiful lyrical piece, and not typical Alleyne from what I hear. The ballet explores the depths of memory, and yes there is repetition, but it is well placed. There might be a few variations inbetween or a pas de deux, and then the 8 dancers are all on the stage again returning to the central theme. The music is wonderful and abstract.

Greta Hodgkinson and Rex Harrington were 1 pair, and their pdd consisted of many complex lifts. They looked very comfortable and secure on stage. Rex is a great partner that way, and in this ballet he doesn't have a variation or anything difficult technically.

Another pair was Aleksandar Antonijevic and Sonia Rodriguez. She was gorgeous and light, which delicate phrasing. She has really come a long way. I had seen her a few times last season and was not really impressed, so I was quite surprised when she was promoted to principal. However, she looked completely different on saturday. Perhaps the promotion has given her motivation to push herself further. She has always been an excellent technician, but her artistry has really grown this past year. Aleksandar as always,exuded energy and charisma and was a pleasure to watch. His soaring jumps and soft landings, as well as his extension lend very well to the contemporary rep. The ballet ended will a variation by him which left a lasting impression.

I also have to mention that Stephanie Hutchison. She really stood out. She dances fearlessly and simply radiates confidence and fire. I am so glad I gave Septet a second chance :)

A DELICATE BATTLE ( Bach, Gavin Bryars, Matjash Mrozewski)

This new work by young soloist Mrozewski ( only 25) was what I came to see. It had been very well received by Toronto critics, and I can only agree with all their positive comments. The ballet is about the barriers and struggles artists face, which in this context is very literal. He had a vision intitially, which was very different from the finished product. There was not enough funding to pay for it. So instead, Mrozewski decided to change the direction a bit, and used his own frustrations to inspire "A Delicate Battle". It also deals heavily with human relationships. It is cold and snow is falling. When the curtain rises 7 dancers in ice blue skin-tight leotards and shorts (no pointe shoes, looked like socks) are dancing under a canopy protecting them from the snow. 3 couples, men in business suits and women in long Victorian gowns interject. This is the first movement.

Then the 3 couples dance together. The canopy is lifted. They cannot get close because of the bulky gowns. One woman removes her gown and wears a sheer, flowing dress. The other woman takes off both the gown and dress underneath, and is in a nude coloured leotard. But she has given herself so much to the man, that she literally can't walk by herself. She has compromised herself too much. The third woman remains fully dressed the whole time, and also collects the clothes thrown on the floor by the other 2.

I found it really interesting, and visually very powerful. Mr. Mrozewski has so much creative talent. Torontonians are very sad that he'll be leaving the company and going to Europe :(

THEME AND VARIATION ( Tchaikovsky, Balanchine)

First things first, I didn't like how all the costumes were all green. I've seen photos of ABT's costumes for Theme, and they're lovely, blues, pinks...That's my only complaint though.

This was my first time seeing Theme, and I absolutely adore it now. Pure classicism, and pure dance! No one better to lead this ballet than Greta Hodgkinson and Aleksandar Antonijevic. Theme is the perfect medium to showcase their phenomenal talents. For both of them, it was one of their best performances. The part where the corps are all en pointe and Greta is in the middle doing develope devant and then arabesque, penchee..etc. was beautiful. Perfectly on balance, and goregous lines! I was in heaven ;) Gotta give the corps credit for that too. They were very vibrant and synchronized, really enjoying the movement which is exactly what dance is about. Greta was so poised and elegant through every difficult combination, and Aleks was completely "on"- marvellous turns! That was almost a week ago and the awe hasn't worn off!

I'm seeing Madame Butterfly with Serenade tomorrow evening, taking my mom out for Mother's Day! Next friday I will be in NYC to see Pied Piper and La Bayadere Act 2. Very excited!

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Thanks Paquita, for a very nice synopsis of recent performances by NBoC. I'm interested in seeing the "Madame Butterfly" sometime, but probably will have to wait until Boston 2002 (May 2-19). I have not read much about this ballet; would like to hear views about the ballet and the choreographer. If you have a chance, please write some of your thoughts on the NBoC production you indicated you would be seeing. Your description of the Balanchine "Theme and Variation" gave me another ballet that I've put on my "must see" list also.

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