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Emeralds, Theme and Variations Preview

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Studio Spotlight attendees were given a peek at portions of Ballet Arizona’s upcoming premiere of Emeralds tonight. I have to say that I’ve watched the POB BluRay version and enjoyed it, but seeing it live and up-close in the Dorrance black box theatre really sent chills down my spine. Despite the lack of costumes or set, watching the elaborate pointe work of the corps and hearing the lushness of Faure’s Pelleas and Melisande during the Prelude was captivating. Arianni Martin and newcomer Luis Javier Corrales (both originally from Cuba) danced the lead roles. (It seems that AD Ib Andersen often gives leading roles to new arrivals – perhaps as something of a ‘sink or swim’ tactic?)

The Nocturne was danced by a wonderfully ethereal Mimi Tompkins, who was partnered by a most attentive Randy Pacheco – I always find it engaging when the guy looks like his only reason for existence is ensuring that everything goes perfectly for his partner. To me, these two were perfectly matched for this very reserved section of the ballet.

Also performed were sections of Theme and Variations, with Jillian Barrell and Nayon Iovino in the lead roles. In a post-performance interview, Ms. Martin pointed out that she had exposure to Theme and Variations at Ballet Nacional de Cuba, this being the only Balanchine ballet that was performed there -  apparently because Alicia Alonso had danced it for Ballet Theatre during her time in New York. Ms. Martin will also dance the lead role in T&V.

Also on the All-Balanchine program will be Square Dance. May 2-5, 2019 at Phoenix Symphony Hall.

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