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Wendy Goldberg
Performance Reviews
Special Focus
Jacob's Pillow
Ballet Hispanico
United States
Beckett, MA

Ballet Hispanico - Soul of Carmen

by Wendy Goldberg
September 1, 2009
Jacob's Pillow
358 George Carter Road
Beckett, MA 01223
413 243 0745

Featured Dance Company:

Ballet Hispanico
Ballet Hispanico (office)
167 West 89th Street
New York, NY 10024

Savage and sweet, sultry and seductive, the soul of Carmen in all its' complexity, is explored with sensitivity and clarity by Ballet Hispanico. The festive fare of five fanciful dances thrills the audience with flourishes of striking ballet, moody modern, and glitzy ballroom in a pleasing pastiche of styles.

The first piece, 'Goodnight Paradise' has the theatrical flavor of a one act play, which delves into the myriad moods of several characters. Earthly love, and the lack of it, between seven men and women in a lonely, abandoned saloon setting, shows the crushed spirits of the dancers as they flirt and flail and fail to connect on a deep level. It ends with a female dancer pouring wine on herself, abandoned and alone.

The second piece 'Tito on Timbales' is in sharp contrast to the first, being full of joy and panache. The music is swift with a strong beat, and the female dancers fly into it with flaring skirts, swinging hips and shimmying shoulders. The men propel them with forceful verve and staccato certainty. Folk rhythms and gusto dominate.

The third work, 'Destino Incierto' portrays a scarlet clad Carmen with incandescent splendour. Her flaming emotions, so searing, and close to the surface engage and astound. The ballerina Angelica Burgos dazzles with her colossol technique and evocative, sensual layering of the character. With powerful pointe work, tempestuous turns, and passionate play with her sumptuous satin frilled skirts, this Carmen disarms us with her charms. Her conflict between the adoring nobleman and the compelling gypsy lover is nuanced and inescapable.

Next came 'Locked Up Laura' which examines the svengali like quality of the ballet master as he drills his prima ballerina without a hint of compassion. Her exhaustion and resistance is played out as she becomes loose as a ragdoll, and slumps onto the floor. In the end, she switches with him, becomes the puppeteer to his confused character, and finally stalks off triumphantly, leaving him to his own design.

The final work 'Club Havana, is a tribute to the Latin rhythms and styles of Cha cha, Rumba, Mambo and Conga. The women in diamond laced dresses and glittering shoes, escorted by tough eyed men smoking cigars, recall the glamour and mystery of Bogey and Bacall. Ballet and Ballroom are fused with sleek seamlessness. Risque and irresistible, this Ballet Hispanico finale redefines razzle dazzle.
Ballet Hispanico's 'Club Havana' Photo courtesy of Jacob's Pillow.

Ballet Hispanico's "Club Havana"

Photo courtesy of Jacob's Pillow.

Photo © & courtesy of Karli Cadel

Ballet Hispanico's world premiere of 'Locked Up Laura' Photo courtesy of Jacob's Pillow.

Ballet Hispanico's world premiere of "Locked Up Laura"

Photo courtesy of Jacob's Pillow.

Photo © & courtesy of Karli Cadel

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