At first glance, to the unknowing eye of the beholder, the works on the program may appear discordant, a cornucopia of movement thrown together without much thought. It is through Mr. Black’s non-fictional storytelling (see how integral he is to the experience?!) that the thread which holds them together is revealed.
Opening is an excerpt from Val Caniparoli’s Prawn-Watching, during which five men’s strong-swinging arms are the metronome to Michael Nyman’s pulsing music. This was the first piece Angelini brought to his company, a move ultimately resulting in Caniparoli being appointed as Tulsa Ballet’s first resident choreographer.
Going for Baroque – whose ladies dance is vibrant in color, emotion, and choreography – would mark the American’s debut work in this position and a huge stepping stone for the company. The ballet has just enough quirk to make the viewer exclaim, “How clever!” rather than ponder, “How strange…” and bringing it on tour to Portugal would put Tulsa Ballet’s inaugural stamp on the international map.
Nested between the two Caniparoli pieces is one that introduced Oklahoma audiences to the contemporary masterpieces of Spain’s Nacho Duato. In 1999, and even to this day, Duato’s expanse into the American landscape is limited, and Tulsa Ballet boasts having one of the largest collections in their repertoire on this side of the Atlantic. Jaime Cullen is especially beautiful in Na Floresta (as she is later on in the Derek Deane showing), as fluid and expressive in the grounded floor work as when raised over six feet above.