(photo of Murder at the Masque, by Julieta Cervantes from NYTimes)

On Friday night I saw Dances Patrelle, who is celebrating its 20th anniversary, to see their Murder at the Masque: The Casebook of Edgar Allan Poe, a world premiere, and Come Rain / Come Shine, a revival from 1986, both choreographed by artistic director Francis Patrelle. Funny, it’s the first time I’ve ever seen anyone besides Dance Times Square perform at the Danny Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College, so, I was a slight bit confused throughout the evening because of that. I couldn’t figure out what Marcelo was doing on the stage instead of Pasha and what people were doing in pointe shoes instead of Latin stilettos… I guess it’s fitting I brought with me my ballroom friend, Mika.

And I’m so glad I did. She had a blast. Said it was some of the best ballet she’d ever seen. AS I KNEW IT WOULD BE!!! Said Marcelo was very Slavik (as in Kryklyvyy, as in man drama queen total show-off show-stealer, as in I’m totally predictable in my taste in male dancers whether it be ballet, ballroom, or whatever style. Oh well…)

Anyway, Murder, on first, was a dramatic ballet murder mystery that was interestingly told. The figure of Poe seemed to be writing the story as we were seeing it, from afront a scrim, and it seemed to me he was changing things throughout. I’m still not sure who committed the murder in the end (but that may well be because I was so excited about the second piece of the night). It had an air of Balanchine’s La Sonnambula about it — unsettling, foreshadowing tragedy, and set at a ball and in the same period — and Patrick Soluri’s music set that tone perfectly. Matthew Dibble, guest starring with the company (he’s danced with Twyla Tharp’s company), danced the lead very well, expectedly.

(photo of Marcelo and Maria in Come Rain / Come Shine by Jade Young)

Second on was Come Rain / Come Shine, Patrelle’s longish but lovely set of dances for three couples set to a group of Judy Garland songs. Sorry I’ve posted that picture above about 10,000 times on this blog; it’s the only one I have of that dance 🙂 All six dancers in that ballet were guesting from ABT: Roman Zhurbin (ballet god) and Gemma Bond danced the first, youngish, romantic couple; Isaac Stappas and Kristi Boone (who BLEW ME AWAY) danced the second, more mature, argumentative couple; and Marcelo Gomes and Maria Riccetto danced the third couple, consisting of cocky, taunting, teasing, out-of-control man and the poor woman whom he’s got his eyes on. Of course Marcelo had to have the cocky part, and his role, which was very “That’s Life” from Tharp’s Sinatra Songs, consisted of him flying all about and around her, doing every trick in the book — ginormous jetes, Balanchinian continuous twisty jumps, turns and turns and jumps jumps jumps galore — which of course I love 🙂 Oh, and Maria’s tiny, so he did a bunch of the one-handed assisted pirouettes he often does with Julie Kent that drove the audience here WILD. The guy behind me was seriously orgasmic. Mika and I were giggling throughout, and finally, on the last assisted pirouette, I just burst out laughing.

What would the world be like with no Marcelos? Ballet would just not be fun. To say the least.

Roman was Roman — not doing a thing wrong, everything perfect, perfect form, perfect precision, perfect acting, just sheer perfection.

Gemma was likewise perfect and Isaac was strong and Maria sweet.

(headshot of Kristi Boone from ABT website)

But it was Kristi who really blew me away. Where did she come from?! I guess I’ve never really seen her up close before … well, I did notice her before — in Tudor’s Jardin des Lilacs, which ABT put on in their Tudor centennial celebration last season — she danced the role of the lover of the man betrothed to another and she danced with such longing for him and anger at the situation and beautiful composure in the face of despair. But time got away from me and I never had time to write about that performance… Well, she had a similar character here: a woman fighting with her man, seemingly not able to fully trust him, not wanting to give herself completely to him for that reason, but unable to stop loving him nonetheless. She and Isaac (who happen to be real-life husband and wife) are really the emotional centerpiece of this ballet and she acted it with such intense emotion. She made me feel everything her character was feeling, really took me to that place. And she made such amazing shapes with her body! Isaac kept throwing her into these overhead and waist-high fish positions and she’d raise her arms up and curve them over, turning her head to face the floor. At times it looked like she was letting him lift her but was also rejecting him, couldn’t bear to look at him. At other times, she kind of looked like a dove, and in a way she was trying to make peace, so the image made sense. So she didn’t just make original, remarkable shapes; she made shapes that had meaning, and were also original and cool.

And also, her feet and legs — such strength! Her feet were almost like Veronika Part’s her points were so pronounced!  If I was a ballerina I’d want people to notice that — strong feet and legs. I wouldn’t want to look like I was floating through the air like a feather, I’d want to look more strong and toned and powerful, like my legs were carrying me through the world. Anyway, I am a new Kristi Boone fan, needless to say.

It was an intoxicatingly rich evening and I felt like I always feel when I leave the Kaye Playhouse after seeing divine dancing: deliriously high, and then kind of sad…


  1. Kristie is one of ABT's not-so-appreciated treasures. Can't wait for her Prodigal Son debut.

  2. SwanLakeSambaGirl

    She's cast in Prodigal Son? Excellent! (I am going to have to look at their season brochure more closely) I can't wait to see her in that either!

  3. So funny – our opinions of the material are the exact opposite – but our opinions of the dancers are exactly the same. I thought all the dancers (including Patrelles) were really good but Marcelo and Kristi were outstanding. Marcelo as usual but this was one of the first times that I really appreciated Kristi. I've always liked her, but now I see how expressive her dancing can be and how creamy her epaulment is, even when projecting strength rather than softness.

    But the choreography? I thought it was barely tolerable, even with all those great ABT dancers to watch. Can't wait for the NYCB & ABT seasons to start. Not to mention those 2 galas at City Center. They're only 2 days away but it seems like forever. I'm jones-ing for my ballet fix!

  4. I've never heard of this company. Does the company always have such well known guest stars? Sounds interesting, whatever it is.

  5. SwanLakeSambaGirl

    That's a good question. I hadn't heard of the company before either. When I went hear Francis Patrelle talk at Barnes & Noble last Monday he'd mentioned that Marcelo had guest performed with him several times before, which I hadn't even known about! I think he does attract these great guest stars for some reason. I'll definitely post if I find out anything more!

  6. SwanLakeSambaGirl

    That's funny that this is one of the first times you've really appreciated Kristi too since we're both big ABT fans! I guess that's one reason why dancers want to do these guest performances — because it's a small theater and they can really be seen up close. I'm always going to be watching for her now at ABT.

    I can't wait either! I'm not sure I'm going to the galas 🙁 Please let me know how they are, Susan!

  7. Does ABT travel to other cities? If not, I'll have to wait until I visit New York to see them.

  8. SwanLakeSambaGirl

    Yes, they do travel, Shim! But unfortunately not widely, like Alvin Ailey. They usually go to L.A. and Detroit and Chicago, but they don't go everywhere. They have an 8-week-long season coming up in NY from mid-May to mid-July!

  9. Patrelle's been able to use some great guest artists for a while now. The two years I did Nut. with him Jennifer Ringer from NYCB did Sugar Plum and I believe she has been doing it for him for many years. And I guess Cynthia Gregory also worked with him while still dancing with ABT…

  10. SwanLakeSambaGirl

    Thanks Taylor! Yeah, Cynthia Gregory still does work for him. I think she staged Come Rain / Come Shine. Very interesting!

  11. Yes this company always has great guest stars but especialy this year because it was the 20th aniversary this show was outstanding!!!!!!!!!
    both the murder at the masque and come rain come shine

  12. Yes this company always has great guest stars but especialy this year because it was the 20th aniversary this show was outstanding!!!!!!!!!
    both the murder at the masque and come rain come shine

  13. I loved every minute of this production last year of “Murder at the Masque”
    and the star studded from ABT “Come Rain, Come Shine.” The music was
    divinely original and hauntingly powerful, and lovely at the same time. The
    children were so professional (even the nasty reviewer stated that fact),
    and it was good theatre too. High drama and beauitfully executed interpretation
    of Edgar Allan Poe and tribute to Judy Garland. Encore please!!!

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