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2019-20 season: Pennsylvania Ballet

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Pennsylvania Ballet just announced their 2019-20 season: http://paballet.org/2019-2020-season/

Don Quixote

October 10 – 20

One of the most popular ballets of all time, Don Quixote has it all – romance, comedy, and, of course, the artistry of our dancers. Angel Corella’s restaging of the love story of Kitri and Basilio brings his unique Spanish flair to this lively classic. Whether you’re experiencing it for the first time or falling in love all over again, Don Quixote is sure to delight.

New Works

November 7 – 10

Be the first to see three new ballets created for Pennsylvania Ballet. In November, we present world premieres from some of the dance world’s most exciting choreographers – Garrett Smith, Juliano Nunes, and Yin Yue. These unique premieres will have you amazed at what ballet can be today.

George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®

December 6 – 31

La Bayadère

March 5 – 15

Suspended in Time

April 2 – 5

In April, we present three dynamic ballets from acclaimed choreographers: Clear by Houston Ballet Artistic Director Stanton Welch, AM; Suspended in Time by Pennsylvania Ballet Artistic Director Angel Corella, Kiril Radev, and Company Member Russell Ducker; and a world premiere from our Choreographer in Residence Matthew Neenan. Set to diverse music – from Bach to Electric Light Orchestra – and showing off the athleticism of our dancers, this energetic program will captivate the senses.

Breathtaking Balanchine

May 7 – 10

Experience the genius of the man who reinvented ballet. Our final program of the season celebrates the 20th century’s greatest choreographer, George Balanchine, with three of his masterpieces – the lush Ballet Imperial, evocative Who Cares?, and dazzling Symphony in C. Set to music by Tchaikovsky, Gershwin, and Bizet, this exciting and elegant program demonstrates both the unmatched artistry of Balanchine and his profound influence on Pennsylvania Ballet.

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Thanks for sharing Canbelto.  Do you have any thoughts about this?

The corps has been consistently impressive in the last few years of big story ballets, and this is where more of the turnover is.  It will be interesting to see what the new rankings and influx of dancers will bring to Don Q, though most of the principals were here and danced the last time.  I wonder if there is even higher expectation for this ballet because it is such a signature performance of Angel Corella's?  Regrettably, I did not get to see the Don Quixote performance of a few years ago, so I am looking forward to it and the rest of the performance season!    

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I sadly moved away from Philly between last season and now, which is a shame as I was looking forward to a lot of the works they had coming up. Opening night should be great, though! I specifically wanted to see Mayara in this role. It should be a treat, for sure!

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I ended up seeing three performances with Pineiro/Molina Soca, Lopes/Diaz, and DiPiazza/Liang and every show was absolutely wonderful. It truly is an exciting and vibrant production and I'm so happy it seems like it's going in the company's rep now that they've bought the sets. Now, brief(-ish) impressions, focusing on the highlights so that I can remember them later on!

Mayara Piniero and Arian Molina Soca were clearly the veterans in the roles and both looked absolutely secure and confident throughout the show. Piniero was absolutely the most impressive performance of the weekend, it feels like the role is made for her. I couldn't keep my eyes off her anytime she was on stage! Nailed the character and the little moments just as well as the technical tricks. Molina Soca was also just wonderful technically and in the partnering moments. The Kitri/Basilio back and forth in act 1 was so fun and felt like a true, lived-in relationship in a way that none of the other couples quite managed. 

Nayara Lopes also blew me away in her debut. She played Kitri a bit younger and more impish than the other two ladies which fit the class clown-esque energy Etienne Diaz was bringing to the table. She was rock solid in her balances both as Dulcinea and in the final pas de deux, and I loved just watching her react to the action around her, she had so many tiny moments that made me laugh. I also saw her as Gypsy Queen and she was great there too. It looks like she actually played 5 different roles in the 11 show run, and I wish I could have seen her in more of them!

I also really enjoyed Zecheng Liang as Basilio--perhaps the most precise technique of every dancer I saw matched with the sweetest and most attentive acting. His coda in act 3 was unbelievable. Lillian DiPiazza was wonderful in act 1 & 2--a little more sultry than the other two Kitri's--but had a slip in the wedding pas de deux and almost face-planted, which clearly shook her and threw off the end of her performance. 

Other standouts in different roles throughout the three performances were Oksana Maslova as an absolutely regal Queen of the Dryads with fabulous Italian fouettes, Dayesi Torriente & Jack Thomas as my favorite Mercedes/Espada couple (not sure if it was just my angle but she seemed lightning fast on her feet), Jermel Johnson who made Gamache into a star turn, So Jung Shin who had just electric stage presence as Gypsy Queen, Yuka Iseda and Sydney Dolan as two of the Flower Girls (even if there was a dropped fan or two), and Alexandra Heier as an Amor who drew out true laughs.

Not too many disruptive errors in the performances that I saw, although two of the Mercedes/Espada pairs had some noticable bobbles (DiPiazza/Baca in act 3, Vinez/Pujol in act 1) and each had variable success with the playboy/seductress vibe they seemed to be going for. 

Overall, I was incredibly impressed with the aesthetic, energy, and dancing. I'm no technical wizard but none of the errors took me out of the show, which is all I can really ask for.  Can't wait to see the next performances of the company in November!

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