Monday, August 11, 2003

Stars display dazzling feats

Dance review

By Carol Norris
Enquirer contributor

Nationally acclaimed dancers appeared at the Aronoff Center Saturday, celebrating some of classical ballets most dazzling feats.

The second annual Gala of International Ballet Stars was co-sponsored by ballet tech ohio and BalletMet Columbus, an arrangement that hopefully will keep the event affordable. Procter & Gamble Hall wasn't full - but it should have been.

Bolshoi Ballet star Anastasya Meskova was the daredevil of the group, taking risks not often seen. Throwing herself passionately into the "Black Swan" pas de deux, she spun in multiple pirouettes as if suspended by a string, touching down only to take off again. She knocked off triple fouettes - continuous turns on one leg - without breaking a sweat.

Her gallant prince, Ilya Kuznetsov of the Kirov Ballet, possesses what is most captivating about Russian dancers - clean, long lines, perfect placement and effortless leaps.

Elizabeth Zengara and Jimmy Orrante of BalletMet hypnotized with David Nixon's erotic "Dracula." To a sensual Arvo Part score, the couple slow-motioned their way to the inevitable climax - the bite that kills in a duet that contains the sexiest eight counts in dance as he slowly unbuttons her dress.

Appearing in two works, crowd-pleasers Kellye A. Saunders and Donald Williams of Dance Theatre of Harlem danced in complete harmony. She's a willow - long and lovely - and he's her match in engaging masculinity.

Bringing the audience to its feet with shouts for more, young Cuban sensation Joan Boada attacked the "Le Corsaire" pas de deux with powerful leaps. Balancing his bravura was Kristin Long in a classy, poised performance. They're with San Francisco Ballet.

Of the contemporary works, the two by Alonzo King and danced by Xavier Ferla, Laurel Keen, Brett Conway and Prince Credell had the most punch, showing his capacity for inventiveness and their ability to deliver.

The achingly beautiful "Symphony No. 3 (Second Movement)" by Henryk Gorecki and sung on tape by Monica Whicher was a good fit for Dominique Dumais' "Tides of Mind," interpreted brilliantly by National Ballet of Canada's Chan Hon Goh and Geon van der Wyst.

So much more - a glimpse of John Cranko's "Onegin," super-stars Paloma Herrera and Gennadi Saveliev in "Don Quixote" - should make you mark your calendars for the third annual gala Aug. 14, 2004.



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