From classically fanciful to electrifying to distinctive, unconventional artistry, the Boston Ballet’s DREAMstate is an astute exploration of the delicate nature of dreams and a fascinating escape from reality. Aside from Boston Ballet’s traditional Nutcracker in December, Mikko Nissinen’sDREAMstate is the first live and in person return to Boston Ballet’s regular season since the pandemic. Excitement was in the air and the Boston Opera House was full.
Boston Ballet’s DREAMstate continues through Sunday, March 27 at live and in person at the Citizen’s Bank Opera House in Boston, MA. The show is approximately two hours with two intermissions and the final piece contains partial nudity. Click here for more information and tickets.
Though all three Boston Ballet pieces had its highlights, the stellar world premiere of Boston Ballet’s tribute to the Rolling Stones, DEVIL’S/eye was the most uniquely compelling. Weaving in live concert elements and classic hits such as Can’t You Hear Me Knocking, Paint it Black and much more, dancers take the stage in shadow bathed in purple, red, yellow, pink, and blue glimmering from an incredible, multi-functional sound system lit by Brandon Stirling Baker. With exhilarating choreography and edgy and exotic costume design both by Stephen Galloway, lively dancers in silk, sequins, fishnets and windswept hair complete the full glamour of a rock and roll concert showing off thrilling, contemporary freestyle moves. The entire performance is an electrifying spectacle as dancers let loose to the Stones concert footage with epic alicicone spins, but a brief pause in the guitar-tinged, horn-infused rhythms showing off each dancer’s glowing silhouette cannot be properly conveyed here and those sensational moments are best witnessed in person.
George Balanchine’s Chaconne brings to life a regal and fanciful daydream to the heavenly sounds of the Christoph Willibald von Gluck opera, Orfeo ed Euridice. Elegantly adorned in a flowing and ethereal skirt and crown by Barbara Karinska in front of tranquil green blue backdrop, the always fresh-faced and charming Viktorina Kapitonova performed a beautiful and romantic pas de deux with Lasha Khozashvili, dressed in white. Khozashvili lifts and leads Kapitonova delicately as they sporadically intertwine. The piece is primarily playful as dancers bow and sway in gleaming, royal costumes as they float along this lighthearted daydream, the flutter of slippers sweeping across the stage.
The final piece is probably one of the most unconventional performances the Sleepless Critic has ever witnessed with the Boston Ballet because after a brief intermission, the piece begins before the music starts and dancers are already in motion as the rehearsal blurs into the performance.
Jiri Kylian’sBella Figura, a fan favorite, often departs from reality and the structure of how a performance would normally flow. In many ways, it bucks tradition as the dancers float and slide between closing curtains as Seo Hye Han, topless, wraps herself in only a black stage curtain. Bella Figura has some captivating choreographed indignation and intensity as Ji Young Chae struggles not to be held or controlled by Paul Craig, shaking Craig away. Bella Figura seems an abstract piece with haunting and mysterious elements as female dancers are manipulated in sharp, robotic movements. It seems Bella Figura represents the vision of a perfect female specimen as women bend under the intensity and pressure to be perfect. In gathering rich red skirts, men and women, all topless and all looking the same, glide along the stage. It is a memorable, distinctive performance as the piece continues even as the music concludes.
Boston Ballet’s DREAMstate continues through Sunday, March 27 at live and in person at the Citizen’s Bank Boston Opera House. Click here for more information and tickets.
If there wasn’t enough time to see The Nutcracker over the holidays or even if you have and would like to see more, the Boston Ballet is offering a spin on The NutcrackerDuke Ellington-style choreographed by Boston Ballet dancers right from your home.
With special commentary by jazz-enthusiast Eric Jackson nicknamed the ‘Dean of Boston Jazz Radio’ and host of GBH’s Eric in the Evening who rewinds the clock to take a peek at the inspiration behind Ellington’s timeless, progressive Nutcracker Suite, Boston Ballet along with Boston Ballet II and Boston Ballet School post graduates choreograph a lively program from 2020 that highlights and spins some of the Nutcracker’s best moments with their own vibe.
The Gift is a dynamic program where each dancer seems they are being moved by the music more than moving to the music. As much as I am a fan of Boston Ballet’s classic works, there is something even more thrilling when it is infused with upbeat and contemporary flavor.
From sleek and sophisticated flair to casual and carefree fun, Boston Ballet presents this virtual holiday treat The Gift through January 9 which includes behind the scenes footage and runs approximately 50 minutes. Click here for more information and access to the show.
The exuberance and sparkling elegance of Viktorina Kapitonova and Tigran Mktrchyan accompanied by pianist Alex Foaksman bring to life the Snow Queen and King’s triumphant Pas de Deux. All in sepia and crème, they move with a dreamlike sway culminating in a joyful and fanciful reunion. Some other highlights within the striking variety of dances from Duke Ellington’s upbeat and catchy Nutcracker suite include Overture with choreography by Chyrstyn Fentroy as the number explores the mystery behind The Gift as a package hangs overhead and the dancers gradually get swept away by the song. Toot Tootie Toot or Dance of the Reed Pipes with choreography by Gabriel Lorena is a brief sashaying escapade as dancers in flowing skirts strut and prance to Ellington’s light and airy rhythms enhanced by an intricate and memorable collective pose. Peanut Brittle Brigade with chorography by Haley Schwan infuses swing and other dance styles to the beat of Ellington’s bluesy composition.
Arabesque cookie or Arabian Dance with chorography by Haley Schwan, John Lam, Chyrstyn Fentroy, Paul Craig, and My’Kal Stromile, has a bustling rhythm and a retro feel as the number opens with a soloist’s fancy footwork. It has urgency, poise, and athleticism as each soloist slides in shadow to a transforming color backdrop. The Voga Vouty or Russian dance with choreography by John Lam showcases savvy and sophistication steeped in black and white as they perform a striking sequence in a spotlight. Chinoserie or Chinese Dance with choreography by Arianna Hughlett is full of mischievous and lighthearted fun as dancers creep and freestyle to the rhythm of Ellington’s chiming beat parting and uniting in shadow.
The finale culminates in a beloved Boston Ballet location worth waiting for.
The Boston Ballet’s virtual holiday treat The Gift continues through January 9 which includes behind the scenes footage. Click here for more information and access to the show.
Embarking on a journey from beloved local landmarks to overseas to inside the Boston Ballet studios, Boston Ballet’sreSTART amps up the excitement of their highly-anticipated return live onstage in time for the holidays.
With a versatile lineup that includes recently filmed jazz-infused contemporary dance, classic tales, traditional dance, and a season preview as well as a full range of costumes including street wear by Yin Yue and Jens Jacob Worsaae and Judanna Lynn’s spectacular royal fashion, Boston Ballet’s virtual reSTART, available through November 7, delivers an elegant and dynamic show for dance lovers everywhere. Click here for more information and for Boston Ballet’s full season.
Over the past year and a half, the renowned Boston Ballet has become much more than a force onstage. It has been inspiring to see this sophisticated and athletic company in various settings, using creative and unconventional methods to evoke their passion for their extraordinary work. Lighthearted, romantic, and refreshing, Boston Ballet’s season premiere reSTART demonstrates a brilliant new season to come.
Boston Ballet delves into a classic tale with fantasy flair featuring Soo-bin Lee and SeokJoo Kim, a stunning duo as they perform a deeply romantic Pas de Deux in an excerpt from Romeo and Juliet. Angelically adorned in a halo of ribbons and flowing gown by Song Bohwa and Hanna Kim, Lee is a vision in an idealistic dark forest. Despite a hint of foreboding, Prokofiev’s score is uplifting and glorious as Lee and Kim enchant each other building into bursts of joy, seeming to move as one into an embrace.
From classic tale to classic dance, another highlight of reSTART features Bach’s soothing, piano-driven rhythms as Addie Tapp and Lasha Khozahvili perform a tender and delicate dance as Khozahvili quite literally sweeps Tapp off her feet.
Muses take on full form as Paul Arrais beguiles inspiration as bold and fresh faced Apollo in a pivotal classic work which first brought choreographer Balanchine and composer Stravinsky together. What is particularly captivating about Balanchine’s choreography is the mechanical synchronization between muses Lia Cirio as majestic Terpsichore, Viktorina Kapitonova as mysterious and foreboding Calliope, and Chryrstyn Fentroy as jubilant and charismatic Polyhymnia. Their dance is meticulously precise as they rhythmically pivot in unison, at one point forming a beautiful silhouette until each have a chance to portray their own distinct chemistry with Arrais’s mesmerizing Apollo. They join together, hinging onto each other and one might wonder who is in control.
The Boston Ballet kicks off their new season with virtual reSTART continuing through Sunday, November 7. Click here for more information and a closer look at Boston Ballet’s new season.
Since last August’s inventive Carmen, Boston Ballet has not brought new work to BB@Your Home until now.
Celebrating Jorma Elo not only introduces highly-anticipated new dance back in studio including a Jorma Elo World premiere, but launches a luminous montage of Elo’s innovative and exciting work over a fifteen-year history as Boston Ballet’s Resident Choreographer. Introduced by Artistic Director Mikko Nissenen and Jorma Elo, Boston Ballet took to the studio to record Jorma Elo’s Plan to B, excerpts from Bach Cello Suites, and the world premiere of Story of Memory before presenting a vibrant montage of Jorma Elo’s brilliant past work.
The Boston Ballet’s BB@Your Home’s Celebrating Jorma Elo continues streaming through Sunday, March 7. Click here for more information.
In masks and filmed under one studio light designed by Jon Gonda, Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber’s fiddle-laden score lays the groundwork for this joyful and intense dance in Elo’s Plan to B filmed in February 2021. Concise, surefooted, and sharp moves dominate this urgent and sweeping performance that feature Lia Cirio, Ji Young Chae, John Lam, Patric Palkens, Tyson Clark and an impressive solo by Tigran Mkrtchyan.
It is an upbeat, contemporary performance with pulsing movement as dancers slice the air and form seemingly impossible forms and shapes. In purple coordinated leotard, Cirio and Palkens perform a duet with building intensity as Palkens carries and spins Cirio romantically before she hastens forward.
A more intimate performance blooms with excerpts from Bach Cello Suites also taking place in studio February 2021 featuring music from Johann Sebastian Bach performed by cellist Ron Lowry. Lia Cirio and Paolo Arrais dance romantically in shadow as an opaque backdrop softly burgeons into light. This beautiful dance is further enhanced by the nature in which the two perform. Arrais spins and handles her delicately in each movement before they embrace.
Dialogue is rarely introduced into dance and it was fascinating to witness the world premiere of Elo’s Story of Memory and the sheer beauty of this piece’s compelling cinematography filmed in February 2021. Dressed in alternately black and white, Viktorina Kapitanova and Tigran Mkrtchyan depict two people who struggle to understand one another. It has moments of discovery, passion, fury, and mystery wrapped in Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Johann Sebastian Bach, and Nancy Euverink’s captivating scores. Kapitanova and Mkrtchayan depict two struggling, determined people in an increasingly intense dance longing for understanding before coming to a stunning realization.
Surely it was quite a challenge to choose the highlights of Jorma Elo’s 15-year tenure of rich and revolutionary dance into one luminous montage. It was about as monumental as it was writing about it having experienced only excerpts of some pieces in its one and a half hour timeframe.
Too many standout moments to count in this wide spectrum of work including various approaches to the same work at different times in the ballet’s history. Each impressive interpretation brings a new dynamic to the performance.
An excerpt of Elo’s 2004 Plan to B kicks off this collection of works at the Wang Theatre featuring Sarah Lamb, Larissa Ponomarenko, Joel Pronty, Jared Redick, Raul Salamanca, and Sabi Varga drawing comparisons from its most recent interpretation. Though both are impressive, but the newest version seems a bit more intense with sharper, more concise choreography.
Featuring solo pianist Bruce Livingston, excerpts from Jorma Elo’s C to C (Close to Chuck) Reborn filmed in February 2014 takes the audience into a dark, mysterious, and transcendent world. C to C showcases the dancers’ athleticism and the human form as they move about in shadow to pulsing rhythms featuring Kathleen Breen Combes, Lia Cirio, Jeffery Cirio, Whitney Jenson, John Lam and Sabi Varga.
Many of Jorma Elo’s chorography and works have a unique spirit, liveliness, and a seemingly freestyle nature. In this Avant Garde piece, Kathleen Breen Combes, Lia Cirio, and Whitney Jenson’s swing like pendulums. Certain moves seem to play with time as the dancers move swiftly in fast forward, rewind, repetition, slow motion, and then wild intonations to the music’s runaway urgency. Similar unconventional moves are performed in Elo Experience.
Elo Experience filmed in March 2011 opens with an audible laugh and dialogue. It also has elements of avant garde work as a large group of dancers gather all in black. Elo’s innovative choreography showcases freestyle, unconventional moves in an upbeat, lively setting featuring a compelling solo by Jeffrey Cirio.
Excerpts from Elo’s Brake the Eye from March 2012 is part of Elo Experience. It is a playful and vibrant piece as dancers swing in angular movements while others remain still. Dressed in purple and crème and performing to the divine works of Mozart, it is a bustling and upbeat performance featuring Larissa Ponomarenko, Jeffrey Cirio, Robert Krenz, John Lam, Sabi Varga, James Whiteside, Lia Cirio, Kathleen Breen Combes, Whitney Jensen, and Dalay Parrondo.
Humming is integrated into excerpts of Elo’s Sharp(er) Side of Dark filmed in February 2012, showcasing different dancers performing in what seems like heaven. Accompanied by a string trio composed of violinist Michael Rosenbloom, Jean Haig on viola, and cellist Ronald Lowry, Lia Cirio and Sabi Varga, lights hover above them as they playfully glide and frolic in bodysuits to lively, urgent, and joyful music by Bach before seeing excerpts of the same dance performed by duos Kathleen Breen Combes and James Whiteside, Corina Gill and Paulo Arrai, and Whitney Jenson and Jeffrey Cirio.
The Boston Ballet revisits excerpts of a past performance of Bach Cello Suites from March 2018 featuring cellist Sergey Antonov and dancers Maria Baranova, Junxiong Zhao, Lia Cirio, Paolo Arrais, Kathleen Breen Combes, Derek Dunn, Misa Kuranga, John Lam, Addie Tapp, and Lasha Khaozashvili. Dressed in black leotard, this lively performance shows a wide range of moods including pain, love, and passion. A particular highlight showed the dancers briefly interacting with the onstage cellist, leaning in as the cellist plays.
The final two performances are on a larger scale exploring the sheer dynamic nature of Elo’s work from the traditional to the contemporary culminating into a jubilant finale. The sheer athleticism in excerpts of Elo’s Creatures of Egmont as dancers form angular, symmetrical shapes under a twilight sky and then Fifth Symphony of Jean Sibelius filmed in November 2017 a joyous and uplifting grand scale finale that reflects Jorma Elo’s continuing luminous, inventive, and astonishing work with the Boston Ballet.
BB@Your Home continues with The Art of the Classical Ballet from March 25 through April 4 which includes excerpts from Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty. Click here for more information and a look at Boston Ballet’s full season.
The Boston Ballet launched their first virtual production of the year with an optimistic look at 2021 featuring a selection of rarely performed past performances, an exclusive look back at the Boston Ballet on tour, and where they go from here with a sneak peek into a new project scheduled for April 2021.
Opening the program is Derek Dunn, who has a history of wonderful performances including The Nutcracker, Helen Pickett’s Petaland Genius at Play. After an insightful introduction from Boston Ballet’s Artistic Director Mikko Nissenen and Executive Director Max Hodges, He took on a monumental solo dance demonstrating humor, tension, and a wide range of emotions as Auguste in Leonid Yakobson’s rarely performed Vestris. In a powered wig and meticulously-detailed Founders garment by Robert Perdziola, Dunn is madcap and witty to a rousing applause, taking on a dance that Mikhail Baryshnikov immortalized. A particular highlight was a moment of subtle humor as Dunn leans forward and hesitates like a novice dancer, just learning his steps.
Leonid Yakobson’s Pas de Quatre takes on a lighthearted and fanciful tone as Ji Young Chae, Ekaterine Chubinidze, Maria Baranova, and Nina Matiashvili unite as one in a circular dance adorned in flower crowns and flowing, pristine and romantic tutus. This is another rarely performed piece that demonstrates a sisterhood between this quartet. To a poignant score featuring selections from Norma and picturesque staging by Vera Solovyeva and Nikolay Levitsky, the dancers each showcase their own unique talents and much of it is lively, elegant, and charming.
Love takes many shapes in Leonid Yakobson’s Rodin in three parts. It explores each stage of love from first glimpse to passion and it is captivating to see each part come to life. Sun Woo Lee and Abigail Merlis have playful chemistry as they lean into each other and Abigail smiles as he attempts a kiss. To Debussy’s classic score, Clair de Lune, Maria Alvarez and Alec Roberts depict the sweet joy and rapture of love as they move in unison in shyness and jubilance. Another highlight was Emily Entingh as she leans back into Michael Ryan and he lifts her up in admiration.
Look Back Focus Forward also reveals exclusive touring footage and Boston Ballet Artistic Director Mikko Nissenen and principal dancer Lia Cirio share in depth the Boston Ballet’s most exciting and extraordinary experiences on tour and the significance in touring once again. One of their favorite experiences was premiering Jiri Kylian’s controversial Bella Figura at Lincoln Center in New York City for the Boston Ballet’s 50th anniversary. Bella Figura is best witnessed to fully take in its daring, haunting, and mysterious subtlety.
The Boston Ballet also offers a sneak peek into an entirely new and innovative virtual production helmed by renowned international choreographer Ken Ossola that will soon premiere in April 15-25 2021.
BB@yourhome’s Look Back Focus Forward continues streaming through Sunday, January 31. Click here for more information and tickets. The Boston Ballet celebrates the work of Jorma Elo in February. Click here to see the BB@yourhome’s entire virtual schedule.
Having been thrilled with Boston Ballet’s Full on Forsythe at around this time last year (see the review here), it was with great excitement to witness Boston Ballet’s rEVOLTION, a dynamic performance featuring three innovative works that transformed ballet forever.
From catchy R&B to electronica to soul, Full on Forsythe was a showstopper, dispelling any preconceived notions about ballet. Truly ‘dance on the edge,’ Boston Ballet’s rEVOLUTION explores three works in ballet’s history where visionary and brilliant choreographers paved the way toward a new and unforgettable form of ballet, breaking a few rules along the way. Each versatile piece in rEVOLUTION builds in intensity while progressively becoming more contemporary and well deserving of the audience’s thunderous applause at its conclusion.
Boston Ballet continues rEVOLUTION through Sunday, March 8 at Citizens Bank Opera House in Boston, Massachusetts. The show runs two hours including two intermissions. Click here for more information and tickets.
With music by revered Russian composer Igor Stravinsky, choreography by George Balanchine, and colorful staging by Paul Boos, Agon seems traditional featuring a live orchestra conducted by Mischa Santora. However, right down to the simple costuming including streamlined white shirt and black tights and accompanied by Agon’s triumphant, horn-infused rhythm, it becomes a piece unlike anything traditional ballet has seen before. More artistically-focused than plot driven, agile dancers shift into impressive and sometimes jaw dropping shapes while spinning joyfully. Each piece features athletic and daring moves, but the Pas de Deux between Lia Cirio and Paula Arrais is a particular highlight as they curve and move together en point and as one. It ends like it begins and stands as its own work of art.
Ballet takes a bit more of an eclectic, modern tone in Glass Pieces with choreography by Jerome Robbins and music by Philip Glass. From Jennifer Tipton’s dramatic lighting to the expressive and colorfully rich costumes by Ben Benson, Glass Pieces is still the gem it was when it premiered during Boston Ballet’s Genius in Play in 2018. Taking place in what looks like a subway station, Glass Pieces has a palpable rhythm and urgency as dancers are unleashed into a celebration of dance in the city. In ordinary life, there is joy.
Lia Cirio and John Lam perform a tender and stirring duet while dancers move in shadow during Glass’s romantic song, Facades. However, it is easy to see Robbins’s influence during Glass’s catchy, drum-infused Funeral as male and female dancers urgently form two groups before encircling each other and coming together. Robbins also choreographed the musical classic, West Side Story. From a plain landscape into a spectrum of color, Glass Pieces transforms into a splendid piece of artistry as dancers perform in a variety of styles in silhouette, reflective, and in unison.
As silver headphones dangle from the ceiling aloft a black backdrop as starting with a jolt, it’s clear that In the Middle Somewhat Elevated would take ballet to another level. Featuring music by Dutch composer Thom Willems in collaboration with Lesley Stuck, thrilling lighting by Jennifer Tipton, and choreographed by William Forsythe, In the Middle Somewhat Elevated is a cutting edge masterwork clearly ahead of its time. The industrial, tribal feel of Thom Willems music as dancers shift in shadows create a haunting intensity. Featuring vigorous, jaw dropping footwork bending in what seems like impossible angles, this fast paced performance keeps you riveted from start to finish. Lia Cirio, Patrick Yocum, Chyrstyn Fentroy, Maria Alvarez, Ashley Ellis, Lawrence Rines, Irlan Silva, Mallory Mehaffey, and Abigail Merlis seem part of a seamless machine as dancers spin and swing, hitting every last eccentric beat.
Boston Ballet’s The Warm Up Photo by Jeanne Denizard
The Boston Ballet continues to offer an opportunity to learn more about ballet through The Warm Up, an interactive display located in the lobby.
The Boston Ballet continues rEVOLUTION at the Boston Opera House, 539 Washington Street in Boston, Massachusetts through Sunday, March 8. Click here for more information and tickets. For future events and more, follow Boston Ballet on Facebook and Twitter.
With enchanting special effects and performances that would endear any holiday pessimist, Mikko Nissinen’sThe Nutcracker once again returns with an entire world seeped in the fondest of daydreams for adults and children alike. With the enhancement of internationally-renowned Finnish lighting designer Mikki Kunttu and Tchaikovsky’s classic score conducted by Misha Santora, The Nutcracker is as picturesque as ever, emphasizing its mark as an annual holiday institution.
The 150 dancers making up ‘The Nutcracker’s’ spectacular cast. Photo credit to Liza Voll/Boston Ballet
The castle on a cloud is only the prelude to an enchanting journey as Mikko Nissinen’s TheNutcracker returns to the Citizens Bank Opera House with new surprises. An elegant party, a valiant battle, and a variety of spectacular toys springing to life is just part of Clara’s exquisite journey when she is gifted an intriguing Nutcracker for Christmas.
The Boston Ballet takes the stage for Mikko Nissinen’s The Nutcracker continuing through Sunday, December 29. The Boston Ballet features discount youth pricing. Click here for more information and for tickets.
Stage view Photo courtesy of Jeanne Denizard
Robert Perdziola’s meticulously-detailed set and costume design not only create an inviting atmosphere whether inside a fire lit, multi-dimensional living room with a towering, emerald-lit Christmas tree or surrounding an outdoor fire pit where locals can keep warm, but also creates a pristine wintry wonderland where you can almost feel the chill. The ornate period costumes are gorgeous as women are adorned in velvet, silk, and ribbons and the men are dressed to the nines. Sweet, sophisticated, yet playful Clara, portrayed impressively by Emma Blake, is lovely in her pale blue coat, bonnet hat, and fur hand warmers.
Party scene. Photo credit to Liza Voll/Boston Ballet
Christmas Eve is a magical time, especially for children. Paulo Arrais unveils some of that magic as charismatic and confident showman, Drosselmeier. Mustachioed Arrais is a grand presence as he delivers visions sprung from the imagination, showing children anything is possible.
Harlequin Doll and Ballerina Doll. Photo credit to Rosalie O’Connor/Boston Ballet
Among the most memorable moments is a Soo-bin Lee’s convincing portrayal as a Ballerina Doll, her rigid movements out of the box a fascinating sight. Tyson Clark’s Harlequin Doll and Sun Woo Lee’s life size, exotic bear are exuberant, playful, and among the most highly- anticipated scenes in this production.
The appearance of the Nutcracker Prince, depicted by a chivalrous and gallant Derek Dunn, is extraordinary surrounded by bright, multicolored, shimmering ornaments in a magnificent tree. His appearance highlights one of the most spectacular and exciting special effects of the production that will not be revealed here. His encounter with Alec Roberts’s bold and at times humorous Mouse King is thrilling and partially what makes The Nutcracker a children’s classic.
Alec Roberts as the Mouse King and a valiant battle Photo credit to Liza Voll/Boston Ballet
Seo Hye Han and Tigran Mkrtchyan are visions as The Snow Queen and King on a sparkling silver sleigh as surrounding dancers joyfully flock and frolic in a glorious scene. Seo Hye Han and Tigran Mikrtchyan have a sweet chemistry as they join together in a captivating dance.
An enchanted winter wonderland. Photo credit to Liza Voll/Boston Ballet
Among the most humorous scenes is an adorable appearance by Bo Peep accompanied by a mischievous black sheep and Graham Johns as towering and surprising Mother Ginger.
Clara, portrayed by Mia Steedle, Nutcracker Prince portrayed by Tigran Mkrtchyan, and reindeer by students of Boston Ballet School Photo credit to Liza Voll/Boston Ballet
Whether seeing Mikko Nissinen’s The Nutcracker for the first time or returning to enjoy it all over again, The Boston Ballet is as elegant and magical as you remember with enough refreshing additions to endure as a splendid holiday treat for the entire family.
The Boston Ballet takes the stage for Mikko Nissinen’s The Nutcracker continuing through Sunday, December 29 at the Citizen Bank Opera House, 539 Washington Street in Boston, Massachusetts. These performances feature group rates and discount youth pricing. Click here for tickets and for more information on Boston Ballet’s 2020 season.
During Sir Frederick Ashton’s Cinderella, The Prince, portrayed masterfully by Patrick Yocum, gentlemanly gestures for Cinderella to go first as they make their entrance and she in turn motions for him to go first. It is a subtle gesture, but holds great significance. It is just one moment in many that this Cinderella exudes pure selflessness, more so than other adaptations. We can all learn from Cinderella. She’ll make a lasting impression and is a shining example of what every child should strive to become.
Sir Frederick Ashton’s Cinderella, performed by the Boston Ballet, continues through Saturday, June 8 at the Citizens Bank Boston Opera House. Click here for more information and for tickets. Click here for a closer look at the production.
The Boston Ballet’s Cinderella is an ethereal, lighthearted tale, told with a richness that far exceeds a glittering gown and glass slippers. David Walker’s multi-layered, translucent scenic design and elaborate costumes create moving portraits from deep into an enchanted forest to a sophisticated royal ball.
It is a classic fairy tale about a young girl living with her father and two ugly Stepsisters. When a mysterious woman shows up on their doorstep, it may change Cinderella’s life forever. This adaptation has the earmarks of the popular fairy tale including the pumpkin, the royal ball, fairy godmother, and the handsome prince.
Misa Kuranaga and Jeffrey Cirio in Sir Frederick Ashton’s Cinderella; photo by Gene Schiavone, courtesy of Boston Ballet
Sir Frederick Ashton’s Cinderella also contains a few slight alternations from other popular adaptations and it is all the better for it starting with Vikorina Kapitonova’s marvelous portrayal as Cinderella. Even in a soot-covered, flowing costume, Kapitonova’s glowing face shines through as she jaunts around the house, with only a broom as her companion. She soaks in her surroundings, her exuberance shown through the simplest of things. She puts joy in every step, rarely showing any despair in her strength, warmth, and innocent smile. Cinderella may be neglected, but she’s also happy and imaginative, despite her circumstances.
Absent is the anguish and vindictiveness Cinderella endured from the glaring presence of a Stepmother in other retellings, but instead a harried father tending to the constant needs of two trying Stepsisters. What makes this Cinderella so remarkable is she is not bullied by her Stepsisters, but that much more selfless, doing everything for the ease of others, always putting others first with a smile. She tends to her Stepsisters needs out of love, a self-absorbed pair of braying bookends, portrayed with awkward, conceited flair by Roddy Doble and John Lam. In full bonnets and mismatched, heavily adorned attire, the Stepsisters comically parade in their gaudy and audacious glory, unaware of how foolish they seem.
Sir Frederick Ashton’s Cinderella’s choreography is an elegant display. The Fairy Godmother makes a grand, magical entrance and is soon accompanied by the colorful Fairies of the Four Seasons. They each have their moment to shine, their beautiful solos reflecting their distinct personalities on lush green and then under silvery trees.
In white and blue, Patrick Yocum, who was also impressive in Boston Ballet’s Full on Forsythe, makes a wonderful Prince, leading Kapitonova to a delicate pas de deux. Their sweet chemistry is apparent as Cinderella makes her own grand entrance. Another captivating dance occurs at the ball as the clock strikes midnight, the dancers intricately posing in that pivotal moment knowing the best is soon to come.
One of the interactive stations at Boston Ballet’s ‘The Warm Up’ Photo by Jeanne Denizard
Mikko Nissinen’s Boston Ballet continues to offer a number of interactive stations including Fairy tale Fun and a photo-friendly display to learn more about the show and ballet through The Warm Up located in the lower lobby.
Sir Frederick Ashton’s Cinderella, performed by the Boston Ballet, continues through Saturday, June 8 at the Citizen’s Bank Boston Opera House, 539 Washington Street in Boston, Massachusetts. Save 50% for youth under 17 after purchasing one full price ticket. Click here for more information, tickets, and for future events and more, follow Boston Ballet on Facebook and Twitter.
Honoring the centennial birthdays of legendary choreographer Jerome Robbins and composer Leonard Bernstein, The Boston Ballet opened its 55th season on a joyous, lighthearted note on Thursday, September 6 with Genius at Play continuing through Sunday, September 16 at the Boston Opera House. Genius at Play certainly lives up to its name, a production with glimpses of Robbins and Bernstein’s signature dance moves, music, and lively banter sure to leave the audience in carefree spirits. Click here for more information and for tickets.
Accomplished conductor Beatrice Jona Affron opened the show, leading the orchestra with Leonard Bernstein’s sparkling and triumphant masterpiece Overture to Candide, first performed in 1957. Much of Genius at Play celebrates the very nature of dance and its playful competitiveness and Overture to Candide quite fittingly sets the tone.
Boston Ballet in Jerome Robbin’s Interplay; photo by Rosalie O’Connor; courtesy of Boston Ballet
Interplay, with choreography by Jerome Robbins, rewinds the clock as women pile on high ponytails in casual, colorful costumes by Santo Loquasto. As the mischievous, upbeat rhythm of Morton Gould’s American Concertette plays, dancers Maria Alvarez, Dawn Atkins, Chyrstyn Fentroy, Dalay Parrondo, Isaac Akiba, Paul Craig, Sun Woo Lee, and Lawrence Rines take part in some friendly competition. Creativity runs wild as dancers perform lifts, spins, and high leaps while also paying subtle homage to Robbins as they rhythmically snap their fingers and playfully shake their hips.
With choreography by Jerome Robbins and jazz-infused music by Leonard Bernstein, Fancy Free is the source material for what became the hit Broadway musical and Academy award-winning film, On the Town, a tale about three sailors portrayed here by Irlan Silva, Derek Dunn, and Michael Ryan, who are on shore leave in New York City. Taking a page from the old movies with cheerful 40s costumes by Kermit Love, these sailors realize they are in over their head when they meet three passers-by portrayed by Emily Entingh, Viktorina Kapitonova, and Dawn Atkins. With a multi-dimensional, romantically-lit set equipped with a vivid, leaning lamp post, these sailors depict a wonderful camaraderie as they embark on an amusing night with plenty of surprises.
Boston Ballet in Jerome Robbin’s Fancy Free; photo by Rosalie O’Connor; courtesy of Boston Ballet
Boston Ballet in Jerome Robbin’s Fancy Free; photo by Rosalie O’Connor; courtesy of Boston Ballet
With music by Philip Glass and choreography by Jerome Robbins, Glass Pieces is quite the gem. Taking place in what looks like a subway station, Glass Pieces has a palpable rhythm and urgency as dancers are unleashed into a celebration of dance in the city. From a plain landscape into a spectrum of color, Glass Pieces transforms into a splendid piece of artistry as dancers perform in a variety of styles in silhouette, reflective, and in unison.
Lia Cirio and Paulo Arrais in Jerome Robbin’s Glass Pieces; photo by Rosalie O’Connor; courtesy of Boston Ballet
With comic wit, vintage flair, and renowned choreography, The Boston Ballet proudly presents Genius at Play through Sunday, September 16 at the Boston Opera House. Click here for more information and for tickets. For future events and more, follow Boston Ballet on Facebook and Twitter.
An unexpected hero, an insulted fairy, true love, and a terrible curse make up the enchanting and haunting fairy tale classic as Boston Ballet proudly presents The Sleeping Beauty. Unfolding with elegant and athletic choreography by Marius Pepita and Sir Frederick Ashton, The Sleeping Beauty has returned to Boston for a limited run by popular demand through Saturday, May 19 at the Boston Opera House in Boston, Massachusetts. Click here for more information and for tickets. Click here for a closer look at more of Boston Ballet’s upcoming performances.
A full house including a wealth of excited children gathered inside the Boston Opera House as Ming Luke conducted Tchaikovsky’s famous and dramatic music score, transporting the enthusiastic crowd into a world of royalty, betrayal, innocence, a few familiar fairy tale faces, and a dose of magic. Disney’s popular animated adaptation possesses a few similarities to this captivating tale, but Boston Ballet delivers more to the story. At the center of The Sleeping Beauty was raven-haired Lia Cirio as regal and elegant Princess Aurora, a triumph of athletic grace, her limber body mastering a few of ballet’s most difficult dance moves with impeccable balance, an arabesque garnering particular applause.
Lia Cirio and Boston Ballet in Marius Petipa’s The Sleeping Beauty; photo by Liza Voll Photography, courtesy Boston Ballet
Based on Russia’s Imperial Ballet’s 1890 production, The Sleeping Beauty is a visual treat, boasting finely-detailed costumes and a multi-dimensional set design by David Walker. From ornate, lush and colorful backdrops in gold, red, and green to the enchanting Renaissance era costumes, each scene is a portrait to behold. Wearing wreathed tiaras and dressed in sparkling pink, green, yellow, and blue, the gracious fairies made up of Dawn Atkins, So Jung Lee, Maria Baranova, Maria Alvarez, and Emily Entingh floated, frolicked, and twirled, each displaying their own unique personalities. The energetic yellow fairy was a particular highlight, performing a sweet, joyful, and humorous dance.
Boston Ballet in Marius Petipa’s The Sleeping Beauty; photo by Liza Voll Photography, courtesy Boston Ballet
With a cruel, mocking laugh and appearing in a dark, glimmering carriage was Dalay Parrondo as treacherous Carabosse. Accompanied by a group of monstrous henchmen performed by Tyson Clark, Derek Drillon, August Generalli, and Christian Pforr, Dalay delivered an electrifying performance as an insulted fairy in a haunting display of sharp, rigid movements.
Kathleen Breen Combes and Boston Ballet in Marius Petipa’s The Sleeping Beauty; photo by Liza Voll Photography, courtesy Boston Ballet
Tchaikovsky’s uplifting score hit a crescendo as Rachel Buriassi appeared as the Lilac Fairy. In this adaptation, she acted as a guide, her quick thinking and courage setting her apart. Her skillful performance was most evident among her lively, energetic lilac fairy attendants in a glorious display of fouettes, plies, and pirouettes. She was also impressive in a compelling scene with Lasha Khozashvilli as Prince Desire. Lia Cirio as Aurora and Lasha Khozashvili as Prince Desire had instant chemistry and perfectly complemented each other in a dream-like dance, swept up in love.
The Sleeping Beauty delivers many magnificent performances within this large cast, many taking on multiple roles. From a fascinating, thrilling duet from Maria Alvarez as Little Red Riding Hood and Alexander Maryianowski as the Wolf to a humorous, feline flirtation from Emily Entingh as The White Cat and Irlan Silva as Puss ‘N Boots, many beloved fairy tale characters took the stage in a joyous celebration.
With two intermissions, The Boston Ballet also offers an opportunity to learn more about ballet through The Warm Up, an interactive, photo friendly display located in the lower lobby. Boston Ballet presents The Sleeping Beauty through Saturday, May 19 at the Boston Opera House. Click here for more information and follow the Boston Ballet on Twitter and Facebook.
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