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Diablo Ballet

Viktor Kabaniaev's "Air," Marina Eglevsky's "Vivaldi," Gary Masters' "Refractions/Leather and Lace" and Nikolai Kabaniaev’s "The Groove"

Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek, CA

May 5, 2001
By Karen Drozda

A group of us saw the performance and had quite a lively discussion afterwards. Our group included a dance historian, a dance teacher and co-founder of several ballet companies, an amateur dance critic and dancer, and one eager beginner to the world of dance appreciation.

I'm so glad that there was a live orchestra, especially for the Bach and Vivaldi scores. I don't mind recorded music for some of the modern pieces, but the classical ones really sparkle when played live.

It was fun to see Viktor's choreography in "Air". I believe that this is the first time that Diablo Ballet has featured his work in a performance, and we are interested in his development.

"Vivaldi" was choreographed by Marina Eglevsky, who stages the Balanchine pieces for Diablo Ballet. This ballet had more of a classical feeling, both in the dancers technique and the fact that the women's costumes looked like Greek or Roman togas.

The movements and music meshed seamlessly, displaying all the subtlety and polish of a veteran choreographer. It was a delightful showcase of the Diablo dancers' classical training and technique, underlining their astounding command of techniques ranging from classical to modern.

There was a general consensus that the women's costumes were not as attractive as we wished. Something about the drape or the amount of fabric made the slender Diablo dancers look matronly. And the male dancers were wearing black tights and shoes against a black stage, which made their legs disappear.

"Refractions/Leather and Lace" got a mixed review in our group. Most of us found it interesting and well-danced, appreciated the literary references, and enjoyed the costumes. Only one of us (who will remain nameless) had a strong reaction against the leather and lace.

Nikolai was both choreographer and composer for "The Groove", which played with rhythm and something he refers to as "an eternal universal pulse". We liked the way the costumes in this piece accentuated the beautiful lines of the dancers' bodies.

Kelly Teo's solo was one of the highlights, with choreography that allowed him to display his mesmerising combination of grace, power and precision.

Episodes of diffuse orange lighting added to the magic of the experience. The only distraction was that the glaring white spotlights seemed harsh in comparison.


Please join a discussion of this performance in our forum.

Edited by Marie.



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