Last night Cincinnati Ballet’s “Rite of Spring” proved that ballet can be relevant in today’s world.

pictured above: Cincinnati Ballet resident choreographer Adam Hougland

To me, the dancers were nothing short of fabulous in three diverse offerings. The audience at last night’s opening seemed to agree. And, it’s big news in New York City that the Paul Taylor Dance Company cannot afford live music. But Cincinnati Ballet has been extraordinarily lucky in their ability to use the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra under longtime music director Carmon DeLeone.

Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” was magnificently presented, with full dynamic range and attack from 70 musicians in the expanded pit. Strong choreography from Adam Hougland starred Courtney Connor, whose emotion and movement quality commanded the stage in her role as Chosen One.

pictured above: Courtney Connnor

The bill opener, Val Caniparoli’s “Vivace,” set to an equally well-performed Schubert Symphony, was all stamina, lightness and wit, in a displayof  petite allegro and various configurations  designed to warm any balletomane’s heart. It reminded me of one of those exquisite Swiss watches that display their intricate workings through a transparent face. Standouts were Gema Diaz, Zack Grubbs, Dawn Kelly, Liang Fu, Danielle Bausinger and Patric Palkens. But wait, the corps in this one (too many to name) left me breathless in admiration!

In Stacey Tookey’s world premiere “Oneself Perceived” we were shuttled into a modern world where couples embarked into relationships that seemed fated to end badly. Yet, in a silhouette pas de deux episode behind a scrim, it seemed that Maizyalet Velazquez as a misused woman was able (through the magic of perspective) to shrink her tormenter (Zack Grubbs) and emerge triumphant.

Hm, it’s early  in the am here, and I must go ahead and post. I hope I didn’t miss anything important, but point is, there is a matinee today and an evening show left for this production. If you haven’t figured it out already, I highly recomment you attend.

posted 3/17/12 at 5:42 am


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