Please accept my sincerest apologies for being gone for so long! Life of a college junior at Emerson gets pretty hectic with a full course load, internship, job and activities. I’m working on getting back on WordPress, and slowly but surely, I’ll get back to my stellar blogging days. In the mean time, I’ve just got to rave about one of the funnest things I’ve done in a while–go to the ballet! One of the biggest perks about living in Boston is certainly the fact that there is a thriving ballet company.
Three is Boston Ballet‘s magic number this season. The company kicked off the spring season on February 9th with the opening night of Simply Sublime, a program that highlighted a trio of exemplary works of truly sublime choreography. To promote the event, Boston Ballet offered four twitter followers the chance to win #TweetSeat tickets to the opening night performance. I was one of those lucky winners and am so thankful to have had the chance to see such a spectacular and cohesive performance!
The night began with Michel Fokine’s Les Sylphides, a romantic French ballet set to the whimsical music of Chopin. Lights dimmed in the ornate Boston Opera House as Boston Ballet’s orchestra lulled the audience into a hazy atmosphere of poetic reverie. Sylphides doesn’t tell much of a story; instead, it follows a dazed young man’s interactions with darling sylphs. Nelson Madrigal played the part of the young man on opening night with perfect levity, executing his solo work with a balance of strength and playfulness. The manliness of the male dancers is something I’ve always admired about the Boston Ballet’s company. But the star of the act was Lorna Feijóo, who played one of the main sylphs and received applause during the number for her masterful footwork. I had the silliest grin on my face as I watched her navigate intricate adagio with exacting precision. Sylphides is certainly a yarn of a ballet, but I’m a sucker for long, romantic tutus and light-hearted pas de deux work and the Simply Sublime program really delivered.
After a brief intermission, the show continued with Polyphonia, a more contemporary work choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon and set to the piano stylings of György Ligeti. The program slowly transitioned away from lofty romanticism and towards the modern playful sensibility of the ballet. The piece features four couples and Wheeldon’s choreography relies a lot on work in canon. The dreamy atmosphere of Sylphides was still vaguely present, but Polyphonia’s nod to Balanchine is evident. Of course, my review of the night would not be complete without some crazed raving about Lia Cirio and Sabi Varga—in the words of my friend Andrea, who accompanied me to my night at the ballet, these two were the Beyoncé and Jay-Z of the night—what a power couple! You may recognize Cirio’s long gams from promotional photos of the show where Varga supports Cirio as she hits her split while in a handstand—let me tell you, it’s even more impressive in person. Cirio and Varga danced the two heavier pas de deux numbers and there was a tangible seriousness in the air as they exited the stage, Cirio attaching herself to Vargas back and comically beating her feet in the air. It took a bit of effort to restrain myself from being that obnoxious audience member that stands and applauds like a raving lunatic.
The romanticism dissipated entirely as the curtain opened again for the final act of Simply Sublime—Symphony in Three Movements. Set to the music of Stravinsky, this Balanchine ballet relies heavily on a large, energetic ensemble that exemplifies modern American ballet at its finest. Kathleen Breen Combes, Tiffany Hedman and Misa Kurunaga were the lovely ladies in pink and captured the complexity of Balanchine’s choreography with exceptional vigor. The corps got applause for the charming staging of the ripple work in a diagonal line. (I managed to briefly recognize corps member Sarah Wroth, for whom I have a special fondness for because she’s from the little Maryland town I went to high school in!) By the end of the night, the audience was invigorated with the liveliness of this last piece.
Though I was skeptical at the repertoire on paper, Simply Sublime really tells a story of the growth of ballet and offers something for every kind of ballet-goer. I’m looking forward to Boston Ballet’s Play With Fire—yet another program of a trio of interesting ballets (one of which is Bella Figura from last season!).
Play With Fire opens March 1st through 11th, so if you’re in the Boston area, pick up tickets for what’s sure to be a spectacular show here!