Saturday, October 9, 2004

Ballet opens exuberantly

Audience enjoys variety from classical to modern, serious to humorous

By Kathy Valin
Enquirer contributor

Cincinnati Ballet's season opener was a whirlwind trip through dance history for an energized crowd of 1,167 in the form of four separate works.

Choreography spanned 135 years of dance history. Styles ranged from classic to comic.

In addition to three full movements of the historical reconstruction of Leonide Massine's 1938 Seventh Symphony to Beethoven under the exuberant baton of Carmon DeLeone, the company presented two works premiered in 2004, Trey McIntyre's funny, sexy Chasing Squirrel, to Mexican-flavored music from the Kronos Quartet and Devon Carney's U Too? - a Russian-style bravura turn for five men.

In their company debut, Cubans Adiarys Almeida as Kitri and Cervilio Miguel Amador as Basilio brought the crowd to its feet with a dazzling version of the showpiece pas de deux from Don Quixote.

In a red tutu, a red flower behind her ear, Almeida gave a flirtatious performance. Several motionless balances drew cheers, and her fouettes were studded with extra whirls. Amador was a quick favorite in a red toreador jacket with the manner to match. A gallant partner, who tempestuously threw his partner above his head in a split, twirled and leaped into stunning drops to the floor and giant barrel turns.

A giant dose of momentum, paired with sexy couplings, propelled "Chasing Squirrel." Kristi Capps, Dawn Kelly, Tricia Sundbeck, Cheryl Sullivan and Janessa Touchet, with giant teased hair and short skirts, were leggy Latin ladies on pointe who left their eager macho suitors, Zack Grubbs, Anthony Paul Krutzkamp, Shannon Smith, Dmitri Trubchanov and Benjamin Wardell trembling in their wake. A dance hall scene let the men in red zoot suits and white fedoras bound off each other to impress the girls, who showed plenty of attitude.

Fredric Franklin's coaching, along with that of Ballet Mistress Johanna Bernstein Wilt, coaxed the dancers in Seventh Symphony's "The Creation" to fill the stage in the authentically recreated roles of sky, stream, plants, fish, deer, birds, serpent, sun, and rocks with Gemma Diaz and Rene Micheo playing cameos as Adam and Eve-like characters.

Cincinnati Ballet's "Seventh Symphony" will repeat today at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

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