YOUTH AMERICAN GRAND PRIX 'LEGACY
April 20, 2015
The extensive career of David Hallberg was highlighted Friday night at the Youth America Grand Prix’s “Legacy,” a performance curated by Hallberg that offered glimpses of his various world wide dancing homes. Currently a principal with the American Ballet Theater and the Bolshoi Ballet, Hallberg is known worldwide for his polished and diplomatic dancing. He spoke Friday evening in between pieces, calling for a revitalized passion as classical dance faces new audiences; at times his words carried potency, at others they dragged along.
Evgenia Obraztsova and Seymon Chudin of the Bolshoi Ballet opened the program with the previous gala evening’s pas de deux from the “Pharaoh’s Daughter.” On this occasion the pair looked sharper. Chudin’s jumps were high and impressive, his footwork clean, and Obraztsova had a glow and smile that saw past her minor slips.
Veronika Part of the American Ballet Theatre performed a series of short solos from choreographer Lar Lubovitch. Her over indulgence in the upper body worked for much of the piece, but somehow her long torso and length didn’t translate into the necessary fluidity.
Chudin joined the ethereal Yekaterina Kondaurova of the Marinsky Ballet in the Diamonds pas de deux from Balanchine’s glistening “Jewels.” Kondaurova floated across the stage with a sense of glamour and elegance. Every movement was soft but direct, tasteful with each decision. Their performance was light and lush.
The Tokyo Ballet closed the first half with their NY premier of Maurice Bejart’s “BHAKTI III.” Sexy and strong in technique and portrayal, the group made a strong debut with their dancing.
Act two opened with the evening’s highlight. A Hallberg commissioned piece choreographed by Pontus Lidberg for ABT’s studio company. Flowing skirts and bodysuits by Reid Bartelme and Harriet Jung complimented the push and pull movement. Various white fans are passed between dancers, as they run across the stage leaving one or more dancers behind with each crossing. They swipe their bodies along the floor, before whisking themselves offstage in a sashaying, whimsical fest. It had energy, excitement, and most importantly vision.
Closing the program was the Australian Ballet’s Amber Scott and Rudy Hawkes in Stephen Bayne’s “Unspoken Dialogues,” a simple yet unremarkable pas de deux on the arc of a relationship. The dancers were lovely, the piece pretty but bland. This was followed by Anton Pimonov’s “Choreographic Game 3x3,” performed by members of the Marinsky Ballet. Again fine in technique, the dancers had fun and displayed some beautiful moves, but there was no spark.
Overall, Hallberg did a fine job of displaying some new talent. His first attempt at direction on such a big stage comes with critique, but I close with noting that certainly this won’t be his last.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Bailey Moon