The DanceView Times sent three correspondents to the Bolshoi?s Berkeley appearances. Ann Murphy reviews ?Romeo and Juliet?:
?Clearly, the Bolshoi was finally, if awkwardly, moving into late 20th century dance at the dawn of the 21st century. Its new director, Alexei Ratmansky, who came on board after this “Romeo” was commissioned, has already shown himself a witty and winsome choreographer in his “Carnival of the Animals,” created for San Francisco Ballet in 2003. But the 21st century is already proving highly problematic, and well into the middle of the Act I, so was this “Romeo.” Crowds of men and women ran around portentously like actors from 1920’s Berlin theater, or hovered over a horizontal wall like bobbing dolls. Meanwhile, the famous lovers, dressed modernly in white and ice blue-he in loose pants and jacket, she in shorty-style silk pajamas?stretched into jazzy side-long piques and rounded over in simulacrums of an angst I was feeling all too strongly. It was immediately clear that Mr. Poklitaru, who graduated from the choreographer’s school of the Byelorussion State Academy of Music, has oodles of contemporary moves in his dance bag. But Angelin Prejlocaj put his Orwellian version on the map long before this young choreographer from Kishinyov met up with the British director. What was clear was that Mr. Poklitaru was showing off how much and how little he knew and Mr. Donnellan was not helping matters.?
Rita Felciano finds ?Raymonda? largely unsatisfying:
?Looking at the Bolshoi Ballet this week felt like entering a time warp. Rarely has the gulf between East and West been so intensely felt. What the company apparently considers daring and a step into the avant garde, Radu Poklitaru and Declan Donnelan’s punkish “Romeo and Juliet,” despite its intriguing idea of using the corps like a Greek chorus, looked incredibly simple minded and dated. “Raymonda”, on the other hand, judging from the bored rendering the work received, must be considered old hat by the dancers. Yet “Raymonda”, its limping plot line not withstanding, has so much to be admired, and deserves a better performance than it got.?
And Paul Parish sees a matinee cast:
?Raymonda is a famously difficult role, and now it’s obvious why. The ballerina is dancing all the time, one difficult solo after another exploiting the whole range of the technique. It’s a uniquely challenging part. But although the matinee starred Maria Allash and Alexander Volchkov, who rank only as First Soloists, they succeeded far better than the opening night stars (Anna Antonicheva and Sergey Filin) at making an emotional connection with the audience and bringing their characters to life. In particular, Ms Allash began to get happy in her dancing; when the music went allegro, her heart lifted, her eyes opened up, and a sweet, spontaneous smile animated her face?as she did the most difficult things.?