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Flash Review 3, 4-28:
Awoken by 'Beauty'
BalletMet ends big with Sleeping Beauty
By Lenita Williamson
Copyright 2000 Lenita Williamson
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- We
can only speculate about what Petipa would have said after viewing
BalletMet's restaging of his "Sleeping Beauty," which opened last
night at the Ohio Theatre. I'm guessing that just as I was, he would
have been pleasantly surprised. Maybe the realist in me was in need
of the romanticism depicted in this tale of good versus evil? For
in "Sleeping Beauty," love conquers all. Yes, even the sting, or
should I say, prick of death. Yesterday wasn't the best of days
for me, nor the worst, but somehow my anticipation for the night's
performance just wasn't up. It must have been the wear and tear
of the day's duties. Fortunately, the warm, sunny Columbus, Ohio
day served as a perfect precursor to a night that would culminate
in a fairy tale of love and romance.
Aside from aiding me
in overcoming the fatigue of the day, I was pleasantly surprised
because this is the most believable I have seen BalletMet. I was
immediately convinced in three areas: the music, performed by the
Columbus Symphony Orchestra; and the set and costumes, designed
by Peter Farmer and Lynn Holbrook. They managed to take me away
from the cares of the world, if only for a few fleeting hours. I
don't necessarily want to detach when viewing a performance. I just
think it was what I needed last night. Later, during the first wedding
pas de deux, Hiromi Ushino (Princess Aurora) and Dimitri Suslov
(Prince Florimund) made a believer out of me concerning the execution
of the choreography. It was simply luscious. Ushino's first movement
of the wedding pas de deux was a simple, yet slow and indulgent
raising of her right leg to passe while ncorporating a delicate
arm gesture. It was so simple, but the character and eye contact
she put into the movement kept me interested in what would come
next. And what followed was perfectly executed. Previous acts had
me wondering, but by the finale, the connection between the two
love birds had been established, both in the story-line and in the
dancing. I was impressed with these two lead dancers, who met the
challenge of the extremely athletic roles.
The choreographic integrity
of this restaging is to be commended. Gerard Charles had the difficult
task of adapting the movement to suite the dancers with whom he
was working and the audience to which they were presenting. An integral
part of "Sleeping Beauty" is the use of children. Who in this case
were themselves just as believable as the adults. Charles kept the
movement pedestrian enough for the children to embody their characters.
Of course, it's fun to see cute little kids on stage, but after
a while it's not cute anymore. This was never a problem for BalletMet.
The children were seamlessly integrated into the night's performance.
Their entrance with the evil Carabosse, characterized by magical
dust that created bright flashes of light, was one of the evening's
"Sleeping Beauty," a
classic feel-good tale of good versus evil and love conquering all,
is a perfect way to conclude BalletMet's 1999-2000 season. The technical
challenges of the choreography provided an opportunity for BalletMet's
dancers to display different styles and ranges of ability. The virtuosity
of the choreography was maintained with remarkable integrity and
the performance was delightfully refreshing to my fatigued body.
"Sleeping Beauty" continues
through Sunday. For more information, please visit http://www.balletmet.org/indexTICKETS.html.
(Editor's note: Lenita
D. Williamson is a graduate student in the dance department at Ohio
State University. She is also a regular contributor to the the Columbus
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