Last weekend the Miami City Ballet presented their Program II: Tradition and Innovation at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami. And what a wonderful program it was. Complete with a live orchestra, there were pieces for the traditionalists in the crowd and one new brilliant piece by British choreographer Liam Scarlett.
Divertiment No 15 opened the program with eight principal dancers and a chorus of eight women. Beautiful lacy and beribboned tutus framed the women’s legs. Only in ballet do you see such detailed costuming.
Most impressive were the ever smiling Jeanette Delgado and Reyneris Reyes in their solos and duet. Both danced with the music as if it were a part of their bodies. She turned beautifully and his precision in partnering her was breath taking.
The chorus of women was beautiful as well, with the tiny sprite of a dancer Zoe Zien standing out with her full extensions and beautiful arms.
Duo Concertant was a piece for piano, violin and two elegant dancers: Patricia Delgado and Renan Cerdeiro. It was interesting having the two musicians playing onstage for this piece, although the shocking red hair of the violinist was a bit distracting.
Choreographed by Balanchine, the movement in Duo Concertant was at first quick, precise and abstract. The dancers moved in playful contagion. Later the piece was quiet and lyrical. In the solos, both their turns and fast footwork were wonderful. The last part of the duet was difficult to see; dark and ineffective lighting.
The third very traditional and well-known piece was the Don Quixote Pas de Deux danced by Mary Carmen Catoya and Renato Penteado. His partnering and her exquisite balance on pointe made this dance thrilling. In his solo he defied gravity with his precise leaps and turns. She played the coquette with her fan, flirting with the audience. Later her turning fouettés made the audience gasp. She also performed a series of turns that was stunning; changing her spinning feet from one to the other. The audience roar at the end of the piece was justly deserved.
After the second intermission came the piece the audience was waiting for: Euphotic, a new ballet by Liam Scarlett from the Royal Ballet Company. It was breathtaking from the opening moment until the finale. As the curtain rose, the corps dancers were on their knees facing upstage. The women seemed circled by a pool of white with their skirts dripping into the floor. When they began to dance, this pool became the bottom of their skirts. The lighting and colors of blue, yellow and white were unusual and very beautiful. It is difficult to remember all the stunning movements in this abstract piece as they kept coming and coming. What I do remember are entrance lifts with women high over the men’s heads; unexpected percussive movement; a quartet of men actually throwing a female dancer in the air; unison dancing that had a primal quality; silhouettes of men and women standing upstage; unique lifts and the changing of partners.
This daring new work by Scarlett must become a part of the MCB repertoire. It is unique and innovative dance.
This program repeats at the Broward Center in Ft. Lauderdale January 18-20 and at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach January 25-27. For more information go to www.miamicityballet.org