April 18, 2012
Young and enthusiastic the Barcelona Ballet under the direction of the ballet darling, Angel Corella swept into City Center. An enjoyable program opened with a large-scale romantic ballet by Clark Tippet who danced with ABT, Christopher Wheeldon's flashy, all-male quartet and a colorful but messy nod to Spain's cultural roots and future traditions by Rojas & Rodriguez.
A cast of twenty-three dancers spread out in Tippet's neo-classical ballet “Bruch Violin Concerto No.1.” Unexpected, needlepoint footwork relies on a strong classical line dipped in teaser lifts that require men to place their palms in the center of a woman's back, pressing he body up overhead. Many technical details were left unfinished, but most of the dance was crisply navigated -- particularly by Ana Calderon and Aaron Robinson, the spry couple in Red as well as Yuka Iseda in Aqua, and the magnetic Alejandro Virelles in Pink.
Originally created for “The Kings of Dance” (a play on the Four Tenors concept), “For 4” by Christopher Wheeldon unleashed the showy talents of Barcelona Ballet's young men: Kirill Radev, Alejandro Virelles, Aaron Robison and Dayron Vera. Scissor leaps flip into blurry quick foot to ankle turns, and bountiful male bravura antics to a score by Franz Schubert. More princes than kings, the young men represent the company’s exciting potential.
Artistic Director Angel Corella commissioned a piece from two Spanish choreographers, Rojas & Rodriguez, to music by Hector Gonzalez. The stew of musical influences combines Spanish folk, social, street and concert dance influences. And although the program notes assert the piece, suggested by Corella, follows Palpito, the main character (Corella) who frees himself from the past in order to embrace new horizons. Well, that particular trajectory wasn’t so clear in the choreography, but the dancers’ versatility was apparent. Women slap ruffled skirts back and forth while men in toreador outfits paw the earth, stand taut and swivel their hips to claim attention.
In the central role, Corella projects an undeniable charisma unleashing fine air turns, sharp leaps and a clean technique. Various dance forms bubble up under shabby sheik, Victoria’s Secretish costumes by Vicente Soler. Despite the choreography’s choppiness, the company embraces the Spanish flavor with fervor.
Enthusiastically welcomed by the audience, Ballet Barcelona exudes an on-stage ease and commitment to building ballet in Spain.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis