home
forum
features
reviews
interviews
calendar
auditions
useful links
gallery
whoweare

 

Cecilia Figaredo, Luciana Paris and Julio Bocca Photo: Claudio Esses

Julio Bocca & Ballet Argentino

"Don Quixote Grand Pas de Deux," "Black Swan," "Araiz/Adagietto," "Suite Generis," "Sinfonia Entrelazada," and "Piazzolla Tango Vivo"

Orange County Performing Arts Center, Costa Mesa, CA

October 24, 2000
By Basheva


Principal Dancer Julio Bocca has gathered around him a group of 13 dancers (7 women and 6 men beside himself), who form a young, strong, cohesive whole. A program of five dances was presented – only the first – “Don Quixote” – truly classical. There were no sets in any of the pieces, so the lighting design, by Miguel Cuartas, was crucial and well done.

The “Don Quixote Grand Pas de Deux” included the two female variations in addition to the principal pair, which is truer to the full-length ballet. It was crisply accomplished, with aplomb and firmness by Mr. Bocca and Luciana Paris, less so the two variations with Rosana Perez and Daria Vadimovna, who didn’t quite look at home in the classical genre. Though Luciana Paris smiled throughout, I missed the sauciness that should have infused this role. While the corkscrew motion of the tire-bouchan had the necessary lingering quality, the bourees in first position lacked sparkle, nor did her chaines’ truly float. However, travelling her fouettes’ forward, Miss Paris made every fourth one a double – and confidently, too.

Mr. Bocca doesn’t sail around the stage, he slices through space. His compact body explodes into energy. There is no turn, no complexity of turns that he has not mastered to a fine point in timing and grace.

This was the only ballet in which tutus were expected but what we got were pie plates that bounced and at several points threatened to invert. All grace of look and movement in the costume was gone – a woman dancing in the middle of a saucer. One thing I was glad to see missing, however, were the wrist flips that often substitute for musical emphasis, these dancers didn’t succumb to the temptation.

“Adagietto” to the music of Gustav Mahler, choreographed by Oscar Araiz gave Cecilia Figaredo and Christian Alexandria a moving pas de deux dressed in white unitards and ballet slippers. A tropical lagoon and two lovers dancing on the sea floor is where it took me. It had a languid, underwater, opalescent aura brought to a climax in side by side sequential splits travelling en diagonale in a mesmerizing progression. Then a shaft of sunlight pierces the water and the lovers end their dance and sleep through the tropical day. One wanted night to return so they could dance again.

Choreographed by Alberto Mendez “Suite Generis” with dancers Julieta Gros, Sergio Amarante, and Benjamin Parada and the next ballet after that “Sinfonia Entrelazada", choreographed by Mauro Bigonzetti with two couples and the entire company, was for me two dances of the same kind. I label these in my mental cabinet as “manipulation ballets” – how many ways can you lift her – how many ways can you bend her, ad infinitum. No fault could be found with the music; Handel and Haydn for the first and Mozart for the second, which claimed my attention more than the dance. Costuming was simple; bare chested men in slacks, women in tank leotards. But pointe shoes and no tights is a discordant note for me.

“Piazzolla Tango Vivo”, choreographed by Ana Maria Stekelman, and danced by the entire company, was the only piece done to the live music of the Fundacion Astor Piazzolla Quintet and was divided into eight segments. Again simple slacks for the men, mid-length skirts for the women in high-heeled character shoes. All were in black against a dark wall, but it was thoughtfully lit, so the dancers did not disappear.

If one were waiting for romantically locked eyes, or intoxicating tango, one waited in vain. The women danced almost angrily, it had the effect of the two genders meeting, but never connecting. In the segment called “Primavera Portena”, danced by Christian Alessandria, Sergio Amarante, and Juan Pablo Ledo, the modus vivendi was a bench, about which, and on which, they displayed a great deal of choreographic wit. The three men explored their relationships with one another, the bench being the unifying factor. It was captivating.

Ballet Argentino (Julio Bocca in middle) Photo: Claudio Esses

The highlight for me, was the segment “Invierno Portena” in which Julio Bocca danced a pas de deux with a table. All alone on the stage, we get to see this marvelous dancer explore his artistry. He becomes a man sharing his inner life – love – desires - with a table. And then a “woman in a trailing skirt” joins him for a short while only to walk off in one direction while he goes in another with his table.

This is a small but fine young group of dancers, obviously doing well what they love to do and delighting us in the process.

 

Please join a discussion of this performance in our forum.

Edited by Marie.


Submit press releases to press@criticaldance.com

For information, corrections and questions, please contact admin@criticaldance.com