Friday, October 25, 2013

Review: Sacramento Ballet opens 2013-14 season with a gem

Alexandra Cunningham and Christopher Nachtrab perform a pax de deux in 'Rubies'
Alexandra Cunningham and Christopher Nachtrab perform a pax de deux in 'Rubies'
Sacramento Ballet
Rubies, the centerpiece of George Balanchine's famed three-part ballet Jewels was performed last night, Oct. 24, for the opening of the Sacramento Ballet's 2013-14 season. The opening night program, in addition to Rubies, included The Firebird and The Rite of Spring, all three works celebrating the genius of Igor Stravinsky and his music.
The opening of the roughly 20 minute long piece was stunning as the curtain rose to reveal vivid ruby red costumed dancers set against a deep aqua tinted backdrop. Each "jewel" standing motionless, then moving in synchronicity.
Ava Chatterson performed a near flawless solo, her lengthy frame resiling with such beauty as she danced about the stage with amazing high kicks, surrounded by a host of other “rubies”, flirting and chasing, often prancing about.
This set the stage for the playful pas de deux with Sacramento Ballet veterans Alexandra Cunningham and Christopher Nachtrab who took command of the stage and delivered that jazziness that is paramount to both the music and the movement of Balanchine's work. Both dancers demonstrated their versatility, separately. yielding and delivering individuality – together, dancing as if extensions of each other.
Nachtrab did not, as is his style, refrain from having fun, jockeying around Cunningham as she dispensed hip jutting and gyrating action that was not so long ago taboo.
Chatterson reappeared for the finale lighting up the stage with the other jewels, the corps de ballet. As the tempo picked up a bit, the dancers were feeling the greatness of the changes that Balanchine had brought to the art and the way he had intended this remarkable work.
As always, the Sacramento Ballet did not disappoint its audience, and in spite of the still depressed economy which greatly impacts the arts, artistic directorsRon Cunningham and Carine Binda, began this season with the same promise and same energy that they came to Northern California with 26 years ago – to bring the best of ballet to the Sacramento community
Rubies was a four-star performance!
Do not miss this season opener. There are three more performances at the Community Center Theater, Oct. 25, 26 – 7:30pm; and Oct. 27 – 2:00pm. Purchase tickets here.

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