Compañía Nacional de Danza Review: Apollo, Concerto DSCH, White Darkness November 19, 2020 | Teatro Real – Madrid, Spain
It’s hard not to fall in love with Madrid with its luminescent six o’clock sky and bocadillos de calamares. And now la Compañía Nacional de Danza has just given us another one.
Last night was the first time the company has performed in Teatro Real since Joaquín de Luz became artistic director and coinciding with the 170th anniversary of the opera house’s inaugural performance makes it all the more special.
Opening with George Balanchine‘s timeless collaboration with Stravinsky, Apollo, is a perfect way to establish the tone for the evening.
More specifically, with the curtain rising to Alessandro Riga in iconically-posed representation of the title character, we know that we’re in for a treat. If ever there was a figure to lead his muses, Riga is it; when he calls on Calliope, Polyhymnia, and Terpsichore – danced by Ana Calderón, Haruhi Otani, and Giadi Rossi, respectively – we can feel the electricity of his power.
Although all strong in their individuality, this quartet is particularly poignant in the final movement. There is an intimacy to their connection that along with their impeccable unison demonstrate the beauty that is Balanchine’s choreography.
At a press conference earlier this week, de Luz portended that Alexei Ratmansky‘s Concerto DSCH would “keep you on the edge of your seat”. He was not wrong. The entire cast is full of an energy that just radiates throughout the house with Shostakóvich’s music from allegro to andante and back to allegro defining their movements.
The highlight is Luz’s contagious smile. He returns to the stage with New York City Ballet‘s Gonzalo García to dance the trio that was created for them in 2008, this time with Otani as the charming girl at the center of their attention. The three are so engaged in their playful conversation that you wonder how they are able to pull off the ridiculously challenging (often times synchronous) and virtuosic choreography they’ve been given.
De Luz’s capacity has not waned with age; in fact, I have begun to believe that he has been sipping from the fountain of youth. García beams in one his country’s most gorgeous theatres – hopefully this is foreshadowing a return when he retires from City Ballet in early 2022?! And Otani has given Madrid the gift of young, diverse talent.
There is so much to be said about White Darkness. Nacho Duato created this masterpiece in 2004 while director of Compañía Nacional de Danza and it feels so significant to view his staging for this generation of the company’s dancers.
A non-judgmental reflection of the effects drug use can have on one’s relationships, this cinematographic presentation with Jenkins’ pulsing soundtrack features Kyoko Everhart and Isaac Montllor as the protagonists. Everhart is at once elegant and emotive, her long lines expressing an intensity that extends beyond her fingertips. Montllor is so gloriously human, realism amidst an otherwise metaphorical scene.
The other four couples clad in dark tops and shorts are absolutely stunning. A corps de ballet this accomplished is evidence of the strength of the entire company.
The show ends with me still at the edge of my seat. I applaud as loud as possible in an effort to somehow make up for the limitations placed on the theatre’s capacity. Just when my hands start to feel numb, Everhart walks to downstage right to bring Duato onto the stage. Although no one can hear me, I audibly gasp; we are witness to a historical moment where a decade old friction is finally eased.
Cherilyn's lifelong passion for ballet has opened the door to the next chapter of her journey. Her strong foundation includes training at the School of American Ballet, being a featured dancer with Hartford Ballet and Carolina Ballet, and being co-director/owner of City Ballet Raleigh. She was granted the Affiliate Teacher Award after successfully completing the ABT National Training Curriculum®. A professional career in the industry along with extensive global travel provide her with a unique set of experiences to draw upon as a journalist and audience member. Cherilyn is excited to be sharing her insight about ballet around the world.