It’s Friday and that means you are ready for the weekend and ready
for the absolutely BS Hallmark-made holiday, “Sweetest Day”. Have you
heard of this holiday? I hadn’t until yesterday when a co-worker
stressed how important it is for your guy to treat you to something
special. If it gets me a free chocolate then I am in! :o)
But Sweetest Day or not, the Joffrey has something incredibly special
going on: It’s called their 2010-2011 Season and it is starting with All
Stars. From tonight (October 15) until October 24, you can
laugh, cry and be entertained by Joffrey ballerinas performing what is
arguably, their most diverse and moving collection of performances.
Seriously, guys, this one is not to be missed.
"After the Rain" ft. Victoria Jaiani and Fabrice Calmels - Photo by Herbert Migdoll
Of course since I rave about the ballet every time I attend, I feel
it necessary for me to elaborate as to why this particular set of
performances it not to be missed.
“After the Rain” is not performed
until after the first intermission, but it was easily the best
performance of the night. It nearly moved me to tears.
Choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, New York City Ballet’s resident
choreographer, “After the Rain” was incredibly sensual and resembled
Love in ballet form. Parts of the dance looked more like figure
skating as the women were swept across the floor, limp in the mens’
arms, toes still on the ground. Every magnificent leg stretch
that the women executed made the audience sigh with awe, and the men
were there to act as supportive, loving, kneeling rocks. The
pas de deux was exquisite and featured the very lithe Victoria Jaiani
and “the Tank” Fabrice Calmels (ran into him on the street today, by the
way, the guy is MASSIVE!). The pas de deux been described as air and
earth falling in love. For me, it looked like two lovers taking their
first breaths after a coma, and reuniting.
While every move was slow, calculating and possessed the
technically demanding side of classical ballet, Wheeldon is able to mix
in a greater range of movement, allowing for both dancers to stretch and
entangle themselves into each other. It was absolutely the most
beautiful thing I have ever seen.
“The Concert”, set to music by Chopin and choreographed by Jerome Robbins was hilarious and the perfect way to end the night. The
performance begins with a pianist coming onto the stage (there is a
piano set up) and entertaining the audience by preparing to play. One by
one (or in some cases, two by two), different characters come onto the
stage to set up chairs and listen to the concert. The whole cast of
characters is there: A crotchety old woman who is caught scratching her
backside; a group of giggling, rowdy gals; a dreamy music enthusiast who
insists on hugging the piano; a wimpy man and his controlling wife and
others. You just have to see it to understand why it is so absolutely funny!
The night started out wtih “Stravinsky Violin Concerto”
choreographed by George Balanchine. The choreography perfectly
complemented the expressive and haphazard music of Igor Stravinsky, and
the dancers looked like marionettes, fluttering across the stage with
exaggerated extended limbs. Some of Balanchine’s choreography looked awkward, like the crazy hip gyrations in Toccata or the mime-like dance that occurred in Aria 1.
The pas de deux in Aria 1 was especially odd to me, and almost painful,
since I prefer the more classical, rigid ballets. But in classic
Balanchine style, this pas de deux was wildly animated and April Daly
and Miguel Angel Blanco resembled that eccentric couple who lives on
your cul de sac: They looked slightly bizarre, but somehow it worked. The
best part was a sequence of Daly folding herself backward into a
bridge, just to roll over, stand up straight and do it again…and
again…and again. How people can move like that is beyond me!
Tarantella, another Balanchine creation was distracting right from the beginning, and the least impressive of all the dances. The
dancers themselves were flawless, but Balanchine’s choreography calls
for dancers in this pas de deux to be carrying tambourines, and it came
off so cheesy, it hurt. I was almost waiting for someone to come out
with a confetti gun! Costume choices for this piece were bizarre, too. A pirate getup for the guy? A gal in a peasant hat and tutu? No thanks.
All in all the night was a complete success and I left Auditorium
Theatre completely blown away by opening night of the 2010-2011 season.
After that performance I am thrilled to see everything that the Joffrey
puts on and can only hope that you take the time to see All Stars for
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