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Edinburgh International Festival 2005

Scottish Ballet - 'Apollo,' 'Episodes' and 'Rubies'

by Kate Snedeker

August 28, 2005 -- Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh, Scotland

Closing out a successful Edinburgh International Festival run, the Scottish Ballet brought three of George Balanchine's classic ballets to the Playhouse stage. In "Apollo,""Episodes" and the sparkling "Rubies," the company showed how far it has come under director Ashley Page and where there is still room for growth.

A change in casting seemed to have made all the difference in the neoclassical "Apollo," giving the ballet the dramatic impact that was lacking on Friday evening. Cristo Vivancos was a muscular, kinetic Apollo, powering through the choreography without hesitation and exuding a godly proudness and egotism. If anything, Vivancos pushed a bit too hard in his dancing -- Apollo should be brash, but not aggressive.

Vivancos was also perfectly matched with his trio of dark-haired muses, Martina Forioso, Sophie Martin and Luciana Ravizzi. The three were not only physically similar, but just the right height for Vivancos to manipulate through the twisting choreography. Each muse brought a precise, buoyant, musical tidiness to her solo, with Martin leaving a particularly vivid impression. As a duo Vivancos and Forioso brought the ballet to a high point, their pas de deux exuding an air of confidence, with their dancing elegantly controlled and phrased.

"Episodes" was danced by the same cast as Friday night, with the exception of the coolly elegant Patricia Hines in the Concerto section.

Again, the glittering "Rubies," though enthusiastically danced and well-received, revealed some of the 'cracks in the façade.' The real power in the ballet came from the tireless corps in their 'jewel'-encrusted costumes. To a dancer, their performance was full of infectious enthusiasm and energy.

Out in front, Soon Ja Lee and Erik Cavallari began on a high, but fizzled in the ending moments. Each, at times, struggled with turns; Cavallari also lacking the power to carry off the leg-twisting double tours. Also, both dancers had a tendency to stop dancing and drop of out 'character' before totally disappearing into the wings. While shallow or cluttered wings can make it difficult to exit at full speed, it saps the energy and magic from the ballet to see a dancer 'slouch' off stage.

The real centerpiece of the ballet, however, was the stellar Eve Mutso -- the unquestioned 'most valuable person' of the Scottish Ballet. Kicking those long legs sky (ceiling)-ward, she radiated a confident sassiness that truly captured the spirit of Balanchine's choreography.

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