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Miami City Ballet at Jacob's Pillow 2022


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Last Saturday, I attended the MCB matinee at Jacob's Pillow, my first time back there since the summer of 2019. An important aspect of this program was that it was the first to use the new orchestra pit, which was part of the renovations of the Ted Shawn Theater done over the past couple of years while the theater was closed. The stage was also enlarged, although still small, and there was supposed to be a new climate control system, although it wasn't working that day.

There were four ballets on the program: Martha Graham's Diversion of Angels (a company premiere), Margarita Armas' Geta (a world premier), Jerome Robbin's Antique Epigraphs, and Balanchine's Serenade (a Pillow premiere).

Diversion of Angels was first, although I can't comment on whether the dancers really mastered the Graham style. Principals were Hannah Fischer and Cameron Catazaro (White), Adrienne Carter and Francisco Schilereff (Red), and Taylor Naturkas and Shimon Ito (Yellow). Standouts for me were Fischer and Carter.

Geta was a tribute to an MCB School teacher, Geta Constantinescu, who died a few years ago. This is a solo, danced by Renan Cedeior, to a recording of Nina Simone's version of Ne Me Quitte Pas, so this was the only ballet that did not have live music. I really can't say that it made much of an impression on me, except for Cedeiro's performance. He and the choreographer were both Geta's students.

Antique Epigraphs came next. When I first started attending NYCB in the late 80s-early 90s, this was very frequently programmed, and I saw it several times with the original leads, but I haven't seen it for years. It was pretty, but I would say that the either the leads weren't able to give it as much personality or the intervening years have made it less interesting to me. Principals were Dawn Atkins, Hannah Fischer, Samantha Hope Galler, and Taylor Naturkas.

Serenade was last but not least, and definitely the program highlight for me, even though I've seen it many times before. It has actually never been performed at the Pillow before because of the Balanchine Trust's requirement for a live orchestra. And it was wonderful--the combination of the crystal-clear dancing and the small theater made it possible for me to notice details that I'd never seen before. Huge standing ovation at the end of the program for this, in my opinion, well-deserved. Principals were Ashley Knox, Samantha Hope Galler, Hannah Fischer, Cameron Catazaro, and Ariel Rose.

There was also an inane pre-preformance talk (apparently Antique Epigraphs is a ghost of a ballet because of the "male gaze," which apparently does not apply to Balanchine, and an interview with Lourdes Lopez after the performance by the same person, where she kept trying to inject herself into everything. I don't recall anything particularly new coming up, but there was some definite dancing around how she came to be recruited as artistic director, no mention of her predecessor. Apparently, there were a number of Miamians there to support MCB, including Toby Lerner Ansin, company founder.

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