There were numerous dancer replacements Saturday evening, including for Kate Honea who was injured, but all did admirable jobs. Serenade, with choreography by George Balanchine, one of the world's greatest choreographers, and music by Tchaikovsky was so very beautiful. The lyric movements complemented the flowing light blue gowns. It was all very ethereal. Sixteen dancers twisted and turned around the stage. When Ricardo Graziano danced with Sara Sardelli, it was much more formal looking and then when Octavio Martin came on stage with his more flowing locks of hair, some of the females' buns came down for a much more wild look. By the time the entire 40 minute dance was done, I was literally almost in tears from the beauty of it all. It was truly enchanting.
Bello was an entirely different ballet altogether. First of all there was live music from five musicians, which I love, and it even had a vocalist, countertenor Gerrod Pagenkopf, which added immeasurably to the entire experience. Contemporary dance choreographer, the fabulous Dominic Walsh, created this abstract ballet that "sensuously blended eighteenth century music with twenty-first century dance." The music was by Handel and Mr. Pagenkopf sang several arias on the stage while seated at a desk, supposedly writing a letter. The dancers were in various stages of undress until the last couple looked almost nude, while wearing flesh colored tiny bottoms and she a sports bra looking type top. The other women wore white slips in shorter and shorter lengths, while the other men wore pants, and then short boxer-type shorts with white crew socks, now that was an interesting look! There was much fog drifting around the stage and the lighting was very dramatic and different. I absolutely loved every component.
Then came the Twyla Tharp dance, Nine Sinatra Songs. Surprisingly, although I liked it, it was my least favorite. I was trying to analyze why as I was watching it. This is what I came up with - The Frank Sinatra recording was very loud and I think his whole "presence" a bit overwhelmed the senses when there was only one couple on the stage. Seven different couples performed to different Sinatra classics and then during My Way, they all took the stage and that's when I thought the performances really came alive. My favorite part of the individual pairs was Something Stupid with Logan Learned and Sara Sardelli. Logan is such a lively little imp and he was just perfect for this dance. I also enjoyed Ricki Bertoni and Danielle Brown in That's Life. Their dance had a charm about it all its own.
Every time I attend a Sarasota Ballet performance, I leave with a greater understanding and love of dance and a greater appreciation of the magic that is the talented Director, Iain Webb. Bravo!
Iain Webb, Sarasota Ballet Director
(photo from the Ballet's website)