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Arts and Entertainment Monday, Jan. 4, 2021 1 week ago

Sarasota Ballet delights with varied virtual program

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The ballet's Digital Program 3 rang in the new year with serious works and a splash of comedy.
by: Sara Rachon Dance Critic

The Sarasota Ballet helped us ring in the New Year this past weekend with the release of Digital Program 3. The diverse selection that makes up this program includes works from several different choreographers and eras. The dancers demonstrated both technical and artistic strength throughout the wide range of styles.

The pas de quatre from “Summertide” opened the program with a stunning set and costume design by Dick Bird. The full ballet by Sir Peter Wright was recovered and first performed by the Sarasota Ballet in 2015. Ellen Overstreet was partnered effortlessly by Ricardo Rhodes, Harvey Evans and Thomas Leprohon. Overstreet’s upper body created beautiful, continuous port de bras as she was passed from one man to the next; the four danced with sincerity and commitment to the choreography.

Ellen Overstreet & Richard House in Sir Kenneth MacMillan's Concerto (Photo by Matthew Holler)

Next up was Dominic Walsh’s “Clair De Lune.” The solo, set to the familiar Claude Debussy music, was performed by Ivan Spitale. Walsh’s choreography has a distinct style and when danced well has a stunning effect. Spitale was tremendous as his movements were sharp and rippling but still maintained a purity in his lines and technique. Ryoko Sadoshima made her return to the stage in “The Mirror Walkers” pas de deux by Sir Peter Wright. Partnered by Richard House, Sadoshima exuded joy and fulfillment as she danced.

Peter Darrell’s “Othello” tells the Shakespeare story in one act. Standouts were Ricardo Graziano as Iago and Danielle Brown as Desdemona. Brown brought and innocence and vulnerability to the role, which elevated the tragic ending. Again, the dancers switched gears from the story ballet “Othello,” to Christopher Wheeldon’s “The American” pas de deux. Katelyn May and Yuri Marques performed the lyrical choreography with ease and an expansive breath of movement.

Now for some comedy – an excerpt from Matthew Bourne’s “The Infernal Galop.” Spitale was cheeky as the Merman, flapping his fins at three in sync sailors (Daniel Pratt, Lenin Vallardes and Ricki Bertoni). The closer, and highlight, of the program was the breathtaking pas de deux from Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s “Concerto.” Overstreet was elegantly partnered by House; he lifted her across his shoulders with ease and her extensions were infinite.

Besides the superb dancing, the lighting and videography continue to improve as the company releases more digital programming. Although we miss seeing live performances, it’s exciting that people across the country and around the world now have access to our beloved Sarasota Ballet.

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