Boston Ballet Review: The Art of Classical Ballet
March 25, 2021 | Digital
Unless you are one of a select few, chances are that Boston Ballet’s The Art of Classical Ballet will expose you to a variation – or a variation of a variation – that you have never seen before.
In fact, one of the most beautiful aspects of classical ballet is how a change in music and intention inspires choreographers to make distinct the combination of a seemingly limited vocabulary. We all know how popular arabesque, soutenu, and grand jeté are and if it weren’t for the vision of these creatives, much of classical dance would look the same.
So think of this production as a gala of sorts, a “best of” collection. With more than a dozen excerpts from the most popular classical ballets of all time along with those that are more obscure, you not only get to see a variety of repertoire but also a glimpse through the roster of the company.
Intentional or not, the evening begins with one of Boston Ballet’s most recently appointed artists and ends with two of its most longstanding favorites. This feels satisfyingly appropriate for as we are enlightened by the expansive range of classical ballet so too can we witness the potential journey of a Boston Ballet dancer.
The aforementioned young artist is Louise Hautefeuille. It is unsurprising that she has been given the solo that opens the program – the Cigarette Variation from Suite en Blanc – as she also stands out amongst her peers later on in Swan Lake.
Naturally, the precision and strength that comes along with experience still needs to be nurtured, but Hautefeuille already possesses what is often so difficult to achieve: a tranquil confidence and a neck, arms, and hands that seem to hold no tension.
Impressive are two of the duos on the program – The Jockey Dance from From Siberia to Moscow and a duet from Raymonda. Lawrence Rines & Irlan Silva and Nina Matiashvili & María Álvarez work wonderfully in their respective pairs demonstrating a focused effort on synchronicity of body lines, musicality, and temperament.
Of course, this level of excellence is to be expected of a professional company, but more often than acceptable are when these details are carelessly left aside. Nods to these dancers and their coaches!
The brightest moments of the evening are Ji Young Chae and Daniel Durrett who both dance variations from Bournonville’s William Tell. Chae’s fifths are enviable throughout, always taking off and landing from the tightest of positions. Add to that her timing and buoyancy in the series of entre che quatre-échappé-sauté, and you wish that her solo would never end.
With his first grand battement, Durrett’s energy is like that of being shot out of a canon. And with that same targeted precision, he jumps and beautifully beats his way through the variation with lines that extend beyond the physical reach of his toes.
Viktorina Kapitonova with her gorgeously high retiré and Tigran Mkrtchyan close “Act I” (intermission is a conversation between Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen and Guest Rehearsal Director Karen Averty) with the pas de deux from La Esmerelda. It is especially nice to watch the iconic female variation danced with subtle style, finesse, and cleanliness rather than the exaggerated bravura we have recently seen so much of in the competition circuits.
Boston Ballet: The Art of Classical Ballet Trailer
“Act II” is dedicated solely to Swan Lake: Swan Waltz (the tall swans), Odette’s solo, a Pas de Cinq, and the Black Swan pas de deux. Compared to the first part of the program, this section feels less exciting but definitely ends on a strong note with Lia Cirio and Paulo Arrais in the final pas. As a pairing they are a sure match, and as individuals they each bring their unique vibrant maturity that keeps Beantown and worldwide audiences coming back for more.
Boston Ballet’s The Art of Classical Ballet will be available for viewing through April 4, 2021.
Featured Photo for this Boston Ballet review of Viktorina Kapitonova in La Esmerelda and Chisako Oga in Giselle, photos by Brooke Trisolini; courtesy of Boston Ballet
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