Home & + | Search
Featured Categories: Special Focus | Performance Reviews | Previews | DanceSpots | Arts and Education | Press Releases
Join ExploreDance.com's email list | Mission Statement | Copyright notice | The Store | Calendar | User survey | Advertise
Click here to take the ExploreDance.com user survey.
Your anonymous feedback will help us continue to bring you coverage of more dance.
SPOTLIGHT:
PERFORMANCE REVIEWS
ExploreDance.com is sponsored by
ExploreDance.com Kickstarter Campaign

The ExploreDance.com Kickstarter campaign is live! Please consider backing our campaign to help us expand our coverage of dance.
www.kickstarter.com/projects/1306220552/exploredancecom
ExploreDance.com (Magazine)
Web
Other Search Options
Lewis J Whittington
Music and Dance Reviews
Performance Reviews
Ballet
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
United States
Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA
ExploreDance.com is sponsored by
******* ** **
exploredance.com

Ballets by Duato, Peck and Wheeldon Shine in PA Ballet's Strength and Longing

by Lewis J Whittington
February 10, 2016
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
300 South Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
215-893-1999
Angel Corella continues to show the new directions he is taking Pennsylvania Ballet even if choreographically, he is bringing PA Ballet audiences up to speed on the international ballet scene. His winter contemporary program called Strength and Longing, a measured sampler of choreographic templates that showcased the blooming ensemble's artistry that was ever more present in both dancer attack and technical clarity, especially among the men.

Since he took over in 2014, Corella’s focus has been to have the full roster of dancers fuse their technical skill and interpretive artistry. That was a key element in Nacho Duato's 1998 ballet "Without Words," scored to cello and piano transcriptions of Franz Schubert.

Mayara Pineiro, Harrison Monaco and Ian Hussey danced a silky and mysterious opening trio that floated from one sculpted phrase to the next. Hussey disappeared in a slit curtain panel which had projected close up photos of the dancers on them throughout the piece. Other dancers appeared through this portal as Duato’s series of duets commenced with each couple carving unique movement and exhibiting distinctly different chemistry- in this work - Jermel Johnson and Lillian DiPiazza, Lauren Fadeley and Lorin Mathis, Pineiro and Monaco reappeared along with Hussey and Amy Aldridge, who was luminous in Duato’s balletic fusion style.

That style blended a slate of modernist ballet phrases with slightly different angles or patterns sans decoration. At various points the dancers clustered together with one dropping back in an expressive solo. Duato sustained the dark lyrical qualities of Schubert's music for the work, here played with riveting clarity by cellist Jennie Lorenzo and Martha Koeneman on piano.

Next, uber-hot NYCB dancer-choreographer Justin Peck's "Chutes and Ladders" was a jaunty pas de deux. It was performed to a string quartet by Benjamin Britten performed live by ballet orchestra chamber group led by virtuoso violinist Luigi Mazzocchi, with Erica Miller second violin, Ruth Frazier, viola and Lorenzo, cello. The choreography characterized the drive of Britten’s wending string lines and counterpoints.

In it, Lauren Fadeley and Craig Wasserman sauntered around, having flirty dance fun and expressing feelings for each other. Fadeley is a great partner with anybody in the company, so her technical prowess is always present. Wasserman, who hasn’t had many lead roles, delivered a breakout performance in the duet with solid jumps and lifts, holding his own with the luminous Fadeley.

Charming as Peck's pas de deux was, he could have turned the heat up on the individual variations choreography, but Fadeley and Wasserman made the most of what they got.

Franz Schubert’s music was back this time in Christopher Wheeldon’s "For Four," a quartet danced by PA Ballet principals Hussey, Johnson, new star Arian Monlina Soca and corps de ballet member Amir Yogev. It was a witty display of danseur machismo. Wheeldon choreographed it for the wildly popular "Kings of the Dance" production at New York City Center in 2008, with Corella being one of the kings.

The work was packed with male technical dazzle, but what worked most was the casualness that the quartet executed these balletic feats. Dressed in gaucho pants and tight shirts, each dancer’s prowess was distinct whether in staggered unison lines or mirroring each other's dance challenges. Perfection for all those fully extended jetes and multiple pirouettes were beside the point and this was winningly more like a dance jam.

Jerome Robbins'"NY Export: Opus Jazz" was the closing work. The popular undercooked work hasn’t held up as well as many of his other contemporary ballets with the ballet’s street vignettes by now looking like outtakes from "West Side Story."

PA Ballet did a fine program of Robbins last season which included "On a G String," "Fancy Free" and "The Concert," which was danced much stronger than it has been in PA Ballet’s past revivals. The same can be said for the performance of "NY Export: Opus Jazz." This time the ensemble pulsed and danced character attitude. The lyrical central duet was danced with hypnotic sensuality by Lauren Fadeley and husband Francis Veyette.

Much credit also goes the conductor Beatrice Jona Affron and ballet orchestra for a lusty interpretation of Robert Prince’s jazz sinfonia. The brass and vibes dialogues spiking through the theater and the overall thrust of the orchestral sound seemed to wrap around the dancers and propel them.

Corella's use of live orchestra for the contemporary programs instead of recorded music always brings a more complete dimension to PA Ballet's offerings.
Pennsylvania Ballet Principal Dancer Lauren Fadeley and Corps de Ballet Member Craig Wasserman in Justin Peck’s 'Chutes and Ladders.'

Pennsylvania Ballet Principal Dancer Lauren Fadeley and Corps de Ballet Member Craig Wasserman in Justin Peck’s "Chutes and Ladders."

Photo © & courtesy of Alexander Iziliaev


Pennsylvania Ballet Principal Dancer Arian Molina Soca in Christopher Wheeldon’s 'For Four.'

Pennsylvania Ballet Principal Dancer Arian Molina Soca in Christopher Wheeldon’s "For Four."

Photo © & courtesy of Alexander Iziliaev


Artists of Pennsylvania Ballet in Jerome Robbins’ 'NY Export: Opus Jazz.'

Artists of Pennsylvania Ballet in Jerome Robbins’ "NY Export: Opus Jazz."

Photo © & courtesy of Alexander Iziliaev


Artists of Pennsylvania Ballet in Jerome Robbins’ 'NY Export: Opus Jazz.'

Artists of Pennsylvania Ballet in Jerome Robbins’ "NY Export: Opus Jazz."

Photo © & courtesy of Alexander Iziliaev


Pennsylvania Ballet Soloist Mayara Pineiro and Corps de Ballet Member Harrison Monaco in Nacho Duato’s 'Without Words.'

Pennsylvania Ballet Soloist Mayara Pineiro and Corps de Ballet Member Harrison Monaco in Nacho Duato’s "Without Words."

Photo © & courtesy of Alexander Iziliaev


Pennsylvania Ballet Principal Dancer Lauren Fadeley and Corps de Ballet Member Lorin Mathis in Nacho Duato’s 'Without Words.'

Pennsylvania Ballet Principal Dancer Lauren Fadeley and Corps de Ballet Member Lorin Mathis in Nacho Duato’s "Without Words."

Photo © & courtesy of Alexander Iziliaev


Pennsylvania Ballet Principal Dancer Jermel Johnson in Nacho Duato’s 'Without Words.'

Pennsylvania Ballet Principal Dancer Jermel Johnson in Nacho Duato’s "Without Words."

Photo © & courtesy of Alexander Iziliaev

ExploreDance.com is sponsored by
* **** ****


ExploreDance.com
ExploreDance.com is sponsored by
******* ******
exploredance.com


home || view our calendar || the store || copyright information || join our mailing list || mission statement
Search for articles by
Performance Reviews, Places to Dance, Fashion, Photography, Auditions, Politics, Health