There is something about dancer's limbs that is so beautiful. In Liam Scarlett's new dance piece VISCERA, which had its debut Friday night January 6th at the Arsht Center, we see these exposed muscular and lithe limbs beautifully highlighted by John Hall's lighting. Costumed in body hugging tank suits in dark burgundy and navy blue velour, the company soars through Scarlett's choreography. There is extensive use of arm movements and leg extensions. There is the sense of coming and going; leaving a group and joining another. In much of the movement the dancers face upstage away from the audience so we see their backs. Such beautiful backs, especially Jeanette Delgado, who leads as soloist. I have to admit that she is among my favorite dancers in the company and she is radiant in this piece.
In the middle of this work there is a duet that slows the pace. Jennifer Carlynn Kronenberg and Carlos Miguel Guerra move quietly and sensually. Their lifts are often asymmetrical and dangerous. I kept thinking "here I am in Miami seeing the top dancers in the world ."
After the duet the full company returns, moving frantically but controlled to a joyous ending. What a wonderful debut for this young choreographer, Liam Scarlett.
In a way I wish that the debut of VISCERA had been placed last in the program. The second two pieces were good, and beautiful, but seemed a bit old fashioned by comparison.
IN THE NIGHT, choreographed by Jerome Robbins over 40 years ago, still has beauty. Three very different couples dance pas de deux. Set in the dark of night with stars shining brightly, Didier Bramaz is the perfect courtier to Tricia Albertson's graceful innocence. Kronenberg then appears with Guerra, again lighted by the stars and three large chandeliers. She is doll-like and there is marvelous chemistry between them. The final duet starts off with the fiery and explosive entrance of Delgado and Renato Penteado in a daring lift. She plays the perfect coquette. The piece ends with the three couples dancing sedately.
BALLET IMPERIAL was the most traditional piece. The stage is draped with long and luscious blue velour drapes and as the lights come up we see two rows of dancers posed diagonally across the stage. Again the lighting is exquisite as it highlights the bodies. They start to dance and are joined by the large company corps. A duet and trio are interspersed with the company. Mary Carmen Catoya is light as a feather and once the piece is underway finds her balance. She is partnered by the elegant Renato Penteado. The trio brings us Delgado again, dancing with Zoe Zien and Ashley Knox. Delgado is an industrial strength dancer as she appears as soloist in all three pieces. (She replaced her sister in the Robbins piece. I believe I saw Patricia Delgado in the audience with her foot in a cast.)
And as always the costumes were beautiful, especially the women's skirts. They are designed for movement, and swirl around the women’s legs like clouds. Haydée Morales is the designer.
Program II runs January 27 through 29 at the Kravis Center and again February 3 though 5 at the Broward Center. For tickets call (305) 929-7010 or (877) 929-7010, or go online to miamicityballet.org.