featured photo
The Kitchen
Brought to you by
Body Wrappers;
New York Flash Review Sponsor
the New York manufacturer of fine dance apparel for women and girls. Click here to see a sample of our products and a list of web sites for purchasing.
With Body Wrappers it's always
performance at its best.

Go back to Flash Reviews
Go Home

Flash Review, 10-17: Dry Dance
Ballet Nacional de Cuba Tours its Force

By Susan Yung
Copyright 2003 Susan Yung

NEW YORK -- Ballet Nacional de Cuba, founded and directed by Alicia Alonso, showed its depth and strengths in a somewhat arid repertory program at City Center last night. The show had made the headlines for the wrong reasons earlier in the week; scenes from Act II of Petipa/Ivanov's "Swan Lake" replaced the company's planned presentation of "Les Sylphides" due to American Ballet Theatre's contract with the estate of choreographer Michel Fokine. However, "Swan Lake" demonstrated what "Les Sylphides" surely would have -- a deep corps, attention to detail, and a bevy of strong soloists. Laura Hormigon (Odette) danced well, but it wasn't until her final exiting moments that her true talent was revealed: arms as fluid as a snake sidewinding across the sand. Oscar Torrado made a handsome partner, despite some balkiness in assisting Hormigon in turns.

The highlight of the evening was Viengsay Valdes's rendition of Odile in "The Black Swan." She emerged all fire and brimstone, shooting darts from her eyes and from pointed toes. Partnered by Joel Carreno, Valdes stabbed her pointe shoe into the floor on arabesque balances and remained there for what seemed like eons. Her perfect balance translated into consistent four revolution pirouettes; amazingly, she began her fouette sequence with a five or six revolution turn. And yet she shaded her physical prowess with delicate articulation in developpes, and a knack for acting. Carreno displayed a relaxed charm, with easy splits in the air and solid turns.

"Canto Vital," choreographed in 1973 by Azari Plisetski for four men, felt like a work of political propaganda boosterism. Led by Octavio Martin, the lycra-bikinied men struck poses and puffed out their chests in a supposed duel of natural forces. While they carved beautiful lines, the piece was, regrettably, anachronistic. The evening ended with "Blood Wedding," choreographed by Antonio Gades, an atmospheric soft shoe piece composed of concise scenes, depicting a fatal love story. Barbara Garcia portrayed the bride full of noble poise in Flamenco sequences. Javier Torres (the groom) and Victor Gili (Leonardo) moved skillfully in the super slo-mo knife fight. Spare movement matched the pared-down music, augmented by the dancers' clapping and finger snapping.

Go back to Flash Reviews
Go Home