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Miami City Ballet - "Square Dance," "Rubies," and "Symphony in C"

by Lori Ortiz
January 22, 2009
New York City Center
130 West 56th Street
(Audience Entrance is on West 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues)
(Entrance for Studios and Offices is on West 56th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues)
New York, NY 10019
212.247.0430
Miami City Ballet
2200 Liberty Avenue
Miami Beach, FL
33139
305-929-7000
miamicityballet.org
Ballerina Jeanette Delgado pirouettes crisply. Her joyful stops and bounces are blunted, yet never perfunctory. She's the corporeal counterpart of the accompanying baroque violin in Antonio Vivaldi and Arcangelo Corelli's music. Even if Miami City Ballet lacked live accompanyment and performed to a very good recording, a casualty of the current economic crisis, they didn't let that diminish their extraordinary artistry. "Square Dance" is first on this all-Balanchine program January 22, 2009. A men's septet displays esprit de corps. Jeremy Cox does a thoughtfully drawn out solo to a slow "Concerto Grosso," allowing us a few moments to absorb his poetry. Their final do-se-dos reveal "Square Dance" as a conflation of courtly baroque and Western fun.

Renato Penteado's high leaps and his command of the stage in "Rubies," recalls MCB Artistic Director Edward Villella's (filmed) dancing days. Villella, in fact, created this role in 1967. The company renews the spirit of this jubilant tribute to New York. The ballerina, Queens Native Jennifer Kronenberg, has the attitude. Her toe taps the back of her head in an arched arabesque. She shimmies to a rustling in Igor Stravinsky's "Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra" and then icy-hot, she affixes changing poses in our memory before she takes her leave. Penteado brings actual humor to this evening's gem. A group exits, stage right, galloping into the wings headfirst; yet they never lose their connection with us. "Rubies," MCB style, has great theatricality. The set evokes the glitter of a chic midtown club with spokes of red lights arching upward and three hanging disco balls, sharp and elegant, via designer Tony Walton. The overhead ruby in other productions pales in comparison.

Kronenberg does "Rubies" fascinating chaînés turns with the second position arms bent at the elbows in a zigzag. The televised Paris Opera Ballet production really exploits the radiance of that with a longer series of turns, but Kronenberg is engagingly loose and fun, exemplifying the company in her dance's all-out energy and feeling, rather than showing off its technical perfection.

They close with the beautiful "Symphony in C," staged by Patricia Neary. Their version is quietly exuberant, as opposed to crystalline. The formations are meltingly sweet. A row of ladies in back with their hands in first are perfectly aligned, while those on the sides extend theirs at identical forty-five degrees, just outside their classical tutus. "Symphony" introduces the riveting Mary Carmen Catoya, with standout Penteado. Haiyan Wu typifies the individuality of the MCB dancers. Her arms flow and her style is oddly Romantic.

Villella wanted to bring his exceptional company of fifty-four to City Center, and kudos to them for the engagement. Imagine Penteado crashing into the wings like Villella did, as seen in the video "The Man Who Dances." How does the company look on a larger stage, perhaps one of the theaters they circulate among in their home state? Among the dancers drawn to MCB, many are from nearby South America, Cuba, and Mexico, where dance is so important. One can feel the warmth and witness the excellence. Kudos to Villella, for creating a company in his image. Their New York debut was pure pleasure.
Jennifer Kronenberg and MCB dancers in 'Rubies'

Jennifer Kronenberg and MCB dancers in "Rubies"

Photo © & courtesy of Joe Gato


MCB in 'Symphony in C'

MCB in "Symphony in C"

Photo © & courtesy of Joe Gato

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