11:55 PM: Tonight the second cast of Don Quixote debuted their roles and proved to be in fine form. Maki Onuki and newcomer Brooklyn Mack did a fine job with the fiery roles of Kitri and Basilio and the whole cast rose to the occasion.
Maki is blessed with a lightness which makes her astonishing elevation in jumps seem to come out of nowhere. She has always been a crackerjack—amazing us all with her virtuosic technique and engaging us with her unbridled sense of joy when she dances. But in the last couple of seasons she has emerged as a serious ballerina to be reckoned with. Her Kitri is flamboyant but nuanced, like a barely contained fire blazing across the stage. You can’t watch her without smiling. Her partner Brooklyn Mack, in contrast, is pantherine, and, like Maki, is blessed with a sky-high jump and natural ability to turn. In Don Q their dare-devil technical feats become a metaphor for the way their characters live life: fully and completely.
There were stellar performances throughout the cast, and notably, the students of The Washington School of Ballet shone. The 12 level 4 girls as cupids were a delight—charming baby ballerinas in wonderfully arranged formations, and in junior corps de ballet lines. And the seven boys in the production (hooligans one and all) were a delight—now chasing after the matadors, now fighting over a thrown hat, now indifferently playing cards when the romantic stuff starts, now playing puppets to entertain Don Quixote, now dashing about the stage in chaos as Don Quixote prepares to attach the wind mill. As yes, the stars of tomorrow….