Sarasota Ballet continues to astound with every pirouette and leap. This program that featured George Balanchine’s “Four Temperaments,” Will Tuckett’s “Lux Aeterna” and Sir Frederick Ashton’s “Sinfonietta” was technically and athletically challenging for the entire company and most especially the principal dancers who performed in two and, even in some cases, all three of the pieces. There was no ounce of energy or enthusiasm lost in any piece and each was performed to perfection.
In short, the Sarasota Ballet dancers are really, really good. It must warm Founder and Chair Emeritus Jean Weidner Goldstein’s heart to see the highest-level caliber of dancing being performed by her very own Sarasota Ballet.
“Four Temperaments,” set to music by Paul Hindemith, is one of George Balanchine’s most famous Neo-Classical ballets performed in simple black leotards and tights. The ballet juxtaposes sharp staccato movements with smooth rhythmic lifts; range of motion from turned-in to turned-out and épaulement from croisé (crossed) and effacé (open).
One of these juxtaposed segments includes en dedans and en dehors pirouettes performed effortlessly multiple times by Kate Honea in the Sanguinic section. Her partner Ricardo Rhodes also performed a technically challenging pirouette sequence where he performed a fouetté into retiré derrière while on demi-pointe en plié. Logan Learned was adept at combining allegro movements with high-reaching développés. And Ricardo Graziano intertwined four tall women in an intricate maze reminiscent of other scenes in Balanchine ballets such as “Apollo” and “Serenade.”
Will Tuckett’s world premiere, “Lux Aeterna,” set to music by Morten Lauridsen, was an absolutely breathtaking piece. The music, the choreography, lighting by Aaron Muhl and the costumes by Bill Fenner all contributed to the stunning group dance that interweaved the dancers into different patterns and formations on stage. Graziano and Danielle Brown dramatically lead the cast of 21 dancers with charged emotion. The beginning of the piece was exceptionally dramatic with the men of the piece running in slow motion before being shot down as if in battle.
The evening ended with Sir Frederick Ashton’s “Sinfonietta,” which is set to music by Sir Malcolm Williamson CBE. The ballet is a plotless, yet fun, upbeat and fast-paced piece. The only exception was the second movement where Victoria Hulland performs an adagio that seems like her feet never hit the ground because she is lifted and carried into different poses by five men.