Have you ever seen a dinosaur dance with a paperdoll?
I've seen the Joffrey Ballet's Fabrice
Calmels and Victoria Jaiani dance before. I've seen them dance
together. I've seen them dance alone. I've never seen them as they were
Perhaps it was the costumes at last night's opening night of All Stars.
For the duo's incredible pas de deux in the second half of After the
Rain (choreography by Christopher Wheeldon), Jaiani wore a baby pink
barely-there leotard accented with her long, flowing hair. Calmels was
shirtless. Enough said, right? Except the first word that popped into my
head when I saw his bare chest and rippling muscles was dinosaur. Further into the piece I changed it to beast,
you know, as in "Beauty and the Beast." I'm fairly certain the result
of the Beast turning into a prince would be Fabrice Calmels.
In their light-as-air costumes, the two moved effortlessly at times,
establishing an emotional connection on stage that was free and airy and
beautiful. Other times the movement was a struggle, indicating
hardships and riffs in their relationship. This section of After the
Rain was in grand contrast to the first section, in which three
couples were constrained to steely gray costumes, creating a bold,
harsh, tone rather than soft and graceful.
The program moved from intense to comical in the last section of the
night. The Concert (or The Perils of Everybody), choreographed by Jerome
Robbins, proved to be a crowd-pleaser, as the audience chuckled (no
seriously, they chuckled) at the piece's perfect comedic timing. A
Joffrey company premiere, this piece featured an on-stage pianist (quite
literally A Concert), and some wily characters and outlandish
personalities prancing and dancing to their heart's content. A satire of
dance itself, the comedic vignettes showcased these colorful
personaliites, from the over-the-top Ballerina to the stomping Angry
The rest of the show featured choreography by George Balanchine.
The program opened with Stravinsky Violin Concerto, an
upbeat ballet (and also a Joffrey premiere) rooted in Georgian folk
dance. Balanchine's short Tarantella was performed by Yumelia Garcia
and Derrick Agnoletti, another pop of folk culture that wanders past the
realm of traditional ballet.
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