Miami City Ballet – Putting Pedal to the Metal – 1/24
Miami City Ballet delivered a rip-roaring Square Dance last evening at City Center led by Jeanette Delgado and Jeremy Cox. Haglund has never seen this dance as polished and well-rehearsed as last night. The corps set a new standard for precision and energy that is going to be hard for anyone to surpass – assuming any other company has the initiative to try to do so. Ms. Delgado was a marvel as she sped through the steps with clarity, teasing us that she had energy to spare and then putting the pedal to the metal just to prove her point.
Haglund went to the second program of Miami City Ballet last night to see if seeing Rubies as set by the originators would make him like it. It didn't. The dreadful recorded music made him like it even less. There are those who proclaim that every piece of choreography that Balanchine conceived was god's gift to the art form. Haglund is not one of them. Rubies was a novelty at the time of its first performance because it was new-form jazzet or ballez and featured Patricia McBride, America's most wholesome ballet dancer, cast against type and Edward Villella ingeniusly type-cast. Following the departure of the originators, the piece lost its novelty and appeal and is pretty much now a lot of leg swinging and women trying to act cutsy and seductive simultaneously. It's painful to watch.
Symphony in C was stunningly beautiful. Again Ms. Delgado was striking in her clarity, joy, and impressive speed in the third section of this piece with Alex Wong. The first section was led by Mary Carmen Catoya and Renato Penteado, the second by Haiyan Wu and Carlos Miguel Guerra, and the fourth by Patricia Delgado and Jeremy Cox. Haglund was thinking about how he liked the opening Wednesday program better than the second program until the ladies of the corps took their first steps in Symphony. These dancers were of one mind, one force, and danced as one body. Absolutely exquisite.
Haglund was able to appreciate the special qualities and refinement that Haiyan Wu brought to the second section even if she seemed somewhat disconnected from her made-in-heaven partner, Carlos Miguel Guerra. With Carreno-type handsomeness and steady hands to match, Guerra was incredible to watch as he maneuvered Wu from one dreamy move to another. His solo dancing has a controlled, virile quality whereas the MCB men lean more towards youthful peppiness and vigor - Jeremy Cox's mature dancing excepted.
The final movement of Symphony in C ended with the audience on its feet cheering for its new champions. Villella came out for a bow (the audience would have been most disappointed if he hadn't) but then stepped to the side to survey his dancers gleaming in the glow of their new championship. Yeah.