(2012 Boston Ballet)
Music: Frédéric Chopin
Choreographer: Michel Fokine
Staging: Florence Clerc
This ballet, also known as Chopiniana, is one of the oldest romantic ballets: a corps de ballet all dressed in long white tutus. It was a really lovely opening to the evening. I honestly don’t remember the last time I’d seen this ballet in its entirety. The music is so well known to me that I’m sure I’ve imagined seeing it much more than I actually have. The corps started a little rough, but they were okay by the end. Lia Cirio danced the variation I got to perform in high school. It’s an almost hymnal piece, and Cirio brought a warmth that was truly lovely to watch.
Music: György Ligeti
Choreographer: Christopher Wheeldon
I think this was my favorite piece of the night. I’m continuously impressed with Lia Cirio’s and Joseph Gatti’s artistry. They both have really amazing technique, and are 100% committed to their performance 100% of the time. The ballet is a single piano piece accompanying four couples. The choreography makes excellent use of the music’s architecture creating small fugues of movement amongst the couples. I was entirely lost watching the piece, and had a huge grin on my face when it ended. Truly beautiful.
Symphony in Three Movements
Music: Igor Stravinsky
Choreography: George Balanchine ©The George Balanchine Trust
This was a hot mess. This ballet hinges on the the entire corps de ballet moving as a unit, which they never did. It was a mass of people dancing at the same time but definitely not together. To give them some credit, this ballet is not at all easy. The beats are uneven, the movements are modern, and getting all of that to work is incredibly difficult. However, after seeing a somewhat sloppy version of this ballet last year, I was disappointed to see that it had not gotten any better.
The corps de ballet seems to be Boston Ballet’s weakness this year. They have their soloists in order; truly wonderful dancers with superb technique and artistry. However, their corps de ballet can’t seem to move as a unit. That earlier critique of the corps moving at the same time but not together is the same mistake they made at the beginning of Les Sylphides. It made for a flat ending to an otherwise lovely evening.
Even so, I’m very appreciative that Boston Ballet is attempting to perform Balanchine’s works. Ballet is similar to an oral tradition, and with Boston Ballet’s efforts I am able to see just how innovative Balanchine was. I can personally understand how his later works were just as relevant to the time as the his contemporaries’ experiments.
Also, I finally appreciate Stravinksy. I grew up inspired to dance by Tchaikovsky’s music, so Stravinksy was always a difficult for me to love. I always felt a little guilty for not loving Stravinksy because my ballet teacher knew him and liked him. But now I see that her appreciation came from performing to his music. Stravinksy is meant to be experienced beyond listening. In watching ballets put to his music, I can see the art in his complicated compositions.