A giant lamp with a crown of bulbs turns its head into position. Like an alien saucer it beams down onto the stage, illuminating a single motionless dancer. The dancer moves in a rapid jerking motion. Is it a man or a woman? Suddenly, the sound of Bach’s Goldberg Variations breaks the silence.
Boston Ballet’s The Sleeping Beauty opened the Friday before spring break. The three-hour show is set in a sparkly pink fairytale world, where people dance to communicate, and everyone is merry except the evil fairy Carabosse. The company does an extraordinary job with Marius Petipa’s 120-year old classical ballet. The dancing, costumes, and scenery were superb.
The Boston Ballet opened its 50th season before an estimated audience of over 45,000 ballet aficionados, performing the dazzling Night of Stars in Boston Common last Saturday. The free one-night performance featured excerpts from Boston Ballet’s entire repertory of classical, neo-classical and contemporary ballets. Multiple giant screens, a velvety state-of-the-art sound system and the gigantic stage, which at times dwarved soloist and pas de deux performances, made for an enchanting evening of highbrow artistry.
The José Mateo Ballet Theatre of Cambridge opened its 28th season with a performance of Shadows Fleeting, the first of five ballet repertory performances of the 2013–2014 season. Shadows Fleeting features three unique works — Dark Profiles (2001), Covens (2006), and Vanished Verses (premiering this season) — by José Mateo, the company’s impresario, choreographer and artistic director. The recurrent theme of the night was exploring the darker side of Mateo’s provocatively expressed repertory.
Last week the Boston Ballet began their 2013–14 season with La Bayadère, a classical ballet set in a fantastical-version of ancient India, that artistic director Mikko Nissinen describes as “one of the most iconic and quintessential pieces in the classical ballet collection.”
Boston Opera House was glowing with holiday spirit as attendees eagerly squeezed into the ornate, lavish venue for a sold-out opening night of Mikko Nissinen’s The Nutcracker. The Nutcracker is an extravagant, breath-taking production featuring eye-popping set changes, immaculately designed costumes, and energetic, striking choreography that takes the audience on an enchanting journey. Throughout the ballet, audiences alternated between erupting in laughter and breaking out in thunderous applause.
With the grand production of Mikko Nissinen’s The Nutcracker embracing the winter season in Boston, many ballet goers might be unaware of another production that happened in the secluded Sanctuary Theatre, located at Harvard Square. While the José Mateo Ballet may be somewhat less familiar than the Boston Ballet Company, this ballet company has been putting out shows for decades. This winter, they returned with their 26th annual production of The Nutcracker — a small-scale and intimate show that delivers the best of the Christmas magic.
From start to finish, Boston Ballet’s Cinderella is an enchanting telling of the beloved fairytale. Set to a score by Sergei Prokofiev and choreographed by Sir Frederick Ashton, the ballet was premiered in 1948 by the Sadler’s Wells Ballet (now The Royal Ballet), and is now being performed for the first time by Boston Ballet.
It’s finals time, even in the ballet world. Next week, advanced students of the Boston Ballet School will give their end-of-year performance, and in two weeks the company wraps up its 50th anniversary season with Balanchine’s Jewels. Dancers don’t revert to grunge-mode like college students during crunch time, however. The Boston Ballet was at its finest last Thursday in Pricked. They made the audience laugh, cringe, and marvel in awe during the edgy, fun, and technically demanding performance. They earned a well-deserved standing ovation from the audience at the finale. I’ll long remember the performance.
As if opening a treasure chest to discover a trove of precious stones, the audience oohed and aahed every time the curtains were raised to reveal dancers in glittering costumes, poised in front of sparkling backdrops of enormous gems. Boston Ballet’s 50th season concluded this year with George Balanchine’s Jewels.
Choreographed by Val Caniparoli, Lady of the Camellias by Boston Ballet is an emotion-filled display of the talent that makes the company so special.
Boston Ballet’s Edge of Vision, a three-part performance featuring original choreography and eclectic music, grips its audience with stunning sensory detail.
Men balancing on each other like surfboards, women perching precariously on their partners’ napes, a human truss forming from a lattice of dancers – these were some of the radical visual treats greeting the audience in this season’s opener at the Boston Ballet. A surprising 40 years since its inception, this production marks the first performance by a North American company of John Neumeier’s Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler.
Every holiday season, the Boston Ballet adorns its atrium with Christmas trees and festive laurels in preparation for its annual performance of The Nutcracker.
Ever since the Boston Ballet first brought this John Cranko classic to the U.S., Onegin has been a fan favorite. It is one of the most moving pieces in the classical ballet repertoire, telling the story of the naïve Tatiana Larina who falls in love with the brooding Eugene Onegin. But the older Onegin finds her childish infatuation tiresome, and spurns her — only to have the tables turn when he comes to his senses years later.
Kuranaga is wonderful at capturing the frail, tormented, hauntingly beautiful White Swan in the second act, yet is able to quickly switch to the energetic, coquettish Black Swan for Act III.
The pas de deux has an impressively broad range of moves. The spins and lifts are mostly unique, and the variety easily keeps you on the edge of your seat.
In the second act, to Beethoven's Cello Sonata No. 2 in G Minor, dancer Spencer Doru Keith stood out as the most talented and athletic. He bounded airily across the stage, and his leaps attained impressive height and ended in light, graceful landings.
Notable performances include those of Angie DeWolf and Spencer Doru Keith, who danced the powerful, sensual Arabian Variation, and Janelle Gilchrist and Junichi Fukuda, who leapt across the stage in the Russian Variation. Concluding the night was the Grand Pas de Deux with the Sugar Plum Fairy (Madeleine Bonn) and the Cavalier (Stephen James), both of whom danced with beautiful poise and strength through its multiple variations and coda.
The triple bill showcases three of today’s most prominent choreographers — Jorma Elo, Justin Peck and William Forsythe — each faced with the challenge of bringing shape to sound through a non-narrative work. This grants us the rare opportunity to compare and contrast their unique takes on George Balanchine’s classic charge, to “see the music, hear the dance”.
Wayne McGregor’s genre of choreography is most often referred to as contemporary ballet, but he himself has never been trained in ballet, and instead traces his roots back to ballroom dancing and disco. His movements know no bounds, with limbs wending through the air as if having a mind of their own, and dancers flowing into and around one another as if unable to grasp the concept of tangible matter.
Just as their combinations started to tire however, the door to the theatre opened, permitting a glimmer of music and lights to waft in from the outside. My curiosity was piqued as the audience began thinning, with members of the ICA crew using makeshift wheelbarrows to casually cart them away to this mystery performance outside. With a mild frisson, I wondered when I might be picked off too.