|| The Daily Express
|| July 5, 2013
|| Neil Norman
Anyone who doesn’tthink that Ballet is sexy is looking in the wrong direction.
The 50-plus members of the venerable Boston Ballet, celebrating its half-centenary this year, are lithe, athletic, and a joy to behold. Trained in the American manner, the dancers are long-backed and supple, moving easily from the fluid, mercurial patterns of Balanchine’s Serenade and Symphony in Three Movements to the dizzying fireworks of Jorma Elo’s Plan to B.
Borrowing the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for their season, the company can rely on a first rate musical platform from which to launch.
If Serenade is a tiny bit disappointing, it is probably because - as one of my favorite ballets – I make a closer study of each production than most. The blue background is the wrong shade and the opening statement as stageful of ballerina’s stand arms upraised, and drop their hands at the wrist in one collective movement, is far too casual. Technically fine there is something deadeningly reverential about the performance that misses the frisson of Balanchine’s mystery. Teeth and smiles are very much in evidence and there is notable sense of sisterhood but a little more fire in the belly of the dance wouldn’t go amiss.
Altan Dugaraa makes a good fist of the impossible as Faun in Nijinsky’s Afternoon of a Faun and the nymphs are well drilled – moving as if across the face of a Greek vase. They capture the two dimensional movement of Nijinsky’s ground breaking choreography perfectly while skirmishing with the elusive third dimension of trans-species sexual attraction that should send shivers up your spine.
Jorma Elo’s Plan to B is, however, electrifying, with six dancers shape shifting at incredible speed through a complex series of moves and high-velocity patterns. Dancing to what appears to be a giant iPad on oneside of the stage, Jeffrey Cirio, John Lam, Whitney Jensen, and the others all put the pedal to the metal. It is a model of precision and they don’t put a foot wrong.
Having warmed up they all come on like gangbusters for the concluding Symphony in Three Movements, Balanchine’s Hollywood/Classical hybrid that combines Busby Berkeley formations with accelerated pas de deux, led by Kathleen Breen Combes. Bristling with confidence, with great legs and razzle-dazzle showmanship, she exemplifies the all-American ballerina.