1:15 AM: I’ve just gotten home after our opening of Don Quixote. Wow, what an amazing night.
The company has never looked so good. After 30 years of watching ballet, I have never seen a ballerina balance the way that Viengsay did tonight...seriously. She was nothing short of astonishing, with her strong jumps and turns, easy rapport with her partner Jonathan Jordan, and the Cuban passion on stage. Hers was a firebrand Kitri. Favorite Viengsay moment: in the famous Act 3 adagio, she took a balance in attitude back, held the balance through two phrases of music (when she should have been repeating the step!), then slowly developed through passé to a front line while remaining en pointe. Her partner Jonathan Jordan did a spectacular job as well—an interpretation of Basilio filled with great detail, lots of wit and great musical timing, and no end of virtuosity. Jon is naturally a stylish dancer, but as Basilio his stylishness came into full flower. Favorite Jonathan moment: After Viengsay’s astonishing fuetes during which she opened then snapped shut her fan with each successive fuete, Jon deliberately stepped into fifth position, looked at her suggestively, then averted his eyes as if to say, “Ok, you’ve had your moment—now it’s about me” and he prepared for some whipping turns a la second.
While the leads were indeed spectacular the most remarkable thing about the production was that it gelled as a whole. Everyone involved—all 85 dancers young and old (well, not really that old!)--were completely engaged and energized. Some particular stand-outs worth mentioning:
Favorite Brooklyn Mack moment: His soaring leaps in Espada’s Act 3 variation, particularly the jaw-dropping reveletade at the end.
Favorite Maki Onuki moment: At the end of her Act 2 variation as Amour, a coltish Maki pauses for a moment balances in attitude devant. After a beat she snaps her head front to look at the audience directly, with a glint in her eye as if to say “how did you like that?” before finishing her solo on a dime.
Favorite Jade Payette moment: as the Queen of the Dryads, using her breathtaking jump to full advantage in her jetes in second while remaining absolutely serene above the waist at the top of her Act 2 variation.
Favorite Sona Kharatian moment: the way she was just so damn sexy as Mercedes during her runs up stage and down stage with the Toreodors.
Favorite male bonding moment: the men of the company raising the intensity level onstage during the a capella flamenco opening of Act 3.
I’ve got so many other favorite moments but it’s 1:45 am and we’ve got a whole weekend of shows ahead. Onward!