Joffrey shows sterling technique, virtuosity

March 2, 2013
Lincoln Journal Star
Elizabeth Govaerts

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In celebration of the 100th anniversary of "The Rite of Spring," the Joffrey Ballet brought to the Lied Center for Performing Arts the painstakingly reconstructed 1913 composition, set to Igor Stravinsky’s revolutionary score.

How fitting that it is the Joffrey that brought this classic back to life, for this company is, and has always been, all things modern and barrier-breaking in ballet.

The Lied Center audience was treated to two breathtaking examples of what makes this so. First, was Stanton Welch’s "Son of Chamber Symphony," a piece that best can be described as “extreme classical” in its quirky, idiosyncratic language that melts or jerks or spasms into elegant, recognizably classic forms.

I was thrilled to see one of my very favorite contemporary ballets on this program, internationally acclaimed choreographer, and former New York City Ballet soloist, Christopher Wheeldon’s beautiful "After the Rain."

The first section’s three couples execute Wheeldon’s choreographic witticisms (like a penché arabesque that ratchets 45 degrees to a parallel à la seconde) and complex lifts with an effortless precision. But it was the second section’s astonishing duet that was the evening’s highlight.

I tend not to see a narrative in this pas de deux. Rather, I am captivated by the way the dancers, the woman in a simple pink leotard and the man bare- chested, luxuriate in the languid, liquid notes of the music, moving and lifting fluidly, fully connected to each other throughout.

This company’s sterling technique and virtuosity were nowhere more apparent than in this exquisite piece.