|| The Stage
|| July 4, 2013
|| Katie Colombus
The Boston Ballet have really pulled it out of the bag for their 50th anniversary season. Programme 1 offers a diverse mixture of neo-classical, modern and contemporary ballet - a bill rich in popular dance history, with significant pieces crucial to the development of 20th century dance.
George Balanchine's beloved Serenade is a good introduction to the company - the selection and distillation of the balletic danse d'ecole finely showcases their technique and showmanship, particularly highlighting spritely soloist Misa Kuranaga and the charming Ashley Ellis.
Wearing blue training leotards and long netted skirts, there is strength in their travelling and sparkle in their simple port de bras. The overall impression is simple and chic - curved line formations that echo the arcs of the body and arms, with magnificent tableaux scenes. A simple roll of the head or opening of the arms show the dancers moving comfortably, breaking away from the traditional constraints of ballet, and into a freer world.
Cue Vaslav Nijinsky's Afternoon of a Faun, with Altan Dugaraa playing the role of randy faun with the required drama and charisma. The fabulous backdrop designed by Leon Bakst still resonates today, and sets the scene for modernistic twodimensional, angular movements, right angle elbows and down-stretched fingers.
Jorma Elo's Plan B is a rollercoaster of hurtling motion, extreme dynamics and high kicks that allow the dancers to show off their incredible bodies, with Lia Cirio dazzling the audience like a tiny, hyper-extended gymnast. Jeffrey Cirio is lightning fast, with electric footwork that keeps the pace of the evening.
Tiffany Hedman is captivating in the last piece. Balanchine's Symphony in Three Movements is a joyous, jazz infused finale to a class evening. Mixing charming walking gestures with sassy hip nudges, pose striking and statement jumps, the glamour and flair is complemented perfectly by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra's Stravinskian strings.