Anne Walsh Journal Contributor
When you think of The Boston Ballet does the image of bun heads, pink tights and tutus come in your head? Well think again. The Boston Ballet’s new fall program is far from it. They opened their 2012-2013 season with a three-piece set within one show. Each setting commenced with a blank stage differentiated by lighting effects that revealed the tone of the dances. Each act was entirely different from each other in costume, style and choreography.
“Rooster,” choreographed by Christopher Bruce, instead of the traditional ballet costumes, had male dancers in dress pants, ties, different colored buttoned up-shirts and the female dancers in black dresses that had a red flared color at the bottom. A recording of eight Rolling Stones songs including “Paint It Black,” “Ruby Tuesday,” and “Sympathy for the Devil” played whiled 11 principle leads danced. The style of dance changed fluently throughout the show encompassing elements of jazz and contemporary instead of strictly showcasing ballet technique. Whitney Jensen performed a dance to “Ruby Tuesday” that demonstrated such fluidity that she almost appeared to be floating across the stage. The lines her body made were stunning and beautiful by her red modern dress that skimmed the ground as she moved. The color scheme of red appeared in every dance including costumes and props. The most memorable dance was a jazzier number set to “Paint it Black” that exhibited sharp and sensual moves done by the three female dancers and amazing leaps done by one male lead. It was an incredibly powerful dance both for the audience and for the performers as well. You felt as though the drumming of the beat would soon influence you to join the dancers on the stage due to such an inviting environment. The music, the style, and the choreography surprised the audience with how well it all worked together. Who knew ballet and the Rolling Stones could be a sensation?
The next sequence began with the rising of the curtain by a small boy in the world premiere of “Awake Only,” choreographed by Jorma Elo. One of the most heart-warming little dancers, Liam Lurker, is a student of the Boston Ballet School, and represented a spiritual force that would awaken the dancers to revisit their past, present and future lives. The live piano and organ arrangements of J.S Bach moved the dancers to enter the stage with a sprint revealing no distinction between the beginning and end of each dance. As the leads danced through their lives, the brilliant choreography embodied sharp lines suggesting conflict. Meanwhile, the softened lines emerged as love, and relief came into play. Lia Cirio, one of the female leads, was absolutely technically stunning as she gracefully made every move her own. In the conflicts of life surrounding her, Cirio was a diamond in the ruff that you were unable to take your eyes off of.
The last piece of the fall program was a mighty force of precision. The mechanical machinery elements and riveting drums of William Forsythe’s “The Second Detail” was a fierce ending to an overall versatile masterpiece of art once again successfully achieved by the Boston Ballet. This was the most abstract contemporary style piece in the set with large group numbers that, when all the dancers came together in unison, you could feel the audience around you hold their breath in awe.
“The lines of the body are pulled to their maximum length from the inside out, and it can be fascinating to explore the intricacies of the movement. Each moment has multiple lines of constantly spiraling energy that makes you feel much longer and larger than you actually are,” said Corps de Ballet dancer Patrick Yocum. “Giving that experience to the audience with your fellow artists and friends is an incredible feeling.”
The audience indeed received that experience and reflected their enthusiasm loud and clear with a standing ovation at the end of the performance. A strong opening to the Boston Ballet’s season has set the bar for the rest of their shows. I have no doubt there is much more greatness to come from the Boston Ballet and its dancers. I look forward to their next performance and recommend you do as well.