Sarasota Ballet's "Iconographic" featured Galina Samsova's "Paquita," Martha Graham's "Appalachian Spring" and Ricardo Graziano's "Symphony of Sorrows."
The Sarasota Ballet opened its 28th season this past weekend with “Iconographic,” celebrating choreographers of the past, present and future.
The program allowed the company a chance to showcase technical and artistic diversity and the dancers did just that Oct. 26 at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts.
The evening opened with the company revival of Galina Samsova’s “Paquita.” Complete with an elegant set, crisp lighting and a swarm of sparkling tutus, “Paquita” is quintessential ballet.
Samsova’s choreography gives thrilling opportunities for the entire ensemble to showcase its technical skill. On opening night, Kate Honea and Ricardo Graziano danced with precision and finesse. With an exception of a few minor wobbles, the corps de ballet exhibited close to perfect lines, placement and épaulment. Ryoko Sadoshima performed the most memorable solo with lightning-fast footwork and infinite charm.
Next, the dancers shed their pointe shoes and tiaras for Graziano’s “Symphony of Sorrows.” Created for the Sarasota Ballet and debuted in 2012, the piece was most recently performed in August at The Joyce Theatre in New York City. Perhaps because Graziano works so closely with the dancers on a day-to-day basis, he seems to pull the best qualities out of everyone. Not only are the contemporary movements and shapes the five couples create breathtaking, but the message of agonizing grief throughout is enough to bring one to tears. Amy Wood stood out for her ethereal quality and seamless pas de deux with Weslley Carvalho.
Closing the evening was the company premiere of Martha Graham’s “Appalachian Spring.” The curtain opened to a minimal yet stunning set and an Aaron Copland score.
Graham was one of the great innovators of modern dance who developed her own movement vocabulary. One of her most notable works, “Appalachian Spring,” explores the lives of a young pioneer husband and his bride beginning a life together on the American frontier.
The cast found its way through Graham’s weighted style. Ellen Overstreet portrayed the Pioneering Woman with a serene and mature presence. As the Revivialist, Ivan Spitale was menacing and dynamic, and the four followers moved as one bouncy flock. Katelyn May was technically sound as the Bride yet struggled to fully emote a genuine sense of joy. Ricki Bertoni’s performance of the committed Husbandman left the strongest impression as he moved organically through difficult contractions and hinges.
The works of Samsova, Graziano and Graham indeed highlighted diverse dance styles and stretched the dancers to move in different directions. The Sarasota Ballet continues to impress, and it looks as though we are in store for an exciting season.