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Tulsa Ballet

Daniela Buson: Celebrating the Gift of Dance

by Gretchen Collins

April 9, 2006 -- Tulsa Performing Arts Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Daniela Buson, principal dancer with Tulsa Ballet, danced the long goodbye April 9th, at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center. It was half a world away from Palermo and the eight-year-old girl who wanted to do nothing more than dance. Her career would lead her to the Teatro Communale, England’s Northern Ballet Theatre, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Ballet West, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, and Cincinnati Ballet.

The evening was a star-studded event marked with appearances by elder statesmen Frederic Franklin, Bruce Marks, Ivan Nagy, and Ben Stevenson.

Not one to take the easy way out, Buson began her performance with the Rose Adagio from “The Sleeping Beauty.” Her pointe work was exacting and she brought a girlish impetuousness to the role.

In honor of Stevenson, Buson danced the waltz and pas de deux from Act II of “Cinderella.” She was partnered by retiring TB soloist Wilson Lema, whose fire will be missed.           

Several notable couples performed in honor of Buson: Stephanie Murrish-Gaifullin and Daniil Gaifullin; Rose Marie and Charles Flachs; and Marina Antonova and Guy Albouy. Albouy was a guest star in TB’s The Nutcracker last year with Buson.

Serkan Usta, formerly of TB, partnered Buson in the hilarious pas de deux from “Three Musketeers.” Usta, who has a reputation for comedy, nearly stole the show in his quest for the jewels.

Another alumnus of TB, Alfonso Martín, now with Boston Ballet, returned to share the stage with Buson in the bedroom scene of Val Caniparoli’s “Lady of the Camellias.” It was as if he had never left. The two can still heat up the stage.

Ma Cong, who was named one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch,” created “Melodia” for Buson. In the world premiere of this work, the two danced his modern, sultry, passionate steps to songs by Lhasa de Sela. It showed off Buson’s modern side. She is equally adept at contemporary works.

Marcello Angelini, Artistic Director of TB and Buson’s husband, was to dance the pas de deux from Romeo and Juliet. It was the first piece the couple performed in Tulsa and ending on that note seemed perfect. It is after all, the Angelinis’ love story that intertwined with her career. However, fate intervened, and an injury kept Angelini sidelined. Instead, a tape of Buson and Angelini performing the Balcony scene in “Romeo and Juliet” was shown. The intimate but frenetic longing was clearly visible in this performance.

The Tulsa Ballet board of directors commissioned a sculpture by Jay David Nunnely of the couple entitled “Romeo and Juliet,” and the Tulsa audience honored the Angelinis with what has to be one of the longest standing ovations in the city’s arts history.

Buson made the decision  to retire after 11 years with Tulsa Ballet  to become ballet mistress with the company. Her shoes have yet to be filled. Saying goodbye is bittersweet, but Buson left us wanting more, more. 

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