To kick-off the 25th anniversary season, Director Ian Webb brought back one of the audience’s favorite programs — “Theatre of Dreams,” which features works created by the Sarasota Ballet’s own dancers. Yet this time, Webb selected “The Best of Theatre of Dreams,” which was a representation of a diverse selection of different choreographic styles and pieces.
The evening gave Webb the opportunity to feature many of the dancers from the company, which is perhaps at its largest with 58 dancers under contract this year. He even promoted one dancer, Madysen Felber, from apprentice to corps de ballet after her performance in Jamie Carter’s “A Deux Mains.” The program also honored Ballet Master Pavel Fomin, who has been with the company since nearly its inception by bringing back his ballet, “Hommage à Chopin,” into the repertoire.
The performance opened with Kate Honea’s “Gitana Galop,” which is set to music by Johann Strauss II. This is a classic ballet with regal sets and costumes all performed under a glittering chandelier. Honea’s choreography couples petite allégro movements and quick steps with grande allegro, big jumps and leaps. Victoria Hulland was elegant and precise in her pas de deux with Edward Gonzalez, who commands the stage as the ultimate cavalier. Logan Learned performed multiple grand cabrioles both devant and derrière. And a boys dance allowed the men to show off their tricks with jumps, chugs and pirouettes.
Danielle Brown and Ricardo Graziano oozed romance in Alex Harrison’s “The Blue Hour” pas de deux set to music by Frédéric Chopin. Brown was absolutely radiant with a gorgeous smile that permeated throughout the entire piece. The leading duo also commanded the stage performing Fomin’s “Hommage à Chopin,” also set to Chopin, which combined Russian character movements with classic ballet.
Ricki Bertoni brought a bit of a Bob Fosse-styled piece to the stage with “Ragtop” set to music by Scott Joplin, which was played live on a piano by Thomas Pizzi. The females wore dark bobbed wigs and white gloves, while the men were topped with bowler hats. Amy Wood and Christine Windsor stood out in this jazzy piece with sultry style.
Madysen Felber, Ellen Overstreet and Ben Kay were part of a love triangle in Jamie Carter’s pas de troix, “A Deux Mains” set to music by Sergei Rachmaninoff. All three dancers were well cast in the lyrical piece that featured their lovely lines and extensions.
The program ended with Logan Learned’s showstopper contemporary piece, “Nebulous,” which is set to Phillip Glass. The entire cast dominated the choreography as if owning every step. Gabriela Poole is one to watch with a powerful, yet unique style of dancing. Ricardo Graziano and Juan Gil appeared as if they were mirror images of each other with their strong technique and flexibility within the movements. And Ricardo Rhodes impressed with big jumps and turns.