Night two of the Sir Frederick Ashton Festival was even better than the first. The dancers seemed even more confident after their successful opening evening, offering a hint of the nights to come. Although, the lack of the live music from the Sarasota Orchestra did make you wish for Saturday night’s performance when their accompaniment will be back.
The evening’s program included “Les Rendezvous,” “Monotones I & II” and a repeat of “Façade,” yet with an entirely different cast. All three were performed with perfection and some real stars really shined — Kate Honea, Amy Wood, Nicole Padilla and Gabriela Johnson.
Starting with the latter, Johnson, an apprentice, shined as one of the six couples in “Les Rendezvous” and in the Foxtrot in “Façade.” She dances with a strong and confident technique with a bright and warm smile. We look forward to seeing more of her dancing in future shows and next season.
Nicole Padilla was a knockout in the Polka in “Façade.” She danced with precision yet with a coy demeanor attacking all the turns and pointe work with an assured confidence.
Amy Wood who was a last-minute replacement for Victoria Hulland in Monotones II was absolutely divine. Her long lines and graceful port de bras personified her role in the pas de trois, which she danced with Ricardo Graziano and Ricardo Rhodes. The three all together possess such strong technique and stage presence that it was truly a breathtaking piece coupled with Erik Satie’s famous music.
Finally, Kate Honea owned her role as the principal couple in “Les Rendezvous” that she danced with Ricardo Rhodes. Honea pulled off the complicated double attitude piqué turn that went directly into a double pirouette en dehors sequence with ease. One would think that nothing could top Honea’s performance of the Milkmaid in “Façade,” however she just might be even better in the Tango-Pasodoble that she and Juan Gil danced outstandingly!