TITAS Command Performance 2011: 12 gifted dancers one amazing night part 1

April 26, 2011
The Examiner
Marilee Vergati


The Dallas audience was thrilled by TITAS’ Command Performance. This year 12 world-class dancers brought a variety of dance to the Winspear Opera House. Joffrey Ballet’s Victoria Jaiani and Miguél Angel Blanco mesmerized the sold out house with two superb performances. The first dance entitled “Pretty Ballet” (2010) was created by the innovative choreographer James Kudelka.

 The 1940s classical music by Bohislav Martinu was melodic, but possessed unusual timing and a modernist feel.


Jaiani’s long arms, elegant hands and mile long legs created perfect lines and extensions. The young Cuban dancer, Miguél Blanco, who joined the Joffery Ballet this season, partnered her brilliantly. Their graceful and difficult lifts were breathtaking. Jaiani’s wore a memorable costume with romantic style long white tulle skirt and red ballet shoes. During intermission many were exclaiming it was their favorite dance. Instead of “Pretty Ballet” it was referred to as “The Red Shoes.”


The gala opened with choreographer Jessica Lang’s “Splendid Isolation III” (2007). It featured a beautiful woman protected by and entwined in a long white skirt. The costume appeared 12-feet in length and the skirt was spread out in a full circle around her. Performed by Alvin Ailey’s graceful principal dancer Alicia Graf Mack and the powerful Jamar Roberts, it was a love story of a man who longed for a woman shielded by walls of isolation. In the end the woman had a change of heart and removed her walls. Dallas audiences are very familiar with Lang's work as many saw the "Splendid Isolation III" in a previous Command Performance. In 2010 TITAS commissioned Lang's world premiere piece “Among the Stars.” The lovely and emotional dance received a standing ovation.

Manon (Pas de Deux from Act I) was an excellent performance given by the renowned artist Julie Kent, principal with the American Ballet Theatre. Her exquisite artistry and outstanding acting was wonderful in the pas de deux. Kent won major dance competition medals in the Prix de Lausanne International Ballet Competition and was first place in the prestigious “Prix Benois de la Danse” in 2000. It was an absolute pleasure to watch her with Guillaume Coté, the talented Guest Artist-in-Residence for the National Ballet of Canada. 


Victoria Jaiani and Miguél Blanco closed with Le Corsaire Pas de Deux. They showcased their strong classical training and wore their George Balanchine artistic and technical badges of honor. It was another highlight during this evening of dance. When the music began the audience held its breath knowing they were about to witness inhuman feats.