There are about a hundred scattered seats still available for Barcelona Ballet's final performance Friday night at 8PM. This young company really hit full stride tonight. Wow, did the dancers look great!
So handsome in all three pieces tonight. Vera, Virellles, Robison, Radev, Iseda, Corella(s), Hirata, Calderon, Omori, Casa sold it big time. Stepping into the Blue PdD in the Bruch Violin Concerto for the first time during this week, Maria Jose Sales and corpsman Jonatan Diaz were dazzling. Pálpito sizzled!
Bruch Violin Concerto No.1 has got to be this company's signature ballet. They should perform it everywhere they go.
Don't miss the chance to see Barcelona Ballet!
It looks like City Center has opened the Balcony seating for ticket sales for the final performance tonight!
The Barcelona Ballet returned to New York's City Center on Tuesday night with a new name, a new cohesiveness in style, new choreography, and the treasured brilliant energy of its star director, Angel Corella. This is not to say that there weren't a few problems that need to be discussed. But overall, the company, formerly known as Corella Ballet Castilla y Leon, gave a performance that showed that its artistic growth and development continue from its root structure up through the branches to the blossoming ends of its limbs.
The program opened with what was for Haglund the highlight of the evening, Clark Tippet's Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1 which was created in 1987. The City Center stage is too small to display the grandness of Tippet's designs but it's large enough to make clear that the future lost a major choreographic voice when Tippet died in 1992 from AIDS at the age of 37. He really knew how to build a choreographic phrase to bring out the beauty and drama of the music.
The Barcelona Ballet dancers soared in the Bruch and displayed tidy, beautifully curved feet and legs along with unaffected and graceful port de bras. If Angel Corella can achieve this degree of harmony and style among a collection of dancers trained in a multitude of styles from schools all over the world, imagine the greatness that is on the horizon for this company when it begins producing dancers in its own school which will soon open in Figueres, Spain.
Yuka Iseda, substituting for Kazuko Omon, with Kirill Radev displayed sublime elegance and perfect coordination in the Aqua PdD. Ana Calderon and Aaron Robison in the Red PdD tugged and pulled and challenged each other with quick changes of direction and (intentionally) off-balance maneuvers. Carmen Corella and Dayron Vera in the Blue PdD were the calm and collected lovers simply enjoying the moment. Momoko Hirata and Alejandro Virelles rose to the challenges of the allegro in the Pink PdD. Virelles pulled off the successive double pirouettes with the changing arm positions with ease. All of the soloists were wonderful, but the outstanding corps de ballet was the main attraction in this ballet. A few opening night nerves were in play that included an unintentional sit-down and some difficult adjustments to the small stage, but the piece taken as a whole looked very, very pretty. The women's tutus, originally designed by Dain Marcus, were simply lovely for their layers of color and the way in which the backs were slightly longer and fuller than the fronts which gave them a trailing effect when the dancers moved.
The middle piece on last night's program was Christopher Wheeldon's For 4 which he made for the Kings of the Dance in 2006. It was not a good programming choice for a couple of reasons. First, it followed the much better crafted Bruch Violin Concerto No.1 by Tippet, and it showed Wheeldon's lack of focus and his reliance on arbitrary quirks as filler when his creativity got stuck. Second, the original interpreters (Corella, Ethan Stiefel, Johan Kobborg, and Nikolay Tsiskaridze) carried the weak choreography on their famous backs and bolstered it with their huge well-known stage personalities and their abilities to wrestle any movement to the mat for a win. The four gentlemen in the performance last night, who were unknown to most of us, couldn't make For 4 fly despite their obvious technical talents. But it certainly wasn't their fault.
The world premiere of Pálpito concluded the program. Choreographed by Flamenco specialists Angel Rojas & Carlos Rodriquez, who direct the Nuevo Ballet Espanol, to a commissioned musical and vocal composition by Hector Gonzalez, the dance incorporated different Spanish dance styles into the balletic vocabulary. From the synopsis in the Playbill:
"The story of Pálpito is about the main character who is trying to free himself from the strings that have him bound to his former role of a dancer and that keep him from advancing into the mature role in his spirit with tranquility and peace, allowing his heart to beat with a new force and inspiration preparing him to discover new horizons."
Vicente Solar's inventive and extremely colorful costumes combined elements of traditional Spanish Flamenco designs with balletic tutus to good effect. The central character, danced by Corella, transitioned throughout the piece from formal black and white attire with ruffled shirt to gradually discarding the ruffles and confining jacket to finally emerge renewed in traditional Spanish costume. His choreography, intense and contemporary, was framed by light on the stage floor. Sometimes he followed the straight path of the beam. Sometimes he reeled on a grid of light beneath his feet. Finally, he arrived rested, relieved, and at peace on his knees in a circle of light. The lighting design on the floor is important to moving the story along and may not have been in full view by those in the most forward section of the orchestra.
Perhaps Pálpito was a little self-indulgent. It's not a piece that the company could present without Angel. It is his story. It is his inner torment about giving up what has brought him our love and admiration so that he can create something greater and bigger - for us. Okay, go ahead, but let us have our grief.
Haglund was so happy to see Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1 again that he's going back tonight and Friday. It's like finding lost treasure. And to see it in such fine condition after all these years – the company deserves our thanks and a black Spanish lace Pump Bump Award for the dancers who breathed such life into it:
Just a reminder that tickets to the Paris Opera Ballet's performances during the Lincoln Center Festival go on sale to the general public this Monday. They're on sale right now for LCF members. The company's six performances of its magnificent Giselle are sure to sell out quickly. And you don't want to miss Bejart's incredible Bolero. So hot!
Angel Corella's Barcelona Ballet will bring the electrifying Bruch Violin Concerto by Clark Tippet and other very interesting rep to City Center in April. One of our Haglund'eelers just reported that tickets are up on TDF for those of you who qualify. The company is presenting Swan Lake in Detroit at the end of April. Haglund still has his fingers crossed that either Herman Cornejo or Sarah Lane or BOTH will dance. That would be a trip worth making!
Tickets for these performances on Tues 4/17 through Fri 4/20 start at $25. The program includes Clark Tippet's Bruch Violin Concerto, a truly beautiful bona fide ballet that is alone worth the price of the ticket. This brief clip from the last part of the ballet includes an early Corella Ballet dancer, Matthew Golding (dancing with the ballerina in dark blue costume in the Jaffe/Kent/Ferri role). Golding was one of the many talented male dancers completely stalled in the ABT corps for years before making the break just a few years ago. He is now a principal at theHet National Ballet in Amsterdam and in exactly two weeks will star in Swan Lake with Alina Somova during the Mariinsky's XXII Ballet Festival in St. Petersburg. Odd how there are no ABT dancers performing at the Festival this year - just one brilliant dancer who ABT had in its midst but couldn't/wouldn't develop while opting for guest artists. And so it goes . . . .
Herman Cornejo will teach a master class at the Manhattan Movement & Arts Center (248 W. 60th St.) next Monday, February 20th at 4:30. There will be an extra half hour for the men only from 6-6:30. $25 for ladies; $30 for men.
To reserve, call Erin Fogarty at 212-787-1178 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Look at these beautiful photos by photographer A. Bofill courtesy of the press office of the Gran Teatre del Liceu from Ballet de Barcelona's Swan Lake starring Sarah Lane and Angel Corella. Click on each one for a larger image.
Just got to say it one more time – Angel is our hero!
This article at elPeriodico.com entitledThe Magic of the Black Swan (Google translation) carries a subtitle "Sarah Lane with Angel Corella triumphs with the work of Tchaikovsky." Unfortunately, reading the article requires a subscription.