Sarasota Ballet shines with triple-bill production
They danced George Balanchine's "Emeralds," Dame Ninette de Valois' "The Rake's Progress" and Ricardo Graziano's "In a State of Weightlessness" the last weekend.
| 3:00 p.m. February 1, 2016
Arts + Entertainment
Completing Balanchine’s three-part “Jewels” ballet that includes “Diamonds” and “Rubies”, the Sarasota Ballet added “Emeralds” to its repertoire. From the moment the curtain rises the dancers glittered in emerald green tutus for the girls and ornate green tunics for the men. Set to music by Gabriel Fauré, “Emeralds” is an elegant, rich and pretty ballet with lots of pas de bourrée couru for the leading females and corps de ballet. The corps created different lines, diagonals and formations with undulating soft arms throughout the ballet making live moving sets.
Victoria Hulland and Ellen Overstreet were graceful and pretty as the principal ballerinas of the piece. Sareen Tchekmedyian and Elizabeth Sykes were buoyant and bright in the pas de trios with Paul Branco who performed multiple entrechat six. Tchekmedyian was almost unrecognizable with a new confidence and strength that seemed to rein the stage. Even though the entire piece was performed with precision, the mood of the dancers seemed more serious and strained rather than exhibiting more joyful dispositions.
Ricardo Graziano demonstrated that not only is he a gifted dancer blessed with incredible technique, but also that he has great acting abilities as well in De Valois’ “The Rake's Progress.” Graziano goes from being a stately, cocky heir into a dying madman as “The Rake.” The ballet starts out with The Rake holding his head high and shimmying his shoulders as he is fitted for new clothes, given a fencing lesson and serenaded by a horn blower. Xavier Nunez did multiple Italian changements and pirouettes as The Jockey. And Alex Harrison did his best as the Dancing Master to teach the stumbling Rake how to dance.
Christine Windsor danced the role of the Betrayed Girl with soul and longing. Her role required her to perform multiple hops en pointe, reaching arabesques and développés en l’air. Kate Honea flashed her red stockings as The Dancer who led the hilarious “ladies of the town.” And Logan Learned performed a creepy solo as the Man with the Rope in the asylum.
Graziano’s “In a State of Weightlessness,” which premiered at Jacob’s Pillow last summer, was an excellent contemporary piece that showcased his creative choreography. The ballet, set to music by Philip Glass, starts with the lights coming up slowly to display five girls in nude leotards suspended in the air by their partners, who are dressed in all black, as if they were floating in air.
The ballet consisted of five pas de deuxs with intricate partnering between the pairs that featured each of the dancers strengths. Kristianne Kleine’s pas de deux with Ricardo Rhodes showcased her strength and power. Danielle Brown’s pas de deux with Juan Gil featured her flexibility. The ballet concluded just as it had started with all five girls illuminated, weightlessly in the air.