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Performing Art
Arts and Entertainment Thursday, Apr. 30, 2009 13 years ago

Dance Review

by: Anna Dearing Dance Critic

Choreographer Dominic Walsh has achieved a visual and musical masterpiece with “The Trilogy: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,” bringing Mozart’s music to life.

Walsh uses Mozart’s musical scores as a blueprint for formations and movement: a diagonal line of dancers, whose movements resemble notes going up and down a musical scale; several pas de trois emulate musical chords; a series of movements representative of what the keys and strings of a piano look like when being played. All that, combined with Walsh’s interpretational storytelling of Mozart’s life (Walsh spent three years researching the music and historical facts about Mozart), had Sarasota audiences leaping out of their seats and yelling “Bravo!”

The first act of “The Trilogy” is “Wolfgang for Webb,” which premiered here in April 2008, was danced by members of the Sarasota Ballet.The curtain opens to the silhouettes of five men whose breathing is accentuated by their arms rising and up and down their sides with each breath. Next, billowing white silk covers the stage, and, suddenly, different body parts — arms, legs, heads and torsos — appear through small holes in the silk. The body parts turn into dancers and eventually Mozart, dynamically danced by Domenico Luciano, appears. Octavio Martin and Kyoko Takeichi perform a pas de deux that includes lyrical lifts paired with Takeichi sharply opening her legs from second position back to fifth before sweeping, sliding turns, created by Martin using her inner thigh as support, as compared to an arm or wrist in typical ballet-partnered turns.

Dressed in period ball gowns and jackets, Kate Honea, Rick Bertoni, Amy Wood, Miguel Piquer, Danielle Rae Brown and Simon Mummé dance a high-spirited piece that ends with the girls slapping the boys in the face, drawing laughs from the audience. Then, Mozart’s muse, Lauren Strongin, appears and dances an awe-inspiring pas de deux with Luciano. The couple, with matching long lines and high-reaching extensions, are perfectly paired and perform a complicated series of lifts. Finally, all come out on stage and repeat certain series of movements from the act, but the movements are slightly different as if the melody is being played again in a different key.

Dominic Walsh Dance Theater dancers perform the second act, “Amadeus for Anita,” with the addition of Sarasota Ballet dancers Logan Learned and Mummé. The dancers are dressed in period dress and begin the piece by standing in one line at the front of the stage and moving their heads forward and backward to emulate the keys of a piano. Many of the movements in this act, represent those a pianist might make – Luciano’s fingers are often seen moving as if he were playing trills on the piano, and the overdramatic arm movements seen on this act’s muse, Lauren Bettencourt, are reminiscent of those seen on a concert pianist.

Mummé and Luana Moscagiuli perform an adorable and comedic pas de deux to “Pa-Pa-Pa-Pa-Pa-Pa Pagageno!” from “The Magic Flute.” This pas de deux highlights Walsh’s incredible musicality that is ever evident throughout the entire production. Walsh literally doesn’t miss a beat. Even the slightest musical innuendo is paired with a step to highlight the different musical aspects of Mozart’s music.

The third and final act, “Mozart,” which features Sarasota Ballet and Dominic Walsh Dance Theater dancing together for the first time, is an extraordinary piece that evokes every emotion – leaving one almost breathless. The act begins with Luciano reaching in the direction where his last muse left, before the entire cast, dressed in the various different costumes seen throughout the ballet, congregates on stage and performs a series of movements, including arabesque turns, jumps and rolling on the ground in an exciting cannon.

An exceptional moment in “Mozart” was a piece done en pointe by the female cast. Danced in a diagonal like the strings are arranged in a piano, simple footwork and turning in and out of legs create a dramatic effect. Amy Wood was a standout in this section, which accentuates her long legs and lines with pirouettes that turn into attitude turns and perfect pointe work.

After Strongin and Luciano perform another breathtaking and beautiful pas de deux, Honea, dressed in period ball gown, enters the stage at the end of the pointe section, and begins to imitate the female dancers trying to get Luciano’s attention. Suddenly, realizing that she’s the only one left on stage, she’s surprised with a passionate kiss from Luciano, which leaves her weak in the knees. Her weakness suddenly changes to pure delight, when Bertoni, Martin, Mummé, Nava and Piquer bombard the stage, and they all dance a hilarious, flirtatious number. In between being thrown into the air, Honea realizes that with the slight lift of her skirt the men automatically undulate on the floor. Her sheer glee in her newfound power is incredibly infectious.

Honea’s acting technique, which developed with fervor this season, crescendos during a scene in which she is in a state of undress and obvious dispair. Her misery culminates in a sensual pas de deux with Luciano and the third and final muse, Takeichi.

Finally, Luciano and the three muses bring the floating,white silk back onto the stage, seemingly lifting up some of the dancers in the air. Luciano’s last solo is performed while half of his body is enveloped by the silk and only his legs are seen before he is swallowed up by the silk, as Takeichi leaps in after him without a trace.

Indeed, “The Trilogy” is a stunning achievement.

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