Notes from Philly weblog

New Romeo from the PA ranks

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Romeo and Juliet
Pa Ballet
Academy of Music
June 5 matinee
(June 4-12, 2010)

It’s heartening to watch a gifted company member step into a lead for the first time. PA Ballet’s Ian Hussey chance at Romeo turned out very well Saturday afternoon. Lucky fellow: his Juliet was Pa Ballet principal Arantxa Ochoa.

The late John Cranko’s choreography for Romeo and Juliet is strong on the solos and duos; the development of character. It bogs down in the work for the ensemble, too much unison, predictability. The company injects flair with interpretative gesture. The work dates from 1964.

With his pals, Benvolio (Andre Vytoptov) and Mercutio, Romeo danced a fine trio. Mercutio was the ever inscouciant Jonathan Stiles. Even near death, Mercutio won’t lose his sense of gallantry or humor. The death will stick in the memory.

Hussey’s dancing is lithe, centered. Excellent turns. A lift or two were awkward during the first pas de deux but then the signature overheard and backward lifts accomplished what they should. A sense of ectasy and yearning. Hussey showed many states. He was bashful, playful, longing. A young Romeo with promise upon whom Ochoa lavished her attentions. Her gifts.

Shakespeare’s death love, death and more death brought the best out of Prokofiev. Beatrice Jona Affron
led the band. Not her fault the horns could not overcome humidity. The production’s a beauty, autumn colors, twilight balconies.
The gypsy girls were worth remarking –Gabriella Yudenich, Laura Bowman, Hawley Rowe– so natural their gestures for the lovesick Romeo and the dying Mercutio.

This is an excellent time to support the ever struggling company. Until the end of July, all contributions no matter how small will be matched by a $200,00 grant from the board. Hurry.


Written by Lesley Valdes

June 7, 2010 at 1:10 pm

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