The first person we see on stage is Lucien Postlewaite dancing a solo from Jerome Robbins’ Dances at a Gathering. He conveys a calm energy that seems such a welcoming appropriate response to the current state of things. Not unexpectedly, he bows upon finishing, causing a pre-recorded audience to erupt in applause. I, too, applaud.
Next, in the first excerpt from Eva Stone’s F O I L, we are witness to a brilliant chandelier hung above three barefoot ballerinas donning shimmering gold skirts and leotards that pretend naked upper bodies. Their movements – and the fact that they face upstage the entire time – are a beautiful study in how significant a dancer’s back, arms, neck, and head are in their communication with the audience. The second excerpt feels to me a bit lackluster in comparison.
“Prayer for the Great Family” from One Body, a solo created over a decade ago for Boal by his colleague and friend Albert Evans, celebrates two premieres – one for the company and one for corps member Christopher D’Ariano. A thoughtful and articulate individual (first noted while I was absorbed in his physical interpretations and later confirmed when watching a bonus interview), D’Ariano moves with an ease that mimics the flowing hypnotic rhythm of John Kennedy’s music.
Our first glimpse of pointe shoes is seen in the the suite of Swan Lake excerpts. Coming from the mouth of a classical ballet dancer, I am reticent to say that this portion of the performance is my least favorite. But it’s true. For one, although not horrible by any stretch of the word, the dancing doesn’t feel up to par in comparison with the rest of the program. Secondly, seeing random solos without context and variations and coda without a pas de deux just feels wrong, somewhat like a poorly constructed gala evening. Also, this is the point in my digital viewing journey that I note just how lonely ballet is without the corps de ballet.
The costumes, music, and George Balanchine’s choreography for Jewels brighten up the mood. Most wonderful is Sarah-Gabrielle Ryan in her debut in Rubies. She evokes the perfect combination of playful, flirty, and sassy while manipulating the jazzy off-kilter music that is Stravinsky. And I’m going to go out on a limb and say that her partner Kyle Davis is either also a real life partner or roommate as it is in their pas de deux that we first see two dancers touch each other. Strange how something so commonplace in the dance world is now viewed as out of the ordinary.