Catching up after a run of four review assignments in four days (reviews of Ballet San Jose’s “Swan Lake” and Robert Moses’ Kin should appear tomorrow and the next day). I checked out the Georgia State Ballet for the Chronicle on Thursday:
“But if Thursday’s opening did not deliver, thankfully, an “Ananiashvili and Friends” pony show, we got something more interesting: a troupe being rebuilt lovingly by hand. Ananiashvili, like the titanic 20th century choreographer George Balanchine, hails from the former Soviet state of Georgia, and in 2004 her now-independent homeland summoned her to direct its national company, long established but also, because of civil hardship, long dormant.
Her choices for this opening mixed-repertory program pointed to her range of artistic interest as a dancer, but also to her acumen in feeding developing dancers what they need. There were two Balanchine ballets (the company now has at least 10) and two U.S. premieres by names in the news: Alexei Ratmansky, the soon-to-step-down artistic director of the Bolshoi, who recently declined New York City Ballet’s offer of choreographer-in-residence; and Yuri Possokhov, who happily accepted San Francisco Ballet’s offer for the same post in 2006 and will contribute to the company’s ambitious New Works Festival in April. The results were often overreaching – but only in the most heartening of ways.
Balanchine’s “Chaconne” is no modest undertaking. A first intimate, then grand vision of heaven that floats atop Gluck’s ballet music for “Orfeo ed Euridice,” “Chaconne” requires fleetness, clarity and confidence. The Georgians had handicaps – murky lighting that plagued the entire evening, and lugubrious tempi from the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, provided under Robert Cole’s baton presumably at the company’s request. But what these dancers need most is authority, gumption.”
Click here for the full review.