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Collaboration between Cincinnati Ballet and BalletMet Columbus brings out best in both

by Rita Kohn
March 29, 2014
Aronoff Center
650 Walnut Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202
(513) 721-3344
Rita Kohn is an author, playwright, journalist/arts critic based in Indianapolis, IN and a member of the Board of the Dance Critics Association.
The collaborative program between Cincinnati Ballet and BalletMet Columbus opened with Edwaard Liang's "Wunderland" (2009) to music by Philip Glass. In it eye-catching, bright-red clad women in wide spider-leg poses weaved ensnaring moves, strikingly coupling with males in beige leotards, uncoupling and massing into differing configurations. Liang's vocabulary of repetitive movement fixed to a point within time seemed manipulative.

Victoria Morgan then introduced her "Bolero" as an interplay of light and shadows with a stage full of people in poses particular to their station, reminiscent of Delacroix's "Moroccan scenes".

Evolving into measured cadence as in the ephemeral majesty of Velasquez, both light and activity open into a Degas sketchbook of two young dancers at the barre, others joining, before activity bursts into Picasso's essence of circus, Carmen and the thrust, charge and swirl of the bullfight arena. Youthful restraint gives way to pulsing swishes and swirls by the women and flying leaps and spins by the men.

Having, just two weeks before at the more intimate Tarkington Theatre in Carmel, Ind., experienced Ronen Koresh's signature "Bolero" incrementally unwinding from its initial tight coil, Morgan's opening expansive canvas on Cincinnati's Aronoff stage calls upon a different aesthetic for Ravel's minimalism escalating into speed and clamor. Both Morgan and Koresh bring their distinctive personalities to the horse kids staging and setting. Morgan's is balletic, building the large company toward a rousing closing climax. Koresh layers jazz upon ballet, escalating three-quarter way for a glissando toward the end, his small company more like a combo counterintuitive to the rush. Both allude to circus, Morgan's stage setting suggesting aerial acts, a trampoline as moon metaphor slowly rising in counterpoint to the quickened drumbeat pulsing the dancers.

Balanchine choreographed "Symphony in C" richly marrying his musicality to Bizet's emotionally varied four movements for the epitome of line and movement. This work set the standard for modern ballet when it premiered in Paris in 1947. To experience it anyplace, anytime is transforming. For me it is being within a garden of white daisies in which the gardener has interspersed royal blue hibiscus. They come to life within the changing drafts of breeze and movement of clouds. The lushness that can be overpowering is mitigated just at the right moments as Allegro Vivo allows respite with Adagio, picks up again with Allegro Vivace in two formats. Staged by Victoria Simon with Paul Boos as Repetiteur and guest ballet master, this work was presented in accordance with the Balanchine Style. Balanchine originated his choreography to challenge the full extent of each dancer's technique and intellect. This program showed the best collaborative efforts of both, BalletMet Columbus and Cincinnati Ballet's dancers.

More on BalletMet & Cincinnati Ballet's Symphony in C: Click here to read Steve Sucato's review of the same program at Columbus' Ohio Theatre on March 22, 2014
Cincinnati Ballet dancers In Victoria Morgan's 'Bolero'.

Cincinnati Ballet dancers In Victoria Morgan's "Bolero".

Photo © & courtesy of Peter Mueller


Cincinnati Ballet's Sarah Hairston in Balanchine's 'Symphony in C'.

Cincinnati Ballet's Sarah Hairston in Balanchine's "Symphony in C".

Photo © & courtesy of Peter Mueller


Cincinnati Ballet and BalletMet Columbus dancers in Balanchine's 'Symphony in C'.

Cincinnati Ballet and BalletMet Columbus dancers in Balanchine's "Symphony in C".

Photo © & courtesy of Jennifer Zmuda


Cincinnati Ballet and BalletMet Columbus dancers in Balanchine's 'Symphony in C'.

Cincinnati Ballet and BalletMet Columbus dancers in Balanchine's "Symphony in C".

Photo © & courtesy of Jennifer Zmuda


Cincinnati Ballet's Janessa Touchet in Victoria Morgan's 'Bolero'.

Cincinnati Ballet's Janessa Touchet in Victoria Morgan's "Bolero".

Photo © & courtesy of Peter Mueller

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