Director Iain Webb has proven multiple times he is the master of orchestrating triple-bill programs, and this past weekend’s was just another example. Featuring a traditional classical ballet piece by Sir Frederick Ashton, “Les Rendezvous,” a dramatic story piece, “Lilac Garden,” by Antony Tudor and “I Napoletani,” a humorous contemporary piece by Dominic Walsh, the show delighted everyone’s tastes.
The Sarasota Ballet dancers proved they are quite adept at these triple bills of different styles of dance, as well. Every piece was danced with precision so the audience could simply sit back, relax and enjoy a delightful evening of dance.
Ashton’s “Les Rendezvous” is a sweet piece set to music by Daniel Auber, arranged by Constant Lambert. The ballet depicts young men and women who meet in a park who flirt, smooch and walk off hand-in-hand. The ballet is different, in a sense, because the main pas de deux, solos and finale are all intertwined and not presented in the typical order, which makes it a delightful piece to behold from start to finish.
Kate Honea and Ricardo Rhodes led the cast as the principal couple with bright smiles, precise technique and amazing tricks. Honea performed technically difficult choreography with ease such as a corner sequence that included piqué turns that ended in arabesque en pointe, while Rhodes wowed the audience with a series of straddle jumps that were so high and wide they evoked applause. Sara Sardelli, Logan Learned and Alex Harrison were a high-spirited group in the pas de trois that included nothing but allégro — emboité manèges, entrechats, sissones and sautés.
Emotions were charged in Tudor’s dramatic ballet, “Lilac Garden,” which is set to Ernest Chausson’s “Poéme for Violin & Orchestra.”
It is the last night for Caroline (Victoria Hulland) before her wedding night to “The Man She Must Marry” (David Tlaiye), and she experiences different encounters at a party with “Her Lover” (Ricardo Graziano) and “An Episode in His Past” (Danielle Brown), who is a woman her future husband had liaisons with in the past.
Brown is best suited for dramatic ballets such as “Lilac Garden.” She expertly shows her emotion through the choreography, and it was evident in her role in this ballet. Tlaiye proves more and more to be the perfect dancer for roles calling for a strong male figure.
Walsh’s “I Napoletani” is always a pleasure to watch. Infusing his choreography with everything from the dramatic, serious and humorous to pay homage to Naples, “I Napoletani,” which is set to popular Neapolitan music of the 1800s, was a perfect finale piece for this Sarasota Ballet production.
Juan Gil performed a gorgeous solo during the opening segment that pays tribute to the Teatro San Carlo. His extensions and fluid movement were captivating even while swathed in a billowing tutu. Hulland surprised and delighted the audience with a rarely seen comedic acting ability during the “Guaglione” pas de deux with Learned. Ricki Bertoni made the audience and the five girls dancing on stage swoon in “O Sarracino.” And the entire cast created delight during an Italian family scene around the dinner table that included a frenzy of typical Italian hand motions.
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