(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…