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Luminario Ballet’s Winterreise Leaves You Wanting More

by Joanne Zimbler
March 28, 2017
The Beverly Hills Women's Club
1700 Chevy Chase Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 276-5803
www.bhwclub.org
In 1820, Wilhelm Muller published 24 poems which Franz Schubert in 1823 set to music and published a few years later as Winterreise (Winter’s Journey). Now, nearly 200 years later, Judith FLEX Helle and her Los Angeles-based dance company Luminario Ballet have turned Schubert's composition into a balletic dramatization of the disastrous love story contained within the music and Muller's poems.

On Sunday February 26 at The Beverly Hills Women’s Club performed the heartbreaking story which still resonates today. It seems that even in our swipe happy, app filled, modern love lives, we still haven't figured out how to escape the pain of lost love. And until there's an app for that, art can help in at least transforming this painful aspect of the human condition into a thing of beauty. In some instances it can even make us long for the feeling of heartbreak. This is what Luminario Ballet proffered in Winterreise via dancers Sadie Black and A.J. Abrams exquisite pas de deux depicting a story of thwarted love and a young man's descent into despair.

As the story goes, the young man arrived in a new village and found accommodations in a family's home where he fell in love with the daughter.

Costumed in a feathery white jacket and skirt over a simple leotard, Black as the daughter gave into the mutual attraction she felt for the young man (Abrams) and peeled off the jacket and skirt. The dancers frolicked about, often crossing the proscenium to the floor where the audience sat. Series of pique turns and grand jetes punctuated their flirtation. But as quickly as the pair's feelings blossomed, the daughter departed in order to marry someone else, leaving Abrams' character heartbroken and alone.

Abrams subsequent tormented and lonely solo illustrated the young man's dejection and departure from the village where he was thrust into the harshest of winters. Cold and alone, only his memories sustained him.

Black ultimately returned to the stage for more flirting and fun but we soon realize this is only his memory of her.

Black and Abrams' gorgeous and gravity-defying performance in Winterreise created the illusion that they dwelled somewhere in the ether. The pair delighted the audience made up of members of The Beverly Hills Women’s Club. Causing one to remark to her companion, “I wish it had been longer.”

Judith FLEX Helle does not squander her company’s remarkable talent. This is a company blessed with some of L.A.’s finest dancers who have in their artistic director/choreographer someone who knows how to best utilize her dancers' abilities and offers them a myriad of ways to showcase their incredible skills.

Although we Angelenos are spoiled by all of the cultural and artistic performances we have access to, we should never squander the opportunity to attend a Luminario performance.

The company next performs Helle and Jamal Story's The Last Supper, April 14-16, 2017 at Faisdodo, 5253 West Adams Bl, LA CA 90016. Tickets are $25 General, $40 VIP Booth. More information at luminarioballet.com.

Photo © & courtesy of Paul Antico

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